Italy and Russia are forging closer cinematic ties via a groundbreaking collaboration between Russia’s state film fund and Italian national film entity Cinecitta Luce, aimed at spawning co-productions.

The Russian Federal Fund to Support National Cinematography will make available up to €2 million ($2.8 million) for each eligible Italo-Russian co-production.

An Italian delegation headed by Cinecitta Luce managing director Luciano Sovena has just returned from Moscow, where the pact — touted as the first of this type between Russia and a European country — was inked with Sergey Tolstikov, exec director of the Russian film fund.

Russia’s fund, which had a $140 million budget in 2009, is the main driver for the local industry, which, as in Italy, is increasingly turning to co-productions to expand its horizons, both economically and geographically.

“The Russian film fund has considerable resources at its disposal to favor co-productions with Western countries,” said Sovena. “We Italians got there first.”

Sovena specified that, while location shooting in Russia is not a prerequisite, use of Russian talent is, as is the case with most co-productions.

Russia established close ties with the Venice Film Festival this year through the Festival of Italian Cinema: From Venice to Moscow, featuring, among other titles, Italo helmer Valerio Mieli’s Venice and Moscow-set romancer “Ten Winters,” touted as the first Italo-Russian film co-production.