Australia's Palace Pictures has picked up a package of ten Italian films from Italian sales house Raitrade.

The deal sees Palace grab Cannes competition film The Religion Hour (aka My Mother's Smile) by Marco Bellocchio, Gabriele Salvatores' Amnesia, Alessandro Alatri's Casomai and Andrea and Antoni Frazzi's Almost America.

The deal is an extension of a similar ten picture deal signed at Cannes last year and will give Palace the option to pick up any of the other films produced or co-produced by Raicinema and handled by Raitrade in the next 12 months.

'Nearly all the films will get theatrical releases and hopefully go on to SBS or Movieworld,' said Palace's managing director Antonio Zeccola.

'We have been successfully organising a festival of Italian films for the last two years and will hold another this year,' said Zeccola. 'This has rekindled interest in Italian cinema and helped us to release more Italian films. We took over $1m with Bread And Tulips and have already taken A$400,000 with Gabriele Muccino's The Last Kiss.'

Amnesia is the first film in a several years to be picked up by Raitrade that was not produced or co-produced by Raicinema, the film production division of state broadcaster RAI. Amnesia, about unusual personalities who meet in an Ibiza disco, was produced by Medusa - an offshoot of rival commercial broadcast outfit medaiset.

'It is a restart for Raitrade, a signal that we can pick up third party films and represent the best of Italian cinema for worldwide audiences,' said Cifola.