Valerio De Paolis, head of Italian arthouse distribution outfit Bim, has been awarded one of France's highest cultural honours for tirelessly promoting French culture in Italy through the distribution of dozens of Gallic films.

De Paolis will receive the prestigious Chevalier des Arts et Lettres award in Paris on Monday January 19 during the annual meeting of French cinema organized by Unifrance.

The medal will be handed to him by French cultural minister Jean-Jacques Aillagon.

French films recently distributed by Bim, which this year celebrates its 21st birthday, include Amelie and 8 Women, while its forthcoming releases include Eric Rohmer's Triple Agent and Alain Resnais's musical Pas Sur La Bouche.