Italy's Buskin Film will expand its new production activities to include minority co-productions with other European partners, Buskin president Roberto Bessi and CEO Antonio Guadalupi said in Berlin.

Bessi and Guadalupi said they are currently considering projects in the UK, Germany and Spain, with an eye to adding three minority co-productions to their current annual four picture production slate.

"This is a natural next step," Bessi said, adding that the current "worldwide crisis" makes co-productions sensible. An international sales outfit, Buskin launched its production unit last May. Since then it has already shot two films and has another three in the works including two newly unveiled comedies.

The company is likely to attach co-producers to both Cupid In Salzburg, writer-director Luca Biglione's situation comedy about Italians living in Austria, and writer-director Susanna Fioretti's Get What You're Looking For (Chi Ricerca Trove) about vacationing Italians who have a run-in with ecologists on a Greek island.

Buskin is also in talks with German and French co-producers to board Margaretha Von Trotta's 1940s-set May The Stars Shine (Lucean Le Stelle), a Euros 6.5m love story being prepared for a late 2003/early 2004 shoot. The film is currently being cast.

The company's first two films are now in post-production: Luciano Emmer's Water & Fire (L'Acqua' Il Fuoco) starring popular local actress Sabrina Ferilli in three different roles, and Fabio Carpi's Memory Lane (Le Intermittenze Del Cuore) starring Hector Alterio (Son Of The Bride) as a filmmaker researching the life of Marcel Proust.