Italy's Cinecitta studio is working on plans to expand its activities into Eastern Europe and North Africa.

The Italian studio is exploring partnerships with studios in Eastern Europe with the aim of providing the mother-ship with pan-European productions. The scenario would see films shoot locations in the inexpensive east and then decamp to a soundstage base camp in the Rome facility.

Cinecitta is also in talks concerning a joint-operation in North Africa for a large studio facility that would tap the inexpensive local labour force while being a short flight from Rome.

Cinecitta recently hosted the production of Martin Scorsese's Gangs Of New York. It is currently home to Wes Anderson's Touchstone-backed The Life Aquatic and will soon be welcoming Steven Soderbergh's Warner Bros-backed sequel Ocean's Twelve.

"The competition is global so we need something more," said Cinecitta director general Lamberto Mancini. "We have to be commercially proactive."

Cinecitta has recently increased its efforts to attract overseas productions. It now has sales offices and representatives in New York, Los Angeles and London.

It also launched Cinecitta Financial Consulting, headed by former Helkon International chief Christian Halsey Solomon, to help producers tap European film subsidies.

For further details, see Screen International's Mega Studio feature in the October 24 issue.