Newly capitalised Italian distributor Eagle Pictures is stepping up international production and has earmarked $20m from a $300m war chest to invest in feature films, television mini-series and documentaries.

According to Eagle president Giampaolo Sodano the company is looking to board a greater number of international co-productions and English-language TV movies. The next two features on Eagle's TV production slate are mini-series Almost America, a co-production with Canada's Illusions which goes into production June 15, and a film about racing driver Gilles Villeneuve.

Eagle already has co-producing relationships with Germany's Helkon Media, Spain's Telecinco and Italian broadcasters RAI and Mediaset. Eagle and Helkon are currently in talks to jointly develop a strand of programming for a primetime slot on Italian television.

Eagle, which received a $300m capital injection from private equity financier B&S Private Equity Group earlier this year, is also planning to ramp up theatrical production. The company plans to announce its first project at the Cannes Film Festival next month.