Veteran Italian director Ermanno Olmi (Profession Of Arms) has wrapped shooting on his new Euros 9m epic, Cantando Dietro I Paraventi.

The film is the first production to have been shot in part at Roma Studios, the recently renovated studios built by producer Dino De Laurentiis in the 1960s.

Based on a true story once adapted into a tale by Jose Luis Borges, Cantando Dietro I Paraventi is set at the end of the 17th century along the coast of China. The film tells the story of the widow of a Chinese pirate who took command when her husband died.

Interiors for the film were shot at the newly-operational Roma Studios, located in the countryside outside the Italian capital.

The feature, co-produced by Olmi's Cinemaundici, Rai Cinema, France's Pierre Grise Production and Lakeshore Entertainment, is one of the few Italian pictures to have ever been boarded by a US co-producer at pre-production state. The film also received a $2.9m investment from the European Investment Bank, funding from Eurimages, and a grant from the Italian government's Fondo di Garanzia.

Significantly for the Italian arthouse market, which usually finds the American territory virtually impenetrable, Lakeshore is also handling US distribution rights as well as international rights outside Italy. In Italy, the film will receive distribution through 01 (Rai Cinema's distribution arm) and Mikado, which owns a 50% stake in Cinemaundici.

The film is expected to be ready in time for the Venice Film Festival. However, Olmi, whose last film was in competition at Cannes two years ago, said he would prefer not to take part in any of the major film festivals.

"Festivals nowadays are more like battles than celebrations of films," he said.