Italy's Film Export Group has announced that it is about to start shooting a new Spanish co-production entitled Locura De Amor and directed by Vicente Aranda.

Based on a true story, the $5m historical comedy recounts the trials and tribulations of a young Spanish royal couple in the 15th century. Maria Grazia Cucinotta (Il Postino) stars with Giuliana Gemma and Daniele Liotti, and shooting begins this week in Madrid.

Fresh from a pre-MIFED buying spree, Film Export's Roberto Di Girolamo also announced that he has just picked up three local titles: Corrado Colombo's Under The Skin; Bruno Mattei's Body And Soul 2 and Anthony Gray's Italian Gigolo. Other recent pick-ups include Liberate I Pesci, Matrimoni, C'Era Una Volta In Sicilia and Outsider.

Film Export's production and development slate includes Il Cielo E' Sopra Di Noi, by Damiano Damiani, which is based on the true tragic events surrounding a love affair between a young SS officer and a Jewish girl. The $4m title, co-produced by Film Export's Production Group and Italy's Globe Films, is scheduled to start shooting in December in Vienna and Hungary.

Other films include Baciami Rudi, a big-budget film about famed gigolo Rudolf Valentino, that is expected to be produced in 2002. Di Girolamo is currently holding talks with potential US and Canadian production partners.

Meanwhile, Di Girolamo who is president of UNEFA, Italy's national exporters association, said he also hopes to consolidate collaborations with France, Spain and the UK. "Italians should think more about the exportability of their product," he said. "One of the association's ideas is to give producers minimum guarantees in order to help them with international projects."