One of Europe's leading youth-oriented events, Italy's Giffoni Film Festival, has sealed a landmark deal with the AFMA Foundation to establish a twin event in Los Angeles next summer, to be called Teen LA.

'Giffoni isn't just a festival. It is a year-round operation dedicated to promoting cinema for young people. Besides the festival, our activities include distribution and we will soon also become active in the production of animation features,' Giffoni Film Festival founder and artistic director Claudio Gubitosi told Screen International.

The deal was signed by Gubitosi and Steven Paul, co-president of the AFMA Foundation and president of Crystal Sky.

The new collaboration will see Gubitosi set up a youth-oriented film festival in LA, which will take place immediately after the Giffoni Film Festival (July 17-24, 2004) next summer.

Like Giffoni, the Teen LA festival will screen youth-oriented films from around the world, with a particular emphasis on films from Europe, Italy and the US. The festival's jury will be composed of hundreds of multi-cultural children between the ages of 8 and 19.

Other events which Gubitosi and Paul are organising include a special Oscar night for under 18-year-olds which will take place in LA's Kodak theatre s well as a workshop for US kids to be taught by leading lights of the international film industry.

'I've been following this dream for ten years,' said Steven Paul. 'I've been hoping for a long time to transform Hollywood into a huge meeting point for children's cinema. When I met Gubitosi, I realised that my dream could become true. He's even crazier than I am and is the right person to do big things in America like he did in Italy.'

Gubitosi founded the Giffoni Film Festival 34 years ago in the small town of Giffoni Valle Piana, near Naples.

Last summer, the festival attracted more than 100,000 visitors from around the world. Recent guests have included Meryl Streep, Jon Voight, Giovanni Ribisi and Oliver Stone.