New research shows that 30 completed Italian films are currently in limbo, still searching for a distributor or simply waiting to be released.

Among the Italian market's self-described "frozen" films are Egidio Eronico's Rua Alguem, which stars Charlton Heston and F. Murray Abraham, and Fiorella Infascelli's Il Vestito da Sposa with Best of Youth actress Maya Sansa, which screened at the Locarno Film Festival last year.

The figures, which today were downwardly revised from 600 by Italian trade Il Giornale dello Spettacolo, still prove that films are continuing to vie for space at the crammed Italian box office which still largely operates an 8-month season.

Walter Vacchino, head of Italy's exhibitors association, ANEC, said he believes that one way of resolving the problem would be for producers already to have a concrete distribution plan when their films are awarded state funds for production. "When a producer presents a screenplay [to the state funding commission], he should also indicate exactly how he believes the film should be distributed."

He added that ANEC is ready to collaborate with Cinecitta Holding and hold premieres of films that don't have distribution or haven't been released yet on the 100 screens in small Italian cities that have received government support to programme Italian and European films.

Meanwhile, ANEC has started lobbying the government to better promote Italian cinema in the media, particularly during the summer. "Summer cannot be abandoned by the cinema industry. On the contrary, it's a very good time to release Italian titles."