While Italianfilm-makers continue to struggle with trickling government funds for homegrownprojects, Italians producers and financiers are becoming more and more involvedin international productions.

Foremost among themis Massimo Pacilio's Rome-based Movieweb, a co-producer on Oliver Parker's Fade To Black, an atmospheric thrillerthat follows Orson Welles' exploits in seedy post-World War Two Italy.

The recently wrappedfeature - which is being produced by the UK's Fragile Films among others - isadapted from the thriller by Italian writer-director Davide Ferrario.

Movieweb is alsodrumming up financing for John Boorman's upcoming feature, The Memoirs Of Hadrian, an adaptation of Margherite Yourcenar'sfictional autobiography of the Roman emperor. France's UGC has just boarded theEuros 21m picture, which also has backing from Rai Cinema and Istituto Luce.

Other internationalfilms with Italian financiers on board include Stephen Frears' The Queen - produced by Granada Filmsand Pathe Pictures - which Valerio De Paolis's Bim Film is co-producing andrecently wrapped principal photography.

Yet despite the coldfunding climate at home, some of Italy's best-known international directors arein production or wrapping on current projects.

Palme D'Or winnerNanni Moretti is still at work on IlCaimano, a Sacher Film drama inspired by Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi,which started shooting last spring.

Roberta Torre - whofirst came to attention with her musical comedy Tano Da Morire and won criticalacclaim for her 2002 mafia drama Angela- has just finished shooting Dark Sea,a Cattleya production about a policeman investigating a girl's murder.

And Marco Bellocchiorecently wrapped Il Regista di Matrimoni,about a troubled film director who travels to Sicily where he meets a friendwho makes wedding videos. The Filmalbatros production - being sold throughCelluloid Dreams - sees Bellocchio again team up with his L'Ora di Religione protagonist Sergio Castellitto.

Castellitto alsostars in Gianni Amelio's drama TheMissing Star, now in post. Freely adapted from Ermanno Rea's novel La Dismissione, about an Italian ironplant that is sold to the Chinese, the picture is an Italian-Singaporeco-production.

In the distributionand exhibition sector, Italy is preparing for its annual onslaught ofblockbuster festive comedies. This year's include Leonardo Pieraccioni's Ti Amo In Tutte Le Lingue Del Mondo,which is in post-production and due for release through Medusa on December 16.

Rai Cinema is alsoreadying its own slapstick comedy: A sequel entitled Eccezzziunale Veramente 2 and directed by Carlo Vanzina, it will bereleased at the end of January. The film features Mediterraneo actor Diego Abatantuono alongside Sabrina Ferilli.

Finally, Aurelio DeLaurentiis's Filmauro is in post with NataleA Miami, the latest in his 20-year-old franchise of smash comedies starringChristian De Sica and Massimo Boldi.

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