GianniProfita, the head of the Italian government's Film Department, has declaredthat the country's new film law will be implemented 'within weeks',thereby freeing funds for Italian production which has stagnated in recentmonths.

Italianproducers have recently complained that the state film commission has not metfor months to greenlight local films for state funding. Echoing the words ofseveral local producers, Gam Film's Gherardo Pagliei, the Italian co-producerbehind Cannes Critics Week's Italo-Moroccan contender A Casablanca Les AngesNe Volent Pas and Peter Greenaway's Tulse Luper Suitcases, said:'The situation is dramatic. All the Italian projects have been blocked.Electricians are desperate. No one is working.'

WhileProfita argues that the state film commission did meet 'one and halfmonths ago,' he agrees that there have been delays in funding, but saysthese are due to the tortuous legislation that is needed for Italy's cinema lawto be implemented.

'Itis the first big reform of the Italian film law in the last forty years, and ithas revolutionised the entire system,' Profita told Screen International.'It is taking a long time for the law to be enacted, but producers arewell aware that this is the reason for the delays.'

Profitacompared the state funding system to a Formula One race. 'Every now again,cars have to make a stop in the pit lane, so that you can change their tyresand fill them up with petrol. That's what's happened here. We had to stop for abit, to change the tyres and improve the entire cinema law.'

Meanwhile,on Thursday, the Italian government announced that Euros 611.2m will beallocated to Italy's entertainment sector in 2004, a Euros 111m rise comparedto 2003.

Out ofthis, Euros 178.6m will be destined for the local cinema industry, up fromEuros 93.19m last year.