Production in Italy will be given a major boost by the launch in Cannes today of a $1.5m (1 million Euro) film fund aimed at first and second features.

TorinoFilmLab, as the new venture is called, will invest in training, development and funding of feature films.

Linked to the Torino Film Festival (held in November), the Fund will invest a minimum of $77,000 (50,000 Euros) and a maximum of $310,000 (200,000 Euros ) in selected projects. There will be no obligation to spend the grant in Italy or in any specific country. However, the projects chosen will all have passed through the TorinoFilmLab..

The Lab will offer an advanced screenwriting course for directors and scriptwriters of first and second features from all over the world. TorinoFilmLab will also back twelve projects each year through its development programme.

'What we will do during the Torino Film festival is present all the projects and give production awards to the best ones,' Savina Neirotti, director of the TorinoFilmLab, commented.

The production funding awards will be chosen by an advisory board consisting of seasoned industry veterans , among then Ido Abram, Alberto Barberea, Violeta Bava, Steve Della Casa, Chinlin Hsieh, Jovan Marianovic and Alesia Weston.

The funding for the Lab comes fromMinistero per I Beni e le Attivita Culturali, Regione Piemonte and Citta di Torino.

In addition to the production fund awards, it is envisaged that projects produced at least partly in Piemonte could access further funding and logistical support through the Film Commission Torino Piemonte.