The Italian film industry isto introduce its first ever three-day Festa del Cinema in April, when it willoffer cut-price tickets and is expected to heavily promote summer releases.

The Festa del Cinema will take place between April 25 - anational holiday - and April 28. Spectators who buy one full price ticket willbe able to buy another ticket for Euros 1.50. Tickets in Italy currently costfrom Euros 4.50-7.50.

The initiative,which follows the lead of France's 20 year-old Fete du Cinema, is promoted bynational exhibitors union ANEC, multiplex association ANEM and distributorsunion UNIDIM.

The Festa delCinema is also expected to be used to heavily promote this summer's releases,which include Ridley Scott's Kingdom Of Heaven, Steven Spielberg's War Of The Worlds, Star Wars Episode 3 and Batman Begins.

This year marksthe first time Italy has fully committed to a 12-month box office season, withsummer releases on a par with other European territories. In the past, largelynon-air conditioned one or two-screen cinemas in Italy have traditionallyclosed between May and August 20th.

Full details ofsummer promotional campaigns have not yet been unveiled, but initiatives areexpected to receive government backing. Last summer, the state backed a Euros400,000 campaign, which saw members of the public receive mobile phone textmessages inciting them to go the cinema. Between the 15th of July and August19, the cost of tickets also dropped to Euros 4 every Thursday.

Meanwhile, in anadditional bid to boost summer admissions this year, Gino Zagari, generalsecretary of ANEM, the Italian multiplex association, says multiplexes willalso focus on "client loyalty." Initiatives will include loyaltycards, which are still rarely used in Italy, and will allow spectators who buya ticket in April, May or June, to buy a cut-price ticket at the same time thatcan be used in July or August.