After weeks of rumour, Cinecitta Holding has officially announced that it is establishing a new company with Fiera Milano International (FMI) and the Venice Biennale, in the hope of boosting the sales of Italian films abroad, as well as the stature of Mifed and of the Venice Screenings.

The new company's launch was announced on Sept 26 by Cinecitta Holding president Pupi Avati at a packed press conference in Villa Miani, a mansion located at the top of Rome's panoramic Monte Mario Hill.

Envisaged as an outfit similar in scope to French promotional body Unifrance, the the as-yet-unnamed company will be based in Rome and will help producers unearth sales opportunities for Italian arthouse films at festivals and markets throughout the world, although it will not directly handle worldwide distribution rights.

Current Italia Cinema CEO Giorgio Gosetti will head the promotional division of the organisation, and Italia Cinema will move its headquarters to the new company.

A second market-oriented division will aim to raise the international profile of the Venice Screenings, which saw the light in embryonic form last year.

"We will also work towards ensuring that Mifed offers "high quality" films, and not just purely commercial product," Avati told

He said: "Ours is an extremely important agreement because the new company will bring together the know-how of entities that had previously acted completely separately and had therefore dispersed their energy."

"From now on, will be able to channel the know-how of Mifed, Venice, Cinecitta and the Italian cultural ministry in a way that will benefit the entire spectrum of Italian cinema," he said.

Avati said the president of the new company will be appointed from Cinecitta (although he ruled himself out of contention) while the company's CEO will be named by Fiera Milano.

Both entities will also appoint a managing director.

Meanwhile, during the press conference Mifed also announced that in 2006, the busy Fiera headquarters will move to a new, high quality structure that is currently being designed on the outskirts of Milan.