Ambitious Italian distributor and producer Eagle Pictures has secured a major cash injection from leading financial group Interbanca, which has acquired a 13.79% stake in the film outfit for a value of Euros 10.3m.

In addition, the bank has also awarded the company a Euros 50m fund to be invested in theatrical acquisitions and production in the medium-term.

Eagle, which has offices in Milan and Rome, recently unveiled a slate of high-profile pictures in development, including The White Rose, a $15m movie from director Joel Schumacher based on the true story of a group of German students who opposed the Nazi regime during the Second World War; and Blackberry Wine, a screen adaptation of Joanne Harris's follow-up to best-selling novel Chocolat.

Meanwhile, Eagle, which is gearing up to float on the Italian stock exchange, also announced that its partner B&S Private Equity Group has increased its stake in the group from 20% to 25.1%, following a further investment of Euros 7.7m.

Founded in 1986 by Ciro and Stefano Dammicco, Eagle Pictures operates in the theatrical, television and video/DVD market. It has output and acquisition deals with several international companies, including Mutual Film Co, Miramax, Canwest Fireworks and Escape Artists.