Felice Laudadio, director of the Taormina Film Festival and former head of the Venice Film Festival, has been named the director of the "Casa del Cinema", an ambitious new cinema and cultural complex that will be unveiled in Rome in September 2004.

The brain-child of Rome mayor and cinephile Walter Veltroni, the Casa del Cinema (literally, House of Cinema) aims to become an international meeting point for actors, journalists, festival organisers, directors and producers, harking back to the city's hey day in the 1950s and 60s when the thriving local industry was known as "Hollywood on the Tiber".

The structure, which will be housed in Rome's prestigious Villa Borghese, is being partly sponsored by film laboratory Deluxe and Kodak, who will each fund the building of a multi-functional movie theatre that will also be used to host conferences and a library.

Laudadio is currently looking for sponsors to finance the building of two other rooms that will house a DVD screening room, an internet point, a restaurant and a cafeteria.