The long drought that hashit Italy's traditional film financiers is spurring the country to find newways of bolstering its film industry.

As such, the Lazio regionaround Rome will become the fourth region in Italy to establish a filmfund.

The $12.8m (Euros 10m) fund,created along the lines of France's Ile de France fund, will be handed out tointernational co-producers who shoot afilm in Lazio.

The fund will cover up to50% of a movie's budget and is not expected to have a minimum requirementon spend. An extra $3.2m (Euros 2.5m) will enable producers to obtain advanceValue Added Tax reimbursement.

The Lazio fund is managed bythe FILAS agency, headed by Stefano Turi. 'It is going to boost the movieindustry and showcase the region,' says Filas's Laura Tassinari.

Film funds have only juststarted mushrooming in Italy in recent months - partly due a drasticreduction in state financing for the entertainment industry, which has leadproducers to try to explore different forms of financing.

Like their counterpartselsewhere in Europe, regional governments inItaly also hope the filmindustry will provide an alternative source of economic development fortheir area.

The wealthy Turin region,one of the most film pro-active, is also about to establish its own $7.2m filmfund, providing up to 20% of the budget of a picture that shoots in thePiedmont region.

The Turin Film Commissionfund will be headed by former Turin Film Festival director Stefano della Casa.

The Italian island of Sardiniais also creating a regional film fund, along the lines of existing funds inGermany and Belgium. It will have an annual budget of $2.4m-$3.6m (Euros 2m-3m)to be invested in development, production and promotion.

Eligible projects will berequired to spend 120% of the funds theyreceived on the island. Forexample, if a film received $100,000 from the fund, it would have to spend$120,000 of its total budget on the island.

The northern Italian regionof Friuli Venezia Giulia also operates a film fund.