Italian film giant Medusa announced legal drama Michael Clayton starring George Clooney by screenwriter turned director Tony Gilroy will screen as a gala event at the 64th edition of the Venice Film Festival.

Medusa VP and CEO Giampaolo Letta made up the announcement one week before the Venice Film Festival official line is made public, at the presentation of Medusa's 2007/2008 slate in Rome's Casina Validier Thursday night.

Top Hollywood titles that Medusa will distribute include Roberto Rodriguez's adrenaline packed pulp horror Planet Terror, Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat follow up Bruno, the Coen Brother's Burn After Reading with George Clooney and Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts-led Fireflies in the Garden, Lee Tamahori's Next and James Mangold's Western 3:10 to Yuma starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale. Woody Allen's new Spanish project will also get Italian distribution through Medusa.

While the Italian major is strong on Hollywood titles, of Medusa's $124m (Euros 90m) investments in cinema distribution and production a full two thirds off that sum $82.7m (Euros 60m) is earmarked for Italian product, Letta underlined.

Significant titles on the Italian roster include Giuseppe Tornatore's Baaria, Dario Argento's The Third Mother, the long awaited gothic horror Suspiria follow up is tipped for the Rome Film Fest and set for a Halloween 2007 release date.

Domenico Procacci's Toronto-bound Silk directed by Francois Girard starring Keira Knightley and Andrea Porporati's Mafia drama Il Dolce e l'amaro starring Luigi Lo Cascio are other stand-out titles. The slate includes a strong smattering of homegrown crowd pleasers including the next Aldo Giovanni and Giacomo comedy as well as Paolo Virzi's Tutta la Vita Davanti.

Medusa's 30-film slate announcement comes on the heels of their acquisition by Silvio Berlusconi owned Mediaset earlier this month for a reported $205m (Euros 152m).

While both Mediaset and Medusa - Italy's leading television network and leading film producer and distributor - were already controlled by the media mogul and former Italian Prime Minister, the sale underlines Mediaset's intent to increase its role as an international content provider. Also in July, Mediaset completed its purchase of Endemol, Dutch reality television content producer.

'We are the first and we want to reinforce our position,' the companies new president Carlo Rosella told journalists Thursday. Rosella previously acted as Mediaset's TG 5 news program editor.

Film vet Giampaolo Letta will continue with Medusa in the role of VP and CEO. Pier Silvio Berlusconi has joined Medusa's board of directors.

In 2007, Medusa controlled 18% of Italy's box-office market share and has grossed Euros 793m since its inception in 1996, with local product responsible for 50.4% and Hollywood fare 49.6%. The distributor claims the highest number (13) of the nation's top 50 grossers for the 1996-2007 period.