Italy's Mikado Film goes into the 2008 and early 2009 distribution season with a series of titles that reflect the company's auteur tradition - but which includes an increased investment in what CEO Alessandro Usai calls 'original' commercial films, as well as select Italian films aimed at un-tested markets here.

Mikado's first title of the fall season will be Full Monty producer Uberto Pasolini's directorial debut, theunusual comedyMachan, which is expected to screen either in the Venice Days or Critic Weeks sidebars.

Shot mostly in Sri Lanka, the film is based on the true story about a group of Sri Lankans that faked they were the national handball team in order to get visas to come to Europe. After dismal losses to their competitors, the 'team members' - who were in Germany - disappeared.

Also in late August, Mikado will release the Manhattan-set thriller Deception directed by Marcel Langenegger and starring Ewan McGregor, Michelle Williams and Hugh Jackman.

In September Mikado will release Albakiara, which takes the name of Italian rock phenomenon Vasco Rossi's best-known song. The film stars Raz Dagan and Davide Rossi (Vasco Rossi's son) and takes a dark look at teen love stories, drugs and sex set to Rossi's rock and roll soundtrack.

The film is expected to have a strong lure in Italy. As Usai points out 'the top selling DVD of 2007 was Vasco Rossi's concert at Rome's Olympic stadium.' Stefano Salvati, who has been Vasco Rossi's music video director, directed the film, and Usai says the film will have a medium-wide release (300 + copies).

Also on the Italian side, Mikado will also release the new genre film Ti Stramo - which in Roman slang means 'I over love you' and which Mikado co-produces with Guido De Angelis of DAP productions. An experiment, the film attempts to parody teen comedies much in the line of Scary Movie or Meet the Spartans by including jokes about the recent local teenage blockbusters trend and their cult stars.

Mikado also continues in their tradition of distributing award winners: Laurent Cantet's Palme d'Or Winner The Class will be released in October while Mike Leigh's Happy-Go-Lucky starring Golden Bear Best Actress winner Sally Hawkins will see a Christmas release.

In 2009 Mikado will release the Robert B. Weide film How to Lose Friends & Alienate People after its UK rollout this autumn.

Mikado will also distribute Italian title Io sono amore (I am Love) directed by Luca Guadagnino with Tilda Swinton and Alba Rohrwacher and comedy L'ultimo crodino with Ricky Tognazzi and Enzo Iacchetti who is a popular comic TV presenter here.

Also in 2009 Mikado will release Jim Jarmush's currently in post The Limits of Control, that Usai calls an 'ironic thriller with an ensemble cast,' that includes Gael Garcia Bernal, Bill Murray and Tilda Swinton as well as Bertrand Tavernier's American project In the Electric Mist - a cop and serial killer story shot in Louisiana with Tommy Lee Jones and John Goodman.

Lastly, as announced at Cannes, Mikado has taken rights to Michael Moore's upcoming documentary purported to 'take a look at the failings of the capitalism.' Mikado previously released Moore's Bowling for Columbine.