The Turin Film Commission and the Northern Italian Turin-Piedmont Region have joined forces to set up the Piemonte Doc Film Fund by earmarking $648,125 (Euros 500,000) for documentary projects that are shot in the area or that employ local professionals for post-production work.

The fund aims to promote about 20 small and mid-size doc projects each year, Turin Film Commission president Steve Della Casa told The funds are a 'local and strategic investment aimed at the long term development of the project,' which he likened to 'permanent laboratory.'

The budget per project would be capped at a maximum of $103,671 (Euros 80,000). The fund will offer up to $25,927 (Euros 20,000) for development, up to $64,819 (Euros 50,000) for production and $51,863 (Euros 40,000) for post-production.

While the Piemonte Doc Film Fund seeks to support docs made by local auteurs that focus on regional subjects, the fund is equally accessible to foreigners.

In either case, the fund aims to generate and stimulate co-productions between locals and international documentarians with the hope to 'internationalise and make Piedmont the home of documentaries and the natural meeting place for those who love cinema and believe in experimentation,' Della Casa specified at the Doc Fund's presentation in Turin.

The new Doc Fund is the latest endeavor by Turin's Film Commission (currently Italy's most powerful) to increase their investment in the development of the documentary genre. In 2000 the Turin Film Festival started handing out prizes to documentary films, and it is expected that the 25th edition of the festival, directed by Nanni Moretti, will maintain a focus on the genre.