Riding on the current wave of excitement over Roberto Benigni's Pinocchio, Rome sales company Rai Trade has bought international rights to Luigi Comencini's critically-acclaimed 1972 version of the Italian classic - and the newly-relaunched picture has already proved a fast seller.

Rai Trade bought all international rights to the restored Comencini film from Milanese company San Paolo Media. The classic movie exists in two versions: as 6 hour-long episodes and a two-hour movie version.

Giulia Filippelli, Rai Trade's cinema and fiction international sales executive, said the Comencini film has been sold for theatrical release to France's Cinema Public - who also bought French rights when the original first came out.

Canada's Alliance Atlantis has bought DVD and TV rights to the film, as part of a package of 28 titles from Rai Trade's classic library which includes films by the renown Taviani brothers and Quo Vadis.

'We believe a lot in this film. It's a great classic. We're not trying to play it against Benigni's Pinocchio. The two films can't be compared. But we realized that when Benigni's film came out in Italy, everyone also started talking about the Comencini film,' Filipelli said.

Meanwhile, Rai Trade has also sold TV rights to a package of 100 feature films to China's Champs Lis.

'We've been working intensively on this deal. It's economically and politically very important. We now have a Rai Trade flag in China. It's significant because we really believe China is one of the most interesting territories at the moment - one with huge potential,' Filipelli added.

Rai Trade has also been selling widely on this year's Italian sleeper hit, Casomai. The Alessandro D'Alatri romantic comedy has been sold to Canada (Equinoxe), across Latin America including Mexico (Quality) and Argentina (Alpha Films), France (Take Off), Poland (Gutek), Greece (Audiovisual) and Australia (Palace). Satellite rights have been picked up by HBO Latin America.

A host of sales have also been made on Marco Bellocchio's My Mother's Smile (L'Ora Di Religione) . Rights have been sold to France (Ocean), Germany (Tobis), Spain (Kinovision), Poland (Gutek), Australia (Palace), Benelux, Latin America and Greece.

Rai Trade has also sold rights on Marco Ponti's hit Santa Maradona to Canada's Seville Pictures.

The company's Mifed sales slate includes Carlo Mazzacurati's new title, Jail Break - a remake of an old Luigi Comencini film. Also in the line-up are Gianluca Greco's In Your Dreams and Venice title Rosa Funzeca.