With a new private partner, Rome's Film Commission is ready to attract more international productions to the Italian capital by offering new and better financial incentives - just as the weakening dollar and high Euro are potentially putting off runaway productions.

Rome's mayor Walter Veltroni has announced that the region's powerful association of private media companies (Distretto dell'audiovisivo e dell' ICT) has joined Cinecitta Studios and the local government as the third partner in the city's film commission, which has now been renamed Roma Cinema Film Commission (RCFC).

The new Film Commission will help international and local film and TV producers access financial resources, thanks in part to Cinecitta Financial Consulting, the Studios' newly-established service which helps producers find gap financing.

In addition, new financial incentives for productions that shoot mainly in Rome will include free permits to film on public ground. Fees for permits to shoot on historical, artistic or archaeological sites and parks will be cut by 50%.

Meanwhile, productions that shoot only partly in Rome will see the costs of permits to film on public ground cut by 50% compared to current prices. Fees for permits to shoot on historical sites will drop by 20%.

"The film industry itself is now taking charge," Veltroni and Cinecitta Studios president Luigi Abete said at a press conference, explaining that one in six Romans works in the audiovisual sector.

"The new Film Commission has its roots in Rome but will have a greater international focus," they added. "Locations are just one part now of what the new Rome Film Commission can offer."

Asked whether the strength of the Euro had already caused US runaway productions to reconsider plans to shoot in Italy and at Cinecitta, Abete simply agreed that the current situation is troubling. "But we are very confident about the situation in the medium term," he told ScreenDaily.com.

Last year, the Rome Film Commission handed out 2,311 shooting permits, compared to 941 when it was set up in 1997. Piazza di Spagna and Piazza Navona were the most popular shooting spots.

Current and upcoming international productions at Cinecitta include Wes Anderson's The Life Acquatic and Ocean's Twelve.