The region of Sicily is moving into film production with $91m (€64m) of government money.

The move follows an agreement between Italy’s Minister of Economic development, the Italian Culture Ministry and the Region of Sicily. The funds are available for the years 2008—2013.

A new body, Cine Sicilia will administer the funds and act co-producer. Its president Sergio Gelardi told ScreenDaily that it is working with the Sicilian Film Commission to find projects with Sicilian themes that they can co-produce either with Italian or foreign producers.

A number of films in the Venice official selection have been shot in Sicily, two of which received support from the Region of Sicily and Cine Sicilia including Baaria. It received $5.7m (€4m) via Cine Sicilia in return for the use of local labour.

Gelardi added that it decided to move into co-production to make Sicily more attractive than other Italian regions following the introduction of a national tax shelter, which favours local producers, last year.

He has also announced a number of new projects that are in pre-production or production in 2009 - 2010 season that Cine Sicilia will co produce. These include:

  • Giancarlo Giannini’s second project, a noir film entitled Ti Ho Cercata in Tutti I Necrologi will star also Giannini, Fred Murray Abraham and Silvia De Santis. Rai Cinema and Italian culture ministry will participate with partners from France, Luxembourg and Belgium.

  • Enzo D’Alo – one of Italy’s best known animators will create Un Burratino Di Nome Pinocchio, about the child’s tale Pinocchio produced by Cometafilm srl. The project has a $10.7m (€7.5mil) budget and will employ Sicilian designers and animators, will be set on the Island as well.

  • An ensemble work by directors Giorgio Arlorio, Andrea Frezza, Ugo Gregoretti, Carlo Lizzani, Cito Maselli and Nino Russo entitled La Scossa (The Tremor) which is set after the 1908 Messina earthquake.