Continuing the drive to promote the Taormina Film Festival as a major summer launchpad for international blockbusters, Italy's multiplex association is screening a film depicting the history of the 47-year-old festival before the main feature on 200 multiplex screens across the country.

In addition to this initiative, which will last throughout the month of June, Taormina and the participating multiplexes, which include Warner Village cinemas, UCI cinemas, Mediaport, Cinelandia and Cinemax, are also launching a competition with a trip to the festival as first prize.

Last year Taormina was the chosen European launchpad for John Woo's multi-million dollar action thriller Mission: Impossible 2. Stars who turned up at the highly publicised event included Tom Cruise, John Woo, Melanie Griffith, Jane Campion and Greta Scacchi.

The film's box office success in Italy was also instrumental in launching a summer film season in a country where until recently most cinemas traditionally closed their doors between May and September.

This year, in a further bid to allow premiered films to reap maximum summer box office potential both at home and abroad, artistic director Felice Laudadio has moved the non-competitive festival to an earlier summer date. The event, which takes place on the east coast of Sicily, will this year be held from June 29-July 7.