Italy's top directors, including Bernardo Bertolucci, Gabriele Muccino, Dario Argento, Gianni Amelio, Ferzan Ozpetek, Paolo Virzi, Paolo Sorrentino and 116 others have written an open letter to RAI Cinema's board of directors asking to be taken into consideration in the naming of a new RAI Cinema director.

The request follows the resignation two weeks ago of RAI Cinema and 01 Distribution's previous chief Carlo Macchitella, who stepped down to facilitate an investigation into allegations that he received fraudulent funds from a Swiss bank account of Daniele Lorenzano.

Lorenzano is defendant in an alleged tax evasion case over TV and Film deals: he previously handled content deals in Hollywood for Mediaset. The case also includes Italy's ex Premier Silvio Berlusconi, Fininvest CEO Fedele Confalonieri and lawyer David Mills as defendants.

Since Macchitella in charge of handling film and TV acquisitions for RAI it remains to be seen what role he could have had in Mediaset deals, given that Mediaset is RAI's main competitor.

But the resignation has prompted the directors to express 'interest and worry over the future of an individual that is so important for the cultural industry in Italy.

In this occasion we ask to be considered not so much as authors of single works, but as an exponent of an Italian cinema that wants to be counted for in a (situation) that regards us.' their letter opens.

'In particular,' the directors continue, 'we hope it will be a person of undeniable moral character that has demonstrated their passion for Italian cinema someone that has already shown ample professional capacity and enjoys the esteem of those who work in the sector We don't ask that (this selection) comes about with speed, but with careful consideration given the vast powers that are actually concentrated in RAI cinema.'

In their letter the directors specifically request that RAI Cinema avoid the 'overlapping' of the role of producer and that of a financial organization, risking 'project autonomy.'

The letter further requests the new RAI cinema director work with young talent in such a way that goes beyond the episodic production of 'first works.'