Indie Italian producer-director Nico Cirasola looks set to be the first to get a new project about legendary gigolo Rudolf Valentino off the ground, after being awarded funding from the Italian government's Fondo di Garanzia.

Named Rudi Valentino, The Return of the Sheik, the Euros 4m film is set to shoot in Rome, Florence and the southern Italian region of Puglia later this year.

The movie will focus on the time Valentino spent in Europe. It will be directed by Cirasola and scripted by Gianfranco Di Giovine, and will star Sabrina Colle (Senso 45). The main role hasn't yet been cast.

Meanwhile, Cirasola's Mediterranea Film is also readying Atelier For Pin-Ups, a 'playful' Italian-set film about 1940s and 50s models. A teaser for the film, which stars Flavia Vento, Laura Marinelli and Rita del Piano will be shown to buyers in Cannes.

Also on Mediterranea's production slate is Bell'E Poker (aka Teatro Petroselli), a low budget film funded by the Fondo di Garanzia.

The film is set in the southern Italian town of Bari in the early 20th century, and focuses on Bari's own Moulin Rouge-style night club. It stars Dino Abbrescia, last seen as the father in Gabriele Salvatores's I'm Not Scared. Lantia Film holds Italian distribution rights.