The upcoming 60th Venice Film Festival (Aug 27-Sep 6) will screen a retrospective on the 20th century's greatest Italian producers - which artistic director Moritz de Hadeln hopes will be an 'encouragement' for today's Italian producers.

Entitled "The Industry of Prototypes," the retrospective will focus on the golden era of Italian cinema, from 1945 to 1975.

Producers represented are: Dino De Laurentiis (Barbarella), Franco Cristaldi (Cinema Paradiso), Luigi De Laurentiis, Goffredo Lombardo (The Leopard), Carlo Ponti (Doctor Zhivago, Blow-Up), and Angelo Rizzoli (8 1/2).

Also featured are Bino Cicogna, producer of Once Upon A Time in The West, and Marina Cicogna, the current president of Italian promotional film body Italia Cinema, who produced 8 films in the 1970s including Pier Paolo Pasolini's vehicle for Maria Callas, Medea.

In a statement, Venice said the idea for the retrospective came from De Hadeln, "who often hears people moaning about the position of Italian cinema in the international market-place."

De Hadeln is quoted as saying: "There are some great talents in contemporary Italian cinema which produce high-quality films. Why doesn't it have the same success as it did in the past'"

"This retrospective is meant to be an encouragement for the new generation of creative Italian producers," the statement said.

"It will also contribute to the debate about the current state and future of Italian and European cinema by highlighting the creativity, ability and harmony that used to exist between producers and auteurs - which helped the Italian film industry gain a high-profile position within the international movie industry."

Ex-Turin director Stefano Della Casa will co-ordinate the retrospective, during which a selection of films from the eight producers will be screened.

Organisers said the festival sidebar will also include roundtables focusing on the laws that many hold accountable for the difficulties the Italian film industry continues to face.