Warner Bros Pictures has hired Crisilde Dominici as director, local production, Italy as part of its expansion drive into European production and acquisitions, and has declared its intentions to embark on a Spanish local production plan later this year.

Dominici, who has worked with directors such as Nanni Moretti, joined the company in March. She will report to general manager, Paolo Ferrari and vice president of European productions, Simona Benzakein, in identifying suitable projects to produce for the Italian market.

Warner recently launched into Italy with its first co-production Carlo Verdone's Ma Che Colpa Abbiamo Noi which is currently in production. Initial co-production activity was focused on France and Germany with successes such as La Verite Si Je Mens II, Le Boulet and The Little Polar Bear.

In addition, David Brander, recently promoted to senior vice president, international operations for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, will manage the European co-production effort on the operational side.

Adam Smith will co-ordinate all business affairs for Warner's European production and acquisition activity. He was recently promoted to director, legal & business affairs of European production.

The regional team is rounded out by Mike Kelly in the role of director of international finance, European productions. Kelly, who joined Warner Bros Pictures in Aug 2001, will be responsible for the financial management of the European co-production efforts.

Benzakein joined the company in Jan 2001 as the first step in forming a regional production presence. The local production initiatives are supervised by the studio's president of worldwide production Lorenzo di Bonaventura.