Endgame backs Piedmont fund

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ROME -- Los Angeles-based equity production firm Endgame Entertainment is throwing its weight behind the €25 million ($33 million) film promotion fund assembled by the Piedmont Film Commission, officials said Thursday.

Endgame will be the largest single contributor to the fund, adding €15 million ($19.8 million). The fund, billed as a public-private partnership, also will include cash from the regional government of Piedmont and several smaller private entities that were not named.

It also was announced Thursday that the fund will be operated under the auspices of a new organization called the Piedmont Film Company, which will have a five-year mandate to distribute the assets in a way that will promote the region as a hub for filmmakers and help boost the local economy.

"Turin is already a key location for films and this will make it even more attractive," said Giorgio Fossati, director of the Turin-Piedmont Film Commission. "Aside from Rome, Turin is the only city in Italy with all the resources needed by filmmakers, and this is yet another plus for the city."

According to the Piedmont Film Company, the fund hopes to back between 20 and 25 films during the fund's five-year lifetime, handing out investments worth between €1 million ($1.3 million) and €4 million ($5.3 million).

To be eligible, a film must be aimed at an international audience and spend at least 25% of its budget in the Piedmont region, including post-production.

A total of 13 films were shot in Piedmont last year, five more than in 2005. This year, projects in the works include the epic "St. Petersburg," from director Giuliano Montaldo, and Marco Tullio Giordana's "Crazy Blood," set in Fascist-era Italy.

The first projects to benefit from the new fund will be announced in September.

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