Italy to cut number of films eligible for aid

Aid limited to shorts, docs, works from new directors

ROME -- Italian Minister of Culture Sandro Bondi said Friday that the latest reforms to rules governing state aid to films will reduce the number of projects available for grants and other state benefits.

Bondi first attracted headlines two years ago by criticizing the documentary "Il sol del'avvenire" (Red Sun). The documentary, which screened in a sidebar at the Locarno Film festival, recounted the formation of Italy's bloody Red Brigade Marxist-Leninist movement in the 1970s and early 1980s -- in part with state funding. He said the film was offense to those who suffered under the Red Brigade.

Earlier this year, Bondi boycotted the Cannes Film festival for choosing to screen "Draquilla -- Italy Trembles," which was critical of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's handling of the deadly earthquake that struck the city of L'Aquila last year.

The latest move, which should be presented to parliament as part of a wider government reform plan, will limit government aid to short films, documentaries, and first and second works from new directors. It will go into effect starting in 2011.

In a statement, Bondi said the changes brought "rationality" to the process of selecting how to aid culture via the film sector.
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