Italy ups culture spending

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ROME -- Italian Minister of Culture Francesco Rutelli said in a statement Friday that the government's budget for culture-related spending -- which includes the film industry -- will rise each year through 2009.

Current spending in the sector totals €441 million ($577.7 million), a 17% increase compared to 2006 levels -- the budget for 2006 was set under the previous government, which was voted out of power in April.

Future increases will be less dramatic but still significant, with predictions indicating an 11% rise to €486 million ($636.7 million) the following year and a further 13% increase to €540 million in 2009.

The budget does not include spending on special funds created to create incentives for film productions in Italy.

The Ministry of Culture oversees the country's public spending on films, including the historic Cinecitta Studios in Rome. But it also includes spending on museums, concert halls, and art galleries.

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