Budget cuts could hurt Italy film sector

Cinecitta, small agencies could be affected

ROME -- The budget for Italy's Ministry of Culture will drop 1.7% next year in a round of government belt tightening that could have an impact on operations at Cinecitta and dozens of smaller cinema-related agencies that get at least part of their budgets from the government.

The government's 2009-11 draft budget includes caps on growth of 2% per year as the government looks to shrink its budget deficit. But the Ministry of Culture is one of four ministries that will see its budget shrink next year, according to government documents.

This year's ministry budget was 2.1% higher than in 2007.

The details of how the budget elements will be spent has not yet been decided, but the biggest risk to the cinema industry could be related to the storied Cinecitta Studios in Rome, which could see support from the government reduced.

Smaller cinema-related agencies that receive some government funding -- such as those that monitor cinema trends or help produce specific aspects of films such as dubbing and some kinds of special effects -- could face similar cutbacks.

Details on the final budget will be voted on by the end of the year.