Italian film investment up despite slowdown

But cinema admissions decreased during 2008

ROME -- Spending in the Italian film sector rose in 2008, despite the economic slowdown that gripped the country starting in the second half of the year.

Italian cinema and audiovisual association ANICA said Monday that Italy produced a total of 123 films last year, a dramatic jump from 90 films in each of the previous two years. Overall investment also rose, to 253.3 million euros ($329.3 million), on the back of a 13.3% increase in private sector spending and an 18.8% jump in government spending.

The government's share of overall spending on film inched higher, to 19.5% of all spending, compared with 18.8% in 2007.

Over the same period, admissions to Italian cinemas trailed off to 99.3 million tickets sold, with a value of 593.7 million euros ($771.8 million) -- 4.1% and 3.8% lower, respectively, than in 2007.