Italy taps eight directors for funding

New rules exclude projects deemed controversial

ROME -- Italy's Ministry of Culture has announced plans to spend 3.6 million euros ($5.3 million) on eight new projects from new directors, its first round of funding since it established new rules in August that would block state funding for some controversial film projects.

The change began when Minister of Culture Sandro Bondi blasted "Il sol del'avvenire" (Red Sun), a documentary that screened at the Locarno Film Festival that explored the founding of Italy's bloody Red Brigade insurgency from the 1970s and '80s. A week later, Bondi criticized another documentary, "Quando combattono elefanti" (When Elephants Battle), for being too political.

Bondi, who took office in May, said the two films, which were made in part with state funding, would not have received funding from his ministry. He vowed to supply direct funding toward less controversial projects.

The latest crop of eight films -- all of which will receive between 250,000 euros ($370,000) and 775,000 euros ($1.2 million) -- include "Senza arte ne parte," directed by actor Giovanni Albanese, and "Good Morning Aman" from Claudio Noce, who won the short-film prize at the Venice Film Festival three years ago. All the directors receiving backing are working on their first or second big-screen project.