Italy's Smallest Region Announces First Film Fund

Valle d'Aosta will begin with $860,000 in funding in hopes of drawing more projects to the area.

VENICE – Valle d’Aosta, Italy’s smallest and least populated region, on Friday announced the creation of the region’s first ever film fund, starting out with €600,000 ($860,000) in funding in hopes of drawing more film projects to the region’s castles, archeological sites and panoramic vistas.

The announcement was made at the Venice Film Festival, at the Venice Days sidebar event.

PHOTOS: Venice Film Festival: 10 Movies to Know

Organizers said the fund will back film projects from Italian and international companies filming in the region or for independent companies headquartered there. In addition to providing access to funds, the Film Commission Valle d’Aosta will help filmmakers with other projects, such as scouting locations and locating local staff.

The region is the smallest in Italy in terms of geography, and with a population of just 130,000 is also has fewer in inhabitants than any other region. It is also the only Italian region where French is an official language.

“We’re a little late getting into the film commission business,” said commission president Luciano Barisone. “But that’s not necessarily a disadvantage because we can learn from what other commissions have done. And we do think we have some advantages over other regional film funds.”

The region, nestled in the Alps in the northwestern corner of Italy, where it borders both Switzerland and France, is mostly bilingual, between Italian and French, and because of that link between the two cultures, film commission officials say they hope to set themselves up as a popular destination for both Italian and French filmmakers as well as those from other countries. Organizers said that if the initiative proves successful the budget could rise in the future.