RAI to expand film spending


ROME -- The new business plan for Italian state broadcaster RAI requires it to spend at least 15% of its annual budget to invest in projects related to film, according to a statement released Thursday by the Ministry of Communications.

That amount, which Minister Paolo Gentiloni said could approach 20%, is an increase from previous levels, but it was not made clear exactly how much the increase is. The new rules will cover the period from the start of this year until the end of 2009.

Gentiloni said the money will be spent developing new film projects for theatrical showing or for television, and the production, acquisition and distribution of documentaries and cartoons.

The move is part of RAI's overall effort to increase the quality of its programming. The three-network broadcaster already said it plans to eliminate reality television program and increase its emphasis on Italian-made films.