Veteran film-maker Roberto Benigni has slammed the Italian government because he fears proposed budget cuts will force the prestigious Venice Film Festival to end.

The Life is Beautiful director is furious the annual movie celebration is facing crisis over reduced funding for arts projects.

He says, "In Italy, culture is being undervalued more and more, when we should in fact dedicate a lot of time, money and effort.

"We have so many great talents that should be nourished, and it's sad that this will not happen because we won't have the funds."

The move could have repercussions for other cultural institutions, including Milan's La Scala opera house and the Venice Biennale.

A spokesman for Venice Biennale says, "If the cuts are confirmed and no alternatives are provided by the administration, the film festival is in serious danger.

"We are prepared to make further efficiencies, but not by this incredible amount."