Culture minister RenaudDonnedieu de Vabres has asked France's Film Office, the CNC, to open a dialoguewith film industry professionals in order to better define the rulessurrounding the local support system.

The demand comes on theheels of a court ruling which last week cancelled the French status ofJean-Pierre Jeunet's A Very Long Engagement.

In a statement, Donnedieu deVabres said he hoped the dialogue would "rapidly help to better defineregulations for the support of works which allow us to preserve jobs and theattractiveness of the territory while also calling for financing from outsideEurope."

The French status ofJeunet's film was rejected when a court decided the production company behindit, 2003 Productions - owned in part by Warner Bros. France president FrancisBoespflug - could not be considered a French company and was actuallycontrolled by Warner Bros. The CNC iscurrently mulling over an appeal of the ruling.

Industry groups are dividedabout allowing non-European, ie. American, companies' access to France's statesubsidies. Groups like auteurs' organisation ARP and the writers' union, SACD,are in favour of letting others in as long as they follow a strict set ofguidelines - like shooting in France and in the French language and with capson the amount of aid.

The Association ofIndependent Producers, however, which represents the French majors like Gaumontand Pathe, are against such a move.