The lamentable state of the film industry in Africa is set to be addressed through the launch of a new organisation, Africa Cinemas, which will be bankrolled by a number of European organisations.

Africa Cinemas aims to promote the distribution and exhibition of African films across the continent and support the release of 15-20 per year. On condition that titles get release in more than five African countries, Africa Cinemas will finance prints, sub-titling, transport and even ticketing.

With an initial budget of Euros1.5m, Africa Cinemas will be administered by Europa Cinemas, the Media Plus-backed exhibition support activities. The new organisation is financed equally by the European Union, the French ministry of culture and the inter-governmental agency for promotion of Francophony.

"The very fact that Europeans are administering and financing this pro-African initiative goes to show that Europe Union is not a fortress," said Claude-Eric Poiroux, chairman of Europa Cinemas. "We would even consider financing the creation of an African distributor. In the long term it would be better if Africans could do it for themselves."