Norwegian films have reached a record high of 32% market share in the first quarter of 2008. The figure was announced in Cannes this week by Wiegard Harsvik, deputy minister in Norway's Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs.

'The first quarter was way beyond target,' Harsvig commented of figures that were given a major boost by the robust box-office performance of Nils Gaup's The Kautokeino Rebellion (on NonStop's Cannes slate.) Gaup's historical saga has already been seen by over 328,000 Norwegian filmgoers.

The long-term goal of current Norwegian film policy is to achieve 25% market share for local films by 2010. The Government is currently investing $57m (37m Euros) a year into its film related activities - an increase of 50% since 2005.

The leading political parties have made a 'cultural pledge' that the cultural budget should be raised to 1% of the overall State budget. The plan is to increase spending on culture related activities (including film) every year until this goal is achieved.

'Films have been one of the winners,' the Deputy Minister commented of the current spending plans.

Hopes also remain strong that country may soon be in a position to offer producers a tax break akin to the one offered by Iceland - that's to say a refund of 15% of certified expenditure in Norway.

'The good thing with that model is that it has already been approved by the European surveillance authorities,' commented Harsvik. There has long been talk of a Norwegian tax break but Harsvik has expressed his optimism that the fiscal incentive will soon become a reality.

The Government moves to boost the local film industry come as the Norwegians launch a marketing blitz in Cannes. Here at the Festival, The Norwegian Film Institute, The Norwegian Film Commission and promotional agency Innovation Norway have joined forces to promote Norwegian movies in tandem.

The Norwegians built their very own 'Lavvo' - a tented structure erected earlier this week in the garden of the Grand Hotel. The Norwegians are investing an estimated 300,000 Euros on marketing and promotion during the festival.

As of the beginning of April, Norwegian Film Fund, Norwegian Film Institute and Norwegian Film Development were merged into a new institution, Norwegian Film Institute, under managing-director Nina Refseth.