Public sector film funders in Canada have joined their counterparts from Belgium, France, Luxembourg and Switzerland in creating a development fund for French-language films.

Initiated by Telefilm Canada, the agreement will encourage co-productions between the Francophone communities, particularly the development of projects with broad audience appeal.

The fund will operate with an annual budget of €300,000, with €200,000 provided by Telefilm and SODEC and €100,000 provided by the European partners. A committee of member agencies will manage the disbursement; the maximum grant will be €40,000. Guidelines are pending.

Making the announcement in Cannes, Telefilm Canada chair Michel Roy said the agreement builds on the agency’s view that international co-productions are a means to drive industry development.

The announcement follows the creation of a lobby to represent the interests of Quebec-based independent producers, reform current co-production treaties and to press for more funds for international coproduction. The Regroupement des Producteurs Indépendants de Cinéma du Québec includes major producers such as Roger Frappier of Max Films, Denise Robert of Cinemaginaire and Pierre Even of Cirrus Communications.