Spain's regional government of Catalunya has approved a new $7.6m (Euros 6m) filmco-production fund, Mesfilms Inversions.

The CatalanInstitute of Finances (ICF), the Catalan Institute of Cultural Industries(ICIC) and regional public broadcaster TVC each bring $1.3m (Euros 1m) to thefund initially, with an agreement to bring an additional $1.3m (Euros 1m) eachby the end of next year.

The partnerswill co-produce feature films with clear commercial potential, usually budgetedupwards of $3.2m (Euros 2.5m). Maximum investment will be $761,700 (Euros600,000) per project, with the partners potentially handling distributionrights as well.

Xavier Parache, head of promotion for the audiovisual area ofICIC, notes that bringing three such major institutions together to supportfeature films is no small task. "What is new here is that this is not asubsidy, it is an investment. We want to demonstrate to other possibleinvestors that cinema is an industry and has the capacity to generate returns."

Mesfilms,which should be running by the end of the year, is one of several newinitiatives in Spain to help finance feature films beyondlimited state subsidy systems.

Another,mutual guarantee fund Audiovisual SGR, was launched last December to helpproducers, distributors, exhibitors and technical companies access andnegotiate better conditions on bank loans.

Backed bythe Ministry of Culture's film institute ICAA and producers' rights managemententity EGEDA, with additional investment from small and mid-sized memberbusinesses from the sector, Audiovisual SGR said this week it has already signedagreements with five big-name banks in Spain to obtain low interest creditlines worth up to $29m (Euros 23m), and is negotiating deals with two morebanks.

Since itslaunch, it has approved $5m (Euros 4m) worth of personal guarantees, about athird of its anticipated funding this year. So far the majority has gone forthe production of feature films and animated series, mirroring the fact that83% of participating members in the fund to date are producers, followedby technical companies, distributors and exhibitors.