After juggling with different launch dates for months the new Copenhagen International Film Festival (CIFF) has set the date for its first edition, Aug13-20 2003.

Festival director Janne Giese sees the event as the next obvious step after the success of Danish film in recent years. "It is a patchwork to set a date for a new festival, because there's literally one every day of the year," says Giese. "However, we do believe that Copenhagen deserves a film festival, not just for the audience but also for the industry. Denmark is after all the strongest film nation in Scandinavia."

The festival's main competition will feature 15 new European films, which will judged by an international jury of up to seven members. Filmmaker Bille August has already agreed to be the first Danish member.

All jury awards will be accompanied by a money prize. CIFF's award will be in the shape of a Golden Swan and will be awarded to the best film, best actor/actress and best script. CIFF will also have a lifetime achievement award, one for best cinematography and an audience award sponsored by the local newspaper Politiken.

The ambitions of CIFF are to screen some 100 -110 films and attract an audience of up to 25,000.

The film 'market' will start with VHS-on-demand, work-in-progress seminars and a showcase of upcoming new Danish films. The budget is DKR10m and CIFF has so far secured backing from the Cultural Ministry, the Danish Film Institute and Copenhagen municipality.

Among others the new festival's board includes film directors Lone Scherfig (Italian For Beginners), Gert Fredholm (One Hand Clapping) and festival veteran Lissy Bellaiche. Valeria Richter will be the festival's co-ordinator and Michael Soeby in charge of the programme.

Copenhagen already has several active festivals including the International Children's Film Festival BUSTER, the Copenhagen Gay and Lesbian Film Festival and the non-competitive NatFilm Festival. NatFilm, which has its 14th edition next April, is the biggest film event in Denmark with some 40,000 admissions.

The Nordic region has a number of film festivals among which the Norwegian in Haugesund and the Swedish in Gothenburg and Stockholm attract the most international attention. The first edition of CIFF will overlap with next year's film festival in Haugesund and the Danish short and documentary film festival in Odense.

Copenhagen International Film Festival has no relation to the Copenhagen Film Festival which ran from 1991 to 1996.