Three recent developments in the Czech Republic -- one private, two public -- will make an additional $12.8m available to Czech productions next year.

The government decided in November to increase the budget of the Culture Ministry this year by $5.7m (CZK 100m) earmarked for Czech cinematography. The money would be reserved from this year's funds and made accessible to film-makers in 2008.

The government says the move is a stop-gap measure for next year while the government continues to hammer out the details of the new film law. A Culture Ministry would proposal would benefit domestic productions, while a separate Finance Ministry bill would create tax incentives similar to Hungary's 20% tax rebate.

Filmmakers hope both bills will find support in government and parliament next year and come into effect in 2009.

Separately, the Czech president has signed a new law on the digitalization of television broadcasts, which will provide the State Fund for the Support and Development of Czech Cinematography with $5.7m (CZK 100m) next year.

The state fund awards $6m-$9m (Euros 4m-6m) each year in support of Czech film development, production, distribution and exhibition.

The main purpose of the digitalization law is to support digital broadcasting, but in effect it will bring the state fund an estimated $700,000 (CZK 12.5m) a month from advertising revenues from public broadcaster Ceska Televize until analog broadcasting ends in the Czech Republic, sometime between 2010 and 2012.

In the private sector, international energy group RWE has announced plans to spend $1.4m (CZK 25m) in support of new Czech films in 2008. The money has been allotted to four films, for which RWE will receive co-producer status.

Vaclav Marhoul's WWII drama Tobruk will receive CZK 3m ($170,000), as will Jan Hrebejk's comedy True Love . The energy group will also sponsor Vladimir Michalek's family comedy Of Parents And Children and Zdenek Troska's fairy tale The Most Beautiful Riddle .

Since RWE began its support program in 2005, it has helped finance several commercially successful films in the Czech Republic, including Tomas Vorel's High School , Jan Hrebejk's Teddy Bear , and David Ondricek's Grand Hotel .

Neither the RWE support nor the public money will benefit foreign producers directly, but both will allow Czech producers to participate more equally in international co-productions.

Czech producers make 20 films a year, half of which are funded by private sponsors. The average budget of a Czech film is almost $1.5m (Euros 1m).

Czech cinemas will see a record 32 local features premiere in 2008, the highest number since 22 in 2002 and 14 more than last year.