International co-productions by Dito Tsintsadze, Ben Verbong, Joergen Bergmark, and Stephen Daldry are among 14 projects awarded over $8m (Euros 5.5m) by the Duesseldorf-based regional fund Filmstiftung NRW this week.

The largest sum - $2.2m (Euros 1.5m) - went to Daldry's adaptation of Bernhard Schlink's bestselling novel The Reader, which will shoot in Cologne at the beginning of next year.

Production support was granted to Georgian-born filmmaker Tsintsadze's Murder In The Theatre which will be produced by Tatfilm with Tbilisi-based Sanguko Films. The cast for the story of a murder seen from four different perspectives is set to be headed by Nick Nolte, Ewen Bremner, Merab Ninidze and Burghart Klaussner, who won the Best Actor award in Locarno last year for his performance in Tsintsadze's last feature The Man From The Embassy.

Moreover, backing was allocated to Dutch filmmaker Ben Verbong's tragicomedy Laura - a co-production by Elsani Film and 3L Filmproduktion with the Netherlands' Borderline Pictures - which will marking a return to the cinema after a long absence for veteran actress Senta Berger; and to Eine Vernuenftige Loesung by Joergen Bergmark which will star Rolf Lassgard, Pernilla August and Stina Ekblad. Pandora Film Verleih will distribute and The Match Factory handle sales on the Swedish-German co-production between Hepp Film AB and Pandora Film.

The Filmstiftung's committee also gave the greenlight for funding to, among others, an adaptation of Andrea Maria Schenkel's bestseller Tannoed by Bettina Oberli - director of the Swiss Oscar entry Late Bloomers - about one of Germany's biggest unsolved murder cases of the last century. The Wueste Film West production is to begin shooting in the Eifel region from March 2008 and will be distributed theatrically in Germany by Constantin Film.

This murder case is also the inspiration for another feature film, Esther Gronenborn's Kaifeck Murder, which is currently shooting in Bavaria and Thuringia for 24 Frames Film, Neue Kinowelt Filmproduktion and SevenPictures, with Benno Fuermann and Alexandra Maria Lara in the leads. Kinowelt will release in the German cinemas.