The Danish government has won political backing to pass a new $237m support plan for the film industry, spread over four years and provided by both public broadcasters and the state.

The package, put together by the new right-wing cultural minister of Denmark, Brian Mikkelsen, was passed by all political parties except one. It has received a cautious welcome from the Danish film industry.

"We are generally OK with the new settlement, not least because it found such a broad range of parties. It is still less than we had before, but at least we didn't get less than they had first suggested," says Kim Magnusson, chairman of Denmark's Producers' Association.

The $237m spend between 2003-2006 should secure an annual production level of 20-25 features and 40-45 shorts and documentaries. The Danish Film Institute will allocate the majority of the money - $85m - for feature film production, divided between 15-20 Danish language and 4-6 foreign-language films.

However, direct government funding is reduced by $20m compared to this year. Broadcasters, meanwhile, are required to increase their commitment to the film industry.

Both public broadcasters, DR and TV2, are each obliged to contribute $8m a year for local films, including $4.6m for features and $900,000 for shorts and documentaries. They will also continue their annual $500,000 contribution to develop new talent.

This has created some conflict in the Danish industry. In general, most producers prefer to receive contributions directly from the state as there are less conditions attached. Broadcasters, however, prefer to maintain greater control over film projects and want to decide how the money is spent themselves. As of yet, producers and broadcasters have not yet been able to agree on the exact terms of trade.

The worst case scenario is that this could mean a temporary gap in production, as no new films will start shooting without funding from the TV stations. This amounts to some $135,000-272,000 invested in the film and another $135,000 for the TV rights to it.

M&M Productions' Faktor13, to be directed by newcomer Tsara Tristana, is just one project which has had to be postponed on account of this.

Under the terms of the new film package, more money has also been allocated to shorts and documentaries. Magnusson commented: "Luckily they followed our proposal of securing more money for shorts and documentaries. That is a key issue in the development of new talent." Some $2.2m has been earmarked for that purpose, with $1.6m taken from feature production and $545,000 from the administration of the Danish Film Institute.