When the InternationalDocumentary Film Festival Amsterdam opens in the Dutch capital on Thursday (Nov24) it will feature two documentaries from the same country on the same topic.

The overlap is not due tosome error by the selection committee: the films in question - each Austrianand dealing with food politics - are very different. Erwin Wagenhofer'sWe Feed TheWorld adopts a traditional journalistic style, while NikolausGeyrhalter's OurDaily Bread (Unser Taeglich Brot) lacks commentary or music.

They also point to thenation's current appetite for documentary film-making. Indeed, a quick look atScreen International's regular production listings - below - reveals that theynumber around half of the productions in Austria.

The genre's success is notrecent trend but one that has gradually been building steam during the past year.

To the fore is Hubert Sauper's Oscar shortlisted Darwin's Nightmare - about the impact ofEuropean consumers on fish stocks in Africa - which proved one of the talkingpoints at Venice. It has won a clutch of awards over the last 12 months,including the Label Europa Cinemas at Venice, theFIPRESCI prize at Sydney and the European Jury Award at the Angers European FirstFilm Festival.

Also on the Lido wasMichael Glawogger's Horizons sidebar title Workingman's Death, which looks at theextremes man will go to in order to earn a wage.

Nikolaus Geyrhalter'sAcross The Border: FiveViews From Neighbours has similarly enjoyed strong festival play,with invitations from Moscow, Munich and Minneapolis, while Paul Rosdy's Neue Welt played Karlovy Vary among others.

Part of the success isdown to how documentaries are now finding favour with Austria's public funds.At a recent funding session of the Austrian Film Institute, four non-fictionprojects received backing: in comparison none of the feature projects pitched were deemed worthy of financing.

Martin Schweighofer,managing director of the Austrian Film Commission (AFC), explains: "Thereis a great tradition in Austria of documentaries not just getting made, butalso of having a chance to run in cinemas. You don't have that possibility inmany other countries."

Several of the upcomingdocumentaries are specifically located in Austria. HanneloreTiefenthaler's GoodMorning Austria (Guten Morgen Osterreich) looks at the daily working routine of nineAustrians, while Anita Natmessig's Leben Bis Zuletzt - Sterben In Hospiz is about a Vienna cancerhospice. Elisabeth Scharang's Meine Liebe Republikconcentrates on Austria's uneasy post-war relationship with its Nazi past.

But other film-makers arelooking farther afield. UdoMaurer's Wasser,which examines different peoples' relationship with water, was shot over twoyears in Kazakhstan, Bangladesh, and Kenya. And Ina Ivanceanu and Elke Groen's Happy NewFish (Nian Nian You Yiu) looks at three Chinese villages facing thechallenges of the 21st century.

Peter Jageris managing director at Autlook Filmsales,a Vienna-based company launched in early 2005 by documentary producers Amour Filmproduktion, Nikolaus Geyrhalter Filmproduktion andNavigator Film.

He explains that theoutward vision is in part due to Austria's geographical position. "Austriais a small country with many borders, so Austrian film-makers are veryperceptive to international subjects.

"People are more andmore interested in constructive and creative visions of our world and thisdemand is being met here."

It's an argument supportedby the home box-office success of Filmladen release We Feed The World, which bucked thisyear's downward admissions trend by registering more than 40,000 admissionswithin two weeks of its limited late September release: after six weeks it has takenmore than $600,000, despite never playing on more than 26 screens.

Food for thought indeed.

Forfull Austrian and German listings, http://www.screendaily.com/productionlisting.asp'id=74&pl=true&main=true>clickhere