As the Rotterdam film festival continues, local film-makers are seeing several signs of encouragement from the Dutch Film Fund. The fund has announced $1.26m (Euros 975,000) backing in three art-house features as well as unveiling details for its groundbreaking $16.8m (Euros 13m) Matching Fund.

Dutch Film Fund director Toine Berbers said the Matching Fund will launch later this year. Producers with two-thirds of their budget in place will be able to apply for the final third of their film's financing. To access the cash, they must have 10% of their budget in the form of a distributor's guarantee and a further 15% of private investment.

'25% of the total budget must be from private investors. They must have 65% of the budget in place. Then this special Matching Fund will top up the budget for the last 35%,' Berbers explained.

The Dutch Film Fund will administer the new scheme on behalf of the Ministry Of Culture. Berbers stressed that the the Matching Fund will run entirely separately from ther Dutch Film Fund's other schemes. 'There will be an iron curtain,' he said.

When the old Dutch 'CV' scheme was scrapped, the money involved was changed into $25.9m (Euros 20m) 'straight cash instead of tax allowances.' Of that, $9, (Euros 7m) went to the Film Fund for its regular activities and the other $168m (Euros 13m) was used to set up the Matching Fund.

The new measures are currently being looked over by the EU in Brussels but Berbers expressed his confidence that they will be rubber stamped and that the scheme will be up and running by the summer.

Meanwhile, the Dutch Film Fund's has given a further boost to three art-house films. Ineke Smits' The Aviatrix Of Kazbek has received $711,974 (Euros 550,000), Eugenie Jansen's Calimucho received $452,882 (Euros 350,000). Aviatrix Of Kazbek has now received a total Filmfund subsidy of Ruros 1m, Eugenie Jansen's Calimucho received Euros 800,000.

Peter Delpeut's Mata Hari received an advance for an extra $97,046 (Euros 75,000). This amount which will be deducted from its 'realisation grant. '

Earlier this year, the Fund invited eight projects that had been blocked from receiving further public funding because they had no broadcasters attached to apply for extra money. The producers were allowed to ask for a maximum amount of $776,369 (Euros 600,000). It had been thought that this money would be given to a single feature film.

The Minister of Culture has allocated the Dutch Film Fund Euros 6m extra for supporting art films forthree years.

Els Vandervorst of Isabella, producer of The Aviatrix, is confident that she will now be able to complete the financing of her project. The film is a co-production with Germany, France, Belgium, Georgia and Denmark.

What the extra round of funding underlines is that Dutch art house producers will no longer have to rely on the support of broadcasters. 'It's important to understand that cinema and television are two different things,' said Vandervorst. 'Most of the time in Holland when you wanted to make a cinema film, you were still dependent on television.'

'This is maybe the first step of making more Dutch cinema without being so television minded,' added Stienette Bosklopper, the producer of Calimucho.