The Council of Europe's Eurimages fund is planning to provide support for the digitisation of its funded films from the middle of this year to boost their circulation throughout Europe.

Speaking at this year's Sofia Meetings, Eurimages' executive secretary Jan Vandierendonck revealed that he is currently drafting the guidelines for an initiative that will be submitted for approval to the Board of Management at its next meeting in Warsaw at the beginning of May.

Producers of Eurimages-funded films would be able to apply for the support once an answer print is available. The funding would amount to a maximum of $13,190 (Euros 10,000) - or up to 80% of the costs - for the digitisation, and decisions on funding would be taken by the Eurimages secretariat in Strasbourg rather than by the complete board.

Up to 60 European films could be supported a year under this scheme which would also benefit existing films supported in the past by Eurimages as well as new titles. 'It can give a new life to an old Eurimages film,' Vandierendonck suggested.

He added that he had been in discussions with the officials of the European Union's MEDIA Programme who are 'very interested' in the Eurimages programme and would be following its progress over the 30 months from mid-2007 until the end of 2009.

Vandierendonck stated that the scheme would be regarded in the next two-and-a-half years as a 'pilot project'. Costs for a film's digitisation would then have to be part of the financing plan in funding applications to Eurimages from 2010.