A new structure to promote a greater exchange of information between European public film funds is on the cards after meetings held during the Berlinale.

The venture, which goes under the unwieldy working title of European Coordination Group for Regional Audiovisual Investment Funds (CEFIR-AV), was initiated by Rotterdam Film Fund's Jacques van Heijningen and Wallimage's Philippe Reynaert.

The first contacts with German regional funds and opposite numbers in France, Spain, Sweden and the UK were made over the weekend (Feb 9-10) during the Contact Berlin 2002 forum.

"It is working out very fast and people are very enthusiastic about the idea", said van Heijningen. "We want to create a small and efficient organisation. The move comes only months after the European Commission issued guidelines that would limit national funding schemes to 50% of a film's budget. "The exchange of information and good practice between our different bodies can only be of mutual benefit", Reynaert said.

Van Heijningen and Reynaert envisage that the organisation could be up and running by this year's Cannes festival in May. The scheme may be managed by consultant Antoinette Desclaibes from a base in Mons.