The criteria for European public film support could shift to a more commercial footing after the continent's leading funding bodies unveiled an EU-wide accord yesterday.

Public funding bodies, including the UK's Film Council, Germany's Filmforderungsanstalt and France's Centre National de la Cinematographie, are aiming to set the agenda in the run-up to the European Commission's review of state support for film after 2005.

The bodies are calling for a clearer definition of the rationale for supporting films, arguing that support cannot be confined only to so-called cultural films - as all films are both a commercial venture and a cultural expression.

"This joint declaration is pure film policy but it's incredibly important for the future of the UK film industry," said Film Council chief executive John Woodward.

"This statement shows how the strategic focus of all the lead organisations for film in Europe is increasingly to deal with Europe-wide issues, as well as working at a national level in our respective countries."

The declaration is the first from a forum of EU film bodies set up by the Film Council and the Centre National de la Cinematographie (CNC).

Also on the agenda are such measures as aid to film facilities sectors and the need to extend the time between EU policy renewals.

Other signatories include Spain's Instituto de la Cinematografia y de las Artes Audiovisuales, Ireland's Irish Film Board and The Netherlands' Nederlands Fonds v d Film.