The UK's Film Council has partnered with equivalent French public support body CNC to launch a short film competition aimed at promoting creative and financial co-operation between the two territories, as well as encouraging producers to develop films with a chance of travelling.

Dubbed "The Short Channel" the scheme will produce six short films from three screenplays, with three pairs of UK and French directors making a film from the same screenplay. The initiative has coffers of Euros 300,000, split equally between the Film Council's New Cinema Fund and the CNC's short film fund.

Awards for each project, which will not exceed Euros100,000 each, will include a contribution to the company's overheads.

The competition comes as industry delegates from the UK and France meet at the 12th Festival Of British Film in Dinard to discuss cultural and financial exchange between the two territories.

"The number of submissions [involving co-production partners] is tiny, and the number of UK producers coming to us saying they want to work with European partners is tiny to non-existent," said Jenny Borgars, head of the Film Council's annual £5m Development Fund. "[UK and French producers] need to find ways to finance and co-produce together."

The Short Channel programme will be premiered at next year's festival.