Finnish producers' decision to stop new feature production until culture minister Stefan Wallin has increased production subsidy by $1.7m (Eu1.2m) has had immediate effect.

The Finnish Film Foundation has not received a single new Finnish project applying for production support.

'Sometimes there are up to 10 applications for Finnish features at these meetings, sometimes only three, but rarely none,' explained the foundation's press and publicity manager Satu Elo.

Thirty Finnish producers representing the entire industry have stated they will complete productions already rolling but discontinue work on new projects. Wallin promised to, 'look into the possibilities of increasing film funding in a positive spirit.'

The Finnish Chamber of Films, including the Finnish Distributors and the Finnish Exhibitors associations, support the producers' demands for more state subsidy.

'A strike is an extreme solution but knowing the long-time lack of funding for Finnish cinema, the producers' frustration becomes very understandable,' said the distributors' chairman, Raija Nurmio.

The chamber urged the minister to state as soon as possible when government finance would be increased to stop Finnish films disappearing from cinemas - 'which would be a catastrophe.'

The foundation granted support to only two co-productions: $55,000 (Eu40,000) was alloted for Estonian director Rene Vibre's I Was Here-First Arrect, co-produced by Helsinki-filmi, and $48,000 (Eu35,000) for Romanian director Anca Damian's Cross Dates, co-produced by Making Movies-Finland.

If the conflict continues, more than 17 productions will be delayed. The Finnish film industry receives $18.6 (Eu13.5) million state funding annually in support of a production volume of 10-14 features.