New fund will have annual budget of €6 million.

France’s National Cinema Centre CNC is set to launch a new fund aimed at world cinema in January 2012, to replace its existing Fonds Sud and Aid to Foreign Language Films (AFLE) funds, the state body announced last week in Cannes.

The new fund, currently referred to as aide aux Cinemas du monde (world cinema aid) will have an annual budget of €6m, nearly double the current combined of budgets of Fonds Sud and AFLE of €3.6m.

The Fonds Sud and the Aid for Foreign Language Films have done well but they need new life breathed into them,” French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand [pictured] told the CNC’s annual conference in Cannes.

“As before, the projects will be selected by a commission of industry professionals and creators, on the basis of their artistic excellence as well as their ability to communicate a different world view and sensibility to audiences in France as well as abroad,”  he said.

Mitterrand added that films from countries where the cinema infrastructure was particularly fragile such as those of Sub-Saharan Africa would be prioritized.

The fund will continue to be managed by the CNC with support from the French Ministry for Foreign Affairs and France’s international Institut Francais cultural body.

Created in 1984, the Fonds Sud has invested €55m in than 500 films from more than 70 different countries to date. Recipients include Thai Apitchapong Weerasthakul’s 2010 Golden Palm winner Uncle Boonmee  and most recently Palestinian actress Hiam Abass’ upcoming debut feature Inheritance.

The AFLE fund, which was created in 1999 and is aimed at directors who have made at least two feature films, has put more than €14m into 120 films. Both funds will continue to operate until the end of 2011.

CNC chief Eric Garandeau said the new fund was in keeping with France’s overall policy of encouraging cultural exchange. He noted that the country currently holds co-production treaties with 50 other countries, adding that in 2010 France co-produced 118 films, with partners from 36 countries.