New featurefilms by Doris Doerrie, Esther Gronenborn, Ilya Khrzhanovsky, and Ole ChristianMadsen are among the projects supported with more than $5.3m (Euros 4m) by thethree German regional funds FFF Bayern, FilmFoerderung Hamburg and MDM at their last funding sessions for2006.

The largestamount allocated by the Bavarian fund - $663,024 (Euros 500,000) - went toDoerrie's drama Hanami which has alsobeen supported by Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg and will begin shooting atlocations in Berlin, Bavaria and Japan from spring 2007, while the Munich fundand Leipzig-based MDM gave $696,175 (Euros 525,000) in total to 24 Frames Film'sproduction of Esther Gronenborn's mystery thriller Kaifeck Murder.

MDM also followed Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg and awarded $464,117 (Euros350,000) to Russian director Ilya Khrzhanovsky's biopic of the world famousNobel Prize-winning physicist Lev D. Landau, Dau, which will be produced by Essential Filmproduktion with Russia's Phenomen Films.

Meanwhile,two gangster dramas from different periods in history found favour with thefunding committee in Hamburg: Ozgur Yildirim's feature debut Chiko, which will be produced by FatihAkin's production outfit Corazon International and will star Moritz Bleibtreuand Denis Moschitto as petty gangsters in a contemporary Hamburg suburb; andDanish filmmaker Ole Christian Madsen's Flame& Citron, set in Second World War Denmark under German occupation, tobe produced by Nimbus Film with Wueste Filmproduktion.

Inaddition, FilmFoerderung Hamburg awarded distribution support for thetheatrical release of Angelina Maccarone's Locarno prize-winner Hounded (Verfolgt) which will be released on Jan 4 by MMM Film Verleih. The new distributionoutfit was launched by the film's production company MMM Filmproduktion and plans to openthe film on 15 prints in such cities as Hamburg, Cologne, Berlin, Frankfurt,Freiburg, Duesseldorf and Munich.