Three German funding bodieshave launched new initiatives to support the film industry in Central andSouth-Eastern Europe.

Baden-Wuerttemberg's MFG andLeipzig-based MDM have joined forces with the Vienna Film Fund tooffer up to six grants worth $5097 (Euros 4,000) each for young producers fromCentral and South-Eastern Europe to participate in the EAVE producers trainingprogramme next year.

Applications will be open toproducers from Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, andSlovenia, and particular consideration will given to submissions by producersfrom the non-EU/MEDIA countries of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia,Serbia, and Montenegro, with the final selection being made by EAVE itself.

Speaking to about this jointinitiative, MDM'schief executive Manfred Schmidt explained that one of the grants would beawarded to one of the participants of this year's CineLinkco-production market in Sarajevoat the end of August.

Meanwhile, Germany'sInstitute for Foreign Cultural Relations (ifa), whoseMedia-Im-Pakt project co-financed the Lost And Foundomnibus film two years ago, is providing start-up finance for the establishmentof the east west Crossings Promotion Fund (ewCPF) tocreate a common promotional and networking platform for the South East Europeanfilm industry from next year.

'Many internationalbodies are supporting script development, pre-production, production and post-production,but rarely do they take care of promotion,' MiroljubVuckovic, who will manage the Belgrade-based fund,told ScreenDaily. 'After having initial talks,there is interest from the ministries of culture from Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovenia, Croatia and Bulgaria, but we don't want to ewCPFto be a competitor with the national film [promotion] bodies or an organisationlike European Film Promotion.'

Vuckovic believes that the new fund could play a complementaryrole to the activities of the national film bodies such as the Slovenian FilmFund or the Serbian Film Center. 'A national film body is giving money forpromotion, but sometimes it is not enough to subtitle in, say, Portuguese orJapanese, to create a website or to attend a special event. This is where wewould come in,' he explained.

ewCPF has alreadybeen involved in helping to organise the Leopards of Tomorrow 'East of theMediterranean' showcase of short films from the Balkans atnext month's Locarno InternatioalFilm Festival and is planning to organise a workshop on digital distributionduring the Sarajevo Film Festival.

At this first stage, ewCPF has already won the support of a number of figuresfrom the international film business: an honorary board, chaired by South EastEurope Stability Pact coordinator Erhard Busek,includes Cannes Film Market director Jerome Paillard,Rotterdam International Film Festival director Sandra den Hamer,producer Cedomir Kolar, andAlbanian filmmaker Kujtim Casku,while an advisory board can draw on the services of producers Danijel Hocevar (e-motion film), Ademir Kenovic (ReFresh Production) and Berlin-based consultant Juergen Seidler of Script House,among others.