German film producers havewelcomed the Gerhard Schroeder administration's financing of a Euros 90mventure capital fund as a useful bargaining chip for negotiations oninternational co-production projects at this year's Cannes Film Festival.

Egoli Tossell Film's JensMeurer said the fund is "very attractive money for German producers notjust for German films but also for international projects."

"The fund will come intoeffect in the fourth quarter of this year," Meurer explained. "Theidea is that roughly 20% can be added to a film's German spend with the fundhaving an attractive recoupment position. The key condition is that you have tohave a German producer onboard to access the fund whose monies can be combinedwith all of the other tax schemes and public funds in Europe."

Meurer, together withConstantin Film's Martin Moszkowicz, was the producers' representative in theworking group specially convened by theFederal Chancellery.

Meurer stressed that theworking group would continue to meet after Cannes: "it is not the end ofthe story because we will now look at the possibilities of private equity andprivate investment for German production and for German producers to bring intointernational co-productions."

"We are confident thatthe Media Decree will now be abolished," added Meurer, the Germanco-producer on Michael Caton-Jones' Shooting Dogs who is currentlyin pre-production for Paul Verhoeven's World War II drama Black Book.

On Tuesday, State Ministerfor Culture Christina Weiss announced that the German government is to create aventure capital fund with a total volume of Euros 90m to support the Germanfilm industry over the next three years.