Germany and France are planning to launch a $376,000 (Euros 300,000) co-development fund from next year as part of their existing bilateral mini co-production agreement.

The news was announced at this year's Franco-German Film Rendez-Vous in Hamburg. 300 German and French producers, distributors and film funders attended the three-day annual event which alternates between France and Germany.

Christine Berg of the German Federal Film Fund (DFFF) explained that the fund should promote the 'cultural and economical potential for the German and French market.'

Individual funding will be awarded up to $63,000 (Euros 50,000) and the fund would be open to a producer's first or second feature film.

Also speaking at the event, Olivier Wotling of France's CNC suggested that the initiative would benefit new producers and enable them to build up a network. 'It is very important that one can start very early with cooperation. This dimension must be supported,' Wotling said.

The new fund would be part of the 'mini-traite' agreement which was signed by the CNC and Germany's German Federal Film Board (FFA) in May 2001 and has supported 50 Franco-German co-productions.

These include Tom Tykwer's Perfume - The Story of a Murderer, Werner Schroeter's Deux, Claire Denis' 35 Rhums, and Julie Delpy's The Countess.

It was revealed that in 2007 Germany became the second most important co-production partner for France after Belgium.

Germany participated in 10 French majority co-productions compared to 18 by Belgian companies. In 2006, Germany had been third place with involvement in six French productions behind Italy (nine) and Belgium (11).

Berg reported that a third of the 30 international co-productions supported by the DFFF so far this year are German-French co-productions with total production costs of $158m (Euros 126m), compared to $100m (Euros 80m) for the 12 German-French co-productions in 2007.