Germany's new state minister for culture and affairs of the media Julian Nida-Ruemelin has launched another initiative - the Innovation Prize - to follow last week's announcement of three annual film distribution awards.

The prize, which will recognise innovations in filmmaking will be awarded up to twice a year with a premium of $14,000 (DM 30,000) each time. "This prize will honour promising ideas and new creative approaches which will strengthen the film industry and improve the efficiency and development of filmmaking", Nida-Ruemelin declared. "I would like to see projects being distinguished which have not previously found consideration in the prize system of the cultural funding programme".

In addition, Nida-Ruemelin's ministry announced that prize-money totalling $1.08m (DM 2.3m) will be allocated this year in premiums of up to $18,700 (DM 40,000) each to commercially operating arthouse cinemas in recognition of artistically ambitious programming. The new distribution prizes, each with a premium of up to $93,500 (DM 200,000), will be awarded according to "the cultural quality of the applicant's distribution strategy, the inclusion of German and other European films, the circulation reached and the cultivation of an ongoing repertoire programme".