Up to $28,000 (DM600,000) is being made available by Germany's new state minister for culture, Julian Nida-Ruemelin, to support "culturally outstanding achievements in the sphere of film distribution" in the form of three annual distributor awards starting this coming autumn.

Each award will include up to $94,000 (DM200,000) to be invested in the distribution of German and other European films "with artistic quality".

In announcing the new awards, the ministry explained that the selection criteria will mainly comprise: "the cultural quality of the applicant's distribution work, the contribution of German films, the contribution of other European films, the circulation reached for the films and the cultivation of a repertoire programme".

Any commercial theatrical distributor with its place of residence or business headquarters in Germany will be eligible for the award. Other distributors, based in the EU or European Economic Area (EEA) will have to have a branch office in Germany to qualify for entry.