With only two weeks to go beforeparliamentary elections, Sweden's minister of culture Marita Ulvskog unveiled asurprise $8.7m (SEK80m) financial support package for the Swedish filmindustry.

Ulvskogpresented her package to mixed reactions at a meeting between trade bodies andpolitical parties held at the Swedish Film Institute yesterday (Monday)evening.

Themove comes after some 18 months of stiff criticism of the government by thelocal industry, which had argued that it needed a financial lifeline if it werenot to topple into crisis.

"Thisis definitely a good start and a way to solve the acute situation for Swedishfilms," said Borje Hansson, chairman of the Swedish Film Producers'Association. "But we still need an additional $2.7m (SEK 25m) to realise allthe productions we have planned."

Ironicallypart of the reason for the industry's troubles has been the runaway success ofsome local pictures. Although some $5.43m (SEK50m) a year is available in theform of results related incentives, this subsidy has been gobbled up by thelikes of Executive Protection, Together and Jalla!Jalla!. With this pool used up a number of local productions have hadto be delayed or cancelled in the last year.

Theemergency cash runs until 2004.