The chronically under-funded Hungarian film industry has received a major boost with Cultural minister Gabor Gorgey (pictured) approving funding of $20m for local filmmakers in 2003.

Previously, a mere $1.5m state fund was available to the industry as seed finance - usually for non-commercial projects.

Yesterday, Gorgey signed a declaration confirming the new investment with president of the Motion Picture Public Foundation of Hungary, Ferenc Grunwalsky. The Foundation will receive $4.8m (HUF 1.1bn), while $14m (HUF 3.2bn) will stay at the Cultural Ministry.

$870,000 will be distributed among young filmmakers to make their debuts. The Foundation of the Hungarian Historical Motion Picture received $870,000 while $2.2m will be handed out for the renovation of arthouse cinemas in Budapest and other cities.

An additional $4.4m will be given to Lajos Koltai's directorial debut, Fateless, the film based on Imre Kertesz's Nobel prize-winning novel.

Finally, after years of bickering between government and the industry, it is hoped that the film law will be passed by the end of the year to regularise Hungarian filmmaking