The Melbourne International Festival (MIFF) has established an international film networking event which will take place at the beginning of this year's festival from July 26 to 28.

Called 37 South: Bridging The Gap, the event is designed to bring together Australian film producers with a range of potential partners.

Up to ten international sales agents, producers and financiers will be invited to Melbourne to meet established and new film-makers from Australia. The event is supported by the Victorian government and goes hand in hand with new financing arrangements announced by the Australian government earlier this month.

Executive director Richard Moore said that he wanted the event to be as informal as possible. The selection criteria for local projects and producers will be unveiled shortly.

MIFF will also collaborate with Melbourne Writers Festival to present Books At MIFF during which publishers will pitch books to Australian film-makers. 'We have put the call out to all of Australia's independent book publishers to come up with five or six of their top books that have film rights available,' he said.

MIFF is also responsible for administering the MIFF Commissioning Fund of A$1.6m over the next two years. Provided by the Victorian government, the fund is an equity investment fund for features and feature-length documentaries designed as an alternative point of entry for film-makers to existing programmes established by national and state funding agencies.

MIFF runs from July 25 to Aug 12 and scores annual admissions of around 180,000.