The new Norwegian Film Institute - formed from the merger of the former institute, the Norwegian Film Fund, and Norwegian Film Development, and the brainchild of culture minister Trond Giske - was set rolling Monday (March 31), after a few last-minute decisions.

News reports Friday suggested that the new institution, which handles an annual $57.9m (Euros 37m) state subsidy, was still short of a board, by-laws and four out of five department directors.

But Monday, Giske was ready with everything except the fifth department director, as he opened the institute at Oslo's Film House and said the start couldn't be better. He noted that so far more than one million Norwegians have watched local films this year.

Former consultant Ivar Kohn, of the now defunct Norwegian Film Fund, has been appointed head of development and production. Køhn is also a producer and former co-owner of Maipo Film- & TV-produksjon.

Head of administration is Jan Graff, formerly with Norwegian telecom, and Mette Tharaldsen - previously responsible for communication for American Express-Scandinavia - has been named director of information.

Inhouse recruit Mia Lindrup - in charge of the old institute's Film & Audience department - will control the new institution's audience division. Still missing is the chief of publicity and marketing.

According to Norwegian law, former head of international activities, Jan Erik Holst, has taken legal action to keep his position. Sources within the board said that a decision would be reached within two to three days.

At the opening the culture minister and the institute's new CEO Nina Refseth, whose background is publishing, also introduced the new board headed by managing director Kristenn Einarsson who also chaired the interim board.

New members include film directors Nina Grünfeld and Lisa Marie Gamlemm, Nordisk Film producer Aage Aaberge, film centre advisor Solvår Amdahl, and former managing director of the Danish Film Institute Henning Camre.

With a 100 staff the new institution has an annual managing budget of $19m (Euros 12m).