Hopesfor a swift resolution of the German film funding crisis following thescrapping of media funds have been raised with the appointment of Germany's newState Minister For Culture, Bernd Neumann.

The63-year-old has taken a strong interest in film finance issues. Earlier thisyear argued that support "doesn't have to be the funds in the form as they haveexisted until now, but something must come in their place. Otherwise we won'thave any chance of keeping the film industry competitive."

Moreover,in the run-up to the Bundestag election in September, Neumann stressedthat, in the event of the Christian Democrats' taking over from the Schroederadministration, he would change the Media Decree's controversial regulations oninternational co-prodcutions "with the single stroke of the pen."

TheGerman Cultural Council welcomed the choice of Neumann to the governmentof Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"Neumannhas always spoken out in favour of regarding film as both an economic as wellas a cultural asset," a spokesman said,