Last week's appointment of Waldemar Dabroski as the new Polish Minister of Culture may signal an end to the political divisions that have been crippling the Polish film industry.

Dabroski, who as minister for cinematography in the early 1990's was responsible for establishing the government-backed agency for film production, is recognised as a force that can unite the government and the film industry.

'His appointment signals a turning point in the current film production crisis,' said Irena Strzalkowska, deputy director of Tor Film Studios, one of Poland's leading production outfits speaking during an eastern European film industry conference during the Karlovy Vary Film Festival. 'I believe that he will be able to push through the support for film production that the industry needs. We have someone in charge who understands culture, business and politics.'

Polish film production has been crippled by a lack of funding with only a half dozen or so films expected to be produced this year. Government funding has been cut to a mere $740,000 (Zlotys 3.1m) for 2002, four times less than last year.