An unprecedented seven Israeli feature length titles and two shorts screen in various sections of the Berlinale this year - an impressive feat considering the present dire conditions of film making in Israel.

The tally suggests that there must be something right about the much maligned Israeli Cinema Law, a government film funding initiative which has seen its budgets frequently cut back.

Through the combined efforts of two main Isreali funds, one dedicated to full length features, the other to documentaries, and with the active support of TV channels, a slew of new productions have hit the market in recent months.

The best known in Israel are the two Panorama features. Broken Wings is about a dysfunctional family trying to cope with the sudden loss of the father, and was awarded top honours at the Jerusalem Film Festival in July 2002. It has since taken the Grand Prix in Tokyo, most of the Israeli Film Academy Awards and is also a hit in the cinemas with over 200,000 admissions so far.

Yossi And Jaegger, meanwhile, is about a tragic gay affair between two officers serving on the Lebanese border. It has already represented Israel in the official Pusan competition. Also in Panorama is Udi Aloni's documentary Local Angel, which explores the issues facing Israel today from the perspective of a left-wing intellectual native son who has been living in New York for the last five years.

Other documentaries in the Forum also explore topical themes concerning Israel. Like Udi Aloni, Asher Telalim is a displaced Israeli who has been teaching cinema in London for several years. In Galuth, he explores the concept of Diaspora - the plight of those who are living away from their own country.

Tsippi Reibenbach is back at the Forum for the third time. Her new film, City Without Pity is a the portrait of a city, Lod. It was the first place Reibenbach knew in Israel, as a new immigrant she returns forty years later, to find a deeply troubled and crime-infested community of both Jews and Arabs.

The two Israeli films in the Children Film Festival were both produced originally for the small screen, Miss Entebbe and Underwater. The first examines how the instinctive response to terrorism is further terrorism, while the latter portrays a 14 years old girl torn between her secular mother and a father who has left his family to go back to religion.