The Norwegian film industry is hoping that incoming culture minister Ellen Horn, appointed March 17, will continue with her predecessor's policy to transform state-owned film body Norsk Film into a single independent production fund.

Outgoing culture minister Aslaug M. Haga had wide industry support for her proposal that Norsk Film withdraw from direct involvement in production to concentrate on setting up financing for Norwegian films. In an unexpected move, Norsk Film chairman and former government minister Matz Sandman, also came out in support of Haga's proposals last week.

Norwegian Film Institute chiefs Jan Erik Holst and Harry Guttormsen also gave Haga full backing as did Elin Erichsen, head of the Norwegian Audiovisual Production Fund and the Norwegian Film and TV Producers Society (NFTPS)'s Tom Eilertsen.

"We hope Ellen Horn will continue the work that Haga started. It's important that we evaluate the whole funding system in Norway," Eilertsen said.

Other sectors of the Norwegian film industry will also be under the spotlight in coming months. The government is currently conducting a survey on the 1913 Cinema Act under which Norway's local councils are the only bodies with the power to grant licences to operate a cinema. As councils also operate most of Norway's cinemas - several sectors of the industry are claiming conflict of interest.

A total of 83 companies from different sectors of the industry - including the Norwegian Film Club Society and National Competition Control - were asked to contribute to the survey. Most are in favour of loosening the monopoly situation in the exhibition sector.

The NFTPS is also concerned that the 23% sales tax which has been removed from local productions, prevents film producers from write-offs against VAT.