Backed by the Norwegian Foreign and Culture Ministries, Films from the South (Film fra Sør) – Oslo’s international film festival, which has since 1991 presented an annual programme of 100 features and documentaries from Asia, Africa and Latin America – has set up a fund to support film production in the non-western part of the world.

Foreign minister Erik Solheim announced the initiative at a press conference in Oslo yesterday (Oct 11) during the 20th edition of the festival. ”With a yearly $345,000 (NOK 2 million), the fund will contribute to films which break new land, probably explore controversial subjects, which may return and enrichen the culture also in Norway,” he said.

The Norwegian Film Institute will collaborate with Films from the South in the administration of the fund. ”It means a lot to the festival’s intention of being a meeting place for filmmakers and the industry, and it will further strengthen out contacts with the countries in the south,” added the artistic director Lasse Skagen, of Films from the South.

Running til Oct 17, this year’s showcase includes all 12 films restored by the World Cinema Foundation, which was honoured at a gala (Oct 10) attended by the Norwegian Crown Prince, and Norwegian actress Liv Ullmann. 20 non-Western filmmakers are in Oslo for the festival, including Iranian director Shirin Neshat (Women Without Men).