Polish public broadcaster TVP has vowed to increase its funding for the beleaguered Polish film industry amid signs that the crisis faced by producers over the last two years is beginning wane.

TVP has been one of the major backers of Polish films throughout the 1990's, investing in nearly 90 percent of the feature films produced.

But in 2001 Poland's economic downturn forced TVP to cut its funding to just under $25m (Z100m)

The funding cuts coincided with major cuts in government funding leaving many Polish producers on the verge of bankruptcy. While 22 feature films were produced this past year most of them were produced on shoe-string budgets.

"This year we will increase funding to about $30m," said Maciej Kosinski, director of programming at TVP, "that is about 30 percent more than last year." TVP contributed financially to 12 of the 22 Polish films produced this year investing between 15 and 100 percent of the budget.

Kosinski added that TVP is committed to continuing to support Polish feature film production as a key part of its programming strategy. TVP screened 220 feature films in the last 9 months. The highest rated film during the period was a TVP production, Hello Teresa, directed by Robert Glinski which had 5.5m viewers - 40 percent of the total Polish audience.

The second and third rated films were also Polish, with Pan Tadeusz directed by Andrzej Wajda at number two and a TVP premiere - White Dress directed by Michal Kwiecinski in his feature debut - in number three. The film's popularity on TVP led to its theatrical release.

In another strong sign that Polish feature film production is reviving Polish films occupied four of the top ten slots at the Polish box office this week. (See ScreenDaily.com's Polish box office chart on the World Box Office service for full details.)