The International Rotterdam Film Festival has added its voice to the growing international chorus of support for the "original" Diagonale and has donated Euros 1,000 toward the running of the 2004 edition.

The "original" Diagonale is being launched next year with the support of senior figures in the Austrian industry in protest against changes made by the "official" Diagonale management of Tillmann Fuchs and Miroljub Vuckovic (see links to stories below for more details).

"We were shocked to hear that the innovative, successful and inspiring team of the Diagonale was replaced for political reasons that are hard to understand outside of Austria", said festival directors Sandra den Hamer and Simon Field and programmer Gertjan Zuilhof in a message of solidarity. "It is really sad that the people responsible for this do not care for international artistic reputations."

Meanwhile, the Graz city council decided in a session on its 2004 budget on 15 December to award Euros 230,000 to the original Diagonale and the International Mountain Film Festival. The "official" Diagonale will now not receive any backing from Graz, while the original Diagonale expects to be supported with around Euros 200,000.

Commenting on the council's decision, the original Diagonale team said: "This support by the city of Graz pleases us because it is a strong signal for the continuity of the Diagonale and, at the same time, is an acknowledgement of the many years of successful work in building up an internationally recognised festival of Austrian cinema."

To date, more than 200 films have been submitted by Austrian filmmakers for the original Diagonale which will be held in Graz between 3-7 March, 2004.