Shorts International has turned on its ShortsTV cable channel airing an extensive catalogue of short films 24 hours a day to audiences in France, Belgium and Luxembourg.

As well as Oscar-winning works and commended films from around the world, there will be up to 1,800 new films screened this year. The programme for the channel will be divided into themes, including animation, experimental and the choices of critics and festivals.

The channel will be receiving creative guidance from an advisory board consisting of director Roman Polanski, actress Sophie Marceau, composer Maurice Jarre and film critic Jean-Pierre Lavoignat. Shorts International will be working with each advisor on special projects including a short film contest.

ShortsTV will be a platform for emerging French film-makers and with WebCourt, the online equivalent, provide an arena for discussion and collaboration in the film community.

The channel will also air master classes taught by the members of the advisory board, as well as documentaries on film production and coverage of film festivals.

Roman Polanski said of the project: 'Like a lot of directors, I started with short films. They are naturally more accessible for your first film, the production money is easier to find. The artistic result is another matter. It is more difficult to achieve something exceptional with a short film, than a feature film. The form demands a more rigorous film making. It takes a lot of discipline.'