Cinema Verite, a major new initiative to promote socially-conscious cinema, was launched in Cannes yesterday at a press conference attended by Queen Noor Of Jordan and Bianca Jagger among others.

The company, founded and managed by Paris-based documentary film-maker Joel Soler, will encompass a year-round foundation, a film fund and an October event in Paris and Monaco which will encourage, promote and assemble film-makers concerned with highlighting social and humanitarian issues in their work. The organisation has also bought an exhibition space in the Bastille, in Paris.

The October meeting - dubbed Rencontres Internationales - will focus on the issue of landmines and cluster bombs and will honour 1997 Nobel Peace Prize winner Jody Williams as honorary president, Lois Jenson, the inspiration for the film North Country, and Carla Del Ponte, the chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague. It will take place in Monaco from Oct 10 to 11 and continue afterwards in Paris from Oct 12 to 14.

Among films already confirmed are Rory Kennedy's Ghosts Of Abu Ghraib, Marcel Schupbach's film about Carla Del Ponte Carla's List and actress Marianne Denicourt's directorial debut, a documentary about children in Afghanistan.

Among the film-makers who have pledged their support to the organization are Danis Tanovic, Radu Mihaileanu and Nabil Ayouch, who were all present yesterday, and Kennedy, Siddiq Barmak, Niki Caro, Jan Kounen, Hany Abu-Assad, Krzyzstof Zanussi, Eytan Fox, Shekhar Kapur, Claude Miller, Coline Serreau and Elie Chouraqui.

'Cinema plays a pivotal role in shaping our understanding of the world and of ourselves,' said Queen Noor at the event. 'I have seen both the best and the worst of the impact of film and media.'