Sweden's successful regional fund, Film I Vast has become the new backer of the Nordic Film Award at the Goteborg Film Festival.

The award was instigated in 1989 by local newspaper Goteborg Posten, and has been known as the GP's Nordic Award, but from next year's 25th edition it will be known as the Nordic Film Award.

"Goteborg Posten's involvement in the festival has always primarily been an exchange of favours," festival head Gunnar Bergdahl told ScreenDaily. "However, Film I Vast has been such an important factor in both Swedish and Nordic film production in recent years, a development we have been fortunate to follow first hand, which is why they are perfect as collaborators and backers of our major award."

Eight new Nordic features will compete for the Nordic Film Award, worth $9,400 (SKR100,000) as well as the Filmraeven statue. Last year's winner was Knut Erik Jensen's Norwegian documentary Cool And Crazy.

The Goteborg Film Festival recently split with Canal+, which had been its main sponsor since 2000. Canal+ had backed the festival with $47,000 (SKR500,000), but the deal fell though this summer, when the festival asked for an increase in funding for the upcoming 25th anniversary, and Canal+ instead reduced its sponsorship offer.

"We continue to have good working relationships with our other sponsors like Volvo and Kodak" said Bergdahl. The popular Goteborg Festival gets backing from the local municipality as well as the Swedish Film Institute, but relies on ticket sales for the bulk of its income.

Next year's event will include the Swedish Film Awards (Guldbagga), in recognition of both the festival and the region, which also houses Film I Vast. This will be only the second time in the Swedish Film Institute award's history (the first was in 1962) that the ceremony isn't held in Sweden's capital Stockholm.

The 25th edition of the Goteborg Film Festival runs from January 25 - February 4, 2002.