From an initiative by the Swedish Film Institute and the Swedish Association of Film Producers, the Swedish government decided yesterday to allocate $16.5m (Euros 10.7m) for a new one-time subsidy scheme, to benefit features with a strong commercial potential.

The money comes from the budget for audience-related support, which has since 2000 rewarded local best-selling films according to their performance in the local market. After regulations were tightened in 2003, fewer qualified, so the annual $12.3m (Euros 8m) was never fully spent.

'We are pleased that the money which has so far been blocked can be released to further strengthen Swedish film production, adding to the volume. It will further contribute to the success we are currently surfing on,' said the institute's managing director Cissi Elwin.

Both Denmark and Norway have introduced similar support of features which are expected to pull in the audiences, also considering the financing-packaging of the film, whether domestic distribution is in place, as well as the filmmakers' track-records.

Distributed by the institute's film consultants, the majority of the production support is still aimed to back quality cinema. The new scheme will initially be managed by deputy director Peter Hald, who will attach a special consultant in the autumn, also as an adviser to the production department.

If a film project has already received grants from the consultants, the producer cannot apply for further money from the pools for potential bestsellers. On the other hand all films are eligible for audience-related awards if they meet the requirements.

'It is a new way into the subsidy system, which can for instance be used for more mainstream projects which have probably been refused by the consultants,' Elwin concluded. However, when the original $16.5m has been allocated, the scheme is intended to expire.