Swedish director Lukas Moodysson's first English-language feature, Mammoth (Mammut), which starts principal photography on Nov 5 in Thailand, has received a record $1.7m (Euros 1.3m) production funding from the Swedish Film Institute.

Gael Garcia Bernal will star in the $10m-plus (Euros 7.4m-plus) production which will move to the Phillippines and Swedish regional film centre, Film i Väst in Trollhattan, before it will be completed in New York in February.

Denmark's Trust Film Sales handles international distribution, 'but major sales are waiting till the full cast has been announced,' said Swedish producer Lars Jonsson, of Memfis Film, who has worked on all Moodysson's films. He expected to have the lead actress in place within next week.

'There has been a tremendous interest for Mammoth since the project was announced in Cannes, but final contracts for all key countries are on hold - we have only closed deals for Greece, Egypt and Iran,' added Trust sales director Rikke Ennis.

'Moodysson's Fuckin' Amal (aka Show Me Love) and Together were both licensed to 50-some territories, and they both grossed well in most places. His new film will definitely be one of our main attractions at the upcoming AFM,' Ennis said.

Moodysson's original script follows a successful New York couple, Tom and Ellen, their eight-year-old daughter and their Fillipino nanny. Their lives take a dramatic turn, as Tom - on a business trip to Thailand - decides he wants to change his life.

'It is a film about longing, in a world where were are all so close to each other and yet so far apart,' explained Moodysson. It will be photographed by Marcel and edited by Moodysson regular Michal Lecsczylowski.

Jonsson has packaged Mammoth as a Swedish-Danish-German co-production, with Denmark's Zentropa Entertainments and its German off-spring, Zentropa Berlin, as partners. Film i Väst, SVT Sweden and TV2/Danmark are chipping in.

The Swedish Film Institute will this year support local features by $36.2m (Euros 25.5m) production finance. To improve box-office performance, Institute CEO Cissi Elwin has decided to reduce the number of films from 36 in 2006 and increase state participation from 25% up to 40% of the average budget.

In 2005 Josef Fares' Zozo was allocated top backing of $1.3m (Euros 900,000) - and this year the same amoung goes to Tarik Saleh's Metropia and Ella Lemhagen's Patrik, while Svensk Filmmindustri's $30.3m (Euros 22.8m) Arn, directed by Peter Flinth, receives $1.4m (Euros 1m).