Films from Asia, Africa,Latin America and Eastern Europe are set to receive support for theirproduction and international promotion through the creation of the newSwiss-based Visions Sud Est (VSE) fund.

The fund, which hasstart-up capital of $424,000 (CHF 500,000), has been set up by Nyon's"Visions du Reel" International Documentary Festival, FribourgInternational Film Festival and specialist distributor trigon-film

The Swiss Agency forDevelopment and Cooperation (SDC) has made a considerable donation towards thefund which will focus on projects "dealing with subjects of importance inthe countries where they are produced and films which are convincing in formand contribute to cultural interaction," according to fund's initiators.

VSE fund manager WalterRuggle said: "Too often, films from the South and East are left out in thecold when it comes to production and distribution. Producers of such films caneither turn to only a few special institutions or must enter intoco-productions and adapt to European wishes in form and content."

Applications fromproduction companies based in Africa, Latin America, Asia or Eastern Europe canbe supported with $42,000 for fiction production, $17,000 for a theatricaldocumentary or a maximum of $17,000 for a finishing production. The fundadministrators expect to contribute to around eight productions in the firstyear and will be approaching private Swiss companies to boost VSE's budget.

As part of the funding agreement, the producers will grant trigon-filmdistribution rights for Switzerland, and the fund's three partners plan tobring their international contacts into play for promotional campaigns aroundthe world to improve these films' visibility. (

The supportedproductions will also be presented at either the Fribourg or Nyon festivals.

Fribourg is one of the leading international festivals dedicated to filmsfrom the South and East. Nyon is leading international documentary festival andmarket. Trigon-film specialises in films from Third World in cinemas and onvideo/DVD.

The backing fromthe SDC is money previously allocated to the Fondazione Montecinemaverita fundwhich had also supported films from the South and East. This fund ran intodifficulties last year and was wound up at the end of 2004.