The European Film Academy (EFA) and international distributor United International Pictures (UIP) are to extend their co-operation in supporting short films.

Having last year sponsored the EFA Short Film Award, the Prix UIP at Venice - which went to Italian director Enrico Verra for Benvenuto In San Salvario - UIP now plans to back EFA prizes at up to 12 European festivals.

So far seven festivals have agreed to set up EFA-UIP prizes. In addition to Venice these are Berlin, Ghent, London, Tampere, Valladolid and Portugal's Vila Do Conde festival.

The winning shorts will win a cash prize worth Euros2,000 and automatically qualify for nomination to the European Film Awards. That is worth a further Euros10,000 to the winner.

UIP CEO and president Paul Oneile said; "EFA plays an increasingly valuable role in bringing together national film industries and promoting pan-European cinema and its film-makers. Short film has long been the proving ground for writers, directors, producers and technicians. Together the EFA and the Short Film Award are the perfect situation for UIP to play a truly proactive role."