The expected unveiling at this year's Cannes Film Festival of Andrzej Wajda's Post Mortem will also serve as the international launch party of Poland's generous but still largely unknown new film fund.

Wajda, whose Man Of Iron won the top prize at Cannes in 1981, will be among the dozens of Palme d'Or winners invited by the festival to the Croisette this year for its 60 th anniversary celebrations.

His new film is a deeply personal project about the massacre of 22,000 Polish officers (among them, Wajda's own father) in the woods near Katyn, Russia, and Kharkhov, Ukraine in 1940.

The $5.4m Polish-French co-production received $2m of its budget from the Polish Film Institute, the body that was established last January to administer the newly-introduced Polish audiovisual fund.

Wajda's film, in fact, will be among the first completed films to have benefited from the 100m Zloty ($33.6m) annual fund, making Post Mortem the international flag-bearer of Poland's intent to be the one of Europe's top co-production partners.

As in the neighboring Czech Republic, the fund allows Polish beneficiaries to partner with foreign production companies and still qualify for support.

But despite the hefty sums on offer, the film fund has yet to attract the same worldwide attention that some other tax-driven incentives have in countries such as Hungary.

'I don't think the international production community has taken notice of this yet,' acknowledged Dariusz Gasiorowski, head of drama production at the ITI Group's TVN network at this week's European Film Finance Conference here in Berlin. 'But we will start to see the first effects of this fund quite soon'

The fund provides grants to support all stages of production, distribution and promotion of films that are relevant to Polish and European culture, including the production of films by Polish expatriate centres.

As a country with a population of 40m, Poland could develop into one of the biggest film markets in Europe. A long cinematic legacy, a deep talent pool and a highly-motivated collection of crews that have honed their experience from the recent boom in local TV drama, only adds to its untapped potential, suggested Gasiorowski.