As of this summer, the Berlinale's World Cinema Fund (WCF) will be open to projects by film-makers from South East Asia and the Caucasus in addition to the existing focus regions of Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Central Asia.

'After the positive development of the WCF in the last two years, the new focus regions are an important step for the future success of the initiative,' commented Hortensia Voelckers, artisitic director of the German Federal Cultural Foundation which launched the Cinema Fund in 2004 with the Berlinale.

At the end of last year, the Cultural Foundation agreed to extend funding for the WCF for another two years - 2008 and 2009 - after the initial three-year period from 2005-2007, albeit with only $295,000 (Euros 300,000) annually instead of the $660,000 (Euros 500,000) made available each year in the pilot stage.

Germany's Goethe Institute is currently also as a cooperation partner with $131,000 (Euros 100,000) annually from 2005-2007.

Since being founded, the WCF has received a total of 522 projects from 53 countries in the focus regions, and 32 projects.