Magazine article Screen International

Germany, Italy Launch Co-Pro Development Fund

Magazine article Screen International

Germany, Italy Launch Co-Pro Development Fund

Article excerpt

Co-Production Development Fund launched between Germany and Italy; growing concern about future of German incentive DFFF

Germany and Italy have established a Co-Production Development Fund to support the joint development of German-Italian co-productions from 2015.

The Germany Federal Film Board (FFA) and Italy's Ministry for Culture and Tourism (MiBACT) are each providing $63,350 ([euro]50,000) for the Fund's annual budget, and funding of up to $38,000 ([euro]30,000) each will be awarded to ¨projects which are interesting for the German and Italian cinema audiences, but also for the global film market.¨

Apart from encouraging more collaboration by producers on joint projects, the initiative also aims to foster the creation of networks between film-makers from bost countries.

This is the fifth co-development fund to be launched by German funders with opposite numbers elsewhere in Europe over the past 10 years.

In 2005, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg (MBB) and Leipzig-based MDM joined forces with the Polish Film Institute to establish the German-Polish Co-Development Fund, and this was followed in spring 2011 by the German-Turkish Co-Production Development Fund as a joint initiative between MBB, Film Fund Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein (FFHSH), Turkey's Ministry of Culture and Istanbul Film Festival's ¨Meetings On The Bridge.¨

And last month saw FFHSH sign an agreement with the Danish Film Institute for a German-Danish Co-Production Development Initiative to support the joint development of up to three fiction feature projects per year from 2015.

However, the German-Russian Co-Development Fund, which had been unveiled in June 2011 by the FFA, MBB and MDM with the Russian Cinema Fund, was terminated by the Russian Federation's Ministry of Culture at the end of 2013 as part of the reorganisation of its film funding activities.Government plans for DFFF incentive

A study commissioned by German producers from Roland Berger Strategy Consultants has pointed up the potentially negative effects of the German coalition government's plans to reduce the annual budget of the DFFF incentive from $ 76m ([euro] 60m) to $ 63.35m ([euro] 50m) from 2015.

In their introduction, the study's authors explained that the study aimed ¨to de-emotionalise the discussion about the funding of German feature film production through an objective economic reflection.¨

Comparing the DFFF with fiscal incentives operating in Canada, the UK, the US federal state of Georgia and Hungary, the Berger study highlighted several major competitive disadvantages posing a challenge for the DFFF.

The DFFF's current fixed annual budget of $ 76m ([euro] 60m) is relatively modest compared to Canada ($ 291.4m/[euro] 320m), the UK ($ 320.5m/[euro] 253m) or Georgia ($ 139.3m/[euro] 110m), while the German incentive's ¨cap¨ of $ 5m ([euro] 4m) per project (or $12.6m/[euro] 10m in exceptional cases) makes the territory less attractive for big-budget interational productions when they can access double-digit incentives elsewhere without any cap.

Moreover, the fact that the level of the DFFF's budget is subject annually to the whims of politicians in the German Bundestag results in potential German co-producers being unable to offer international producers any secure long-term planning for projects.

Decrease or increase

The study's authors played out four different scenarios to illustrate the the potential effects on the level of feature film production in Germany from a 10% or 50% reduction - or increase - in the DFFF's budget.

Based on statistical analysis and an online questionaire, among others, the study suggested that a 10% cut in the $ 76m ([euro] 60m) budget could mean the overall production volume in Germany falling by up to $ 62m ([euro] 49m).

Experts interviewed suggested that international co-productions would likely be the ones to avoid Germany ¨ as these can often react much quicker to changes in funding conditions than purely German productions. …

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