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German incentive supports record 115 projects in 2012

The German Federal Film Fund (DFFF) incentive scheme supported a record 115 projects, including 40 international co-productions and a new adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, totalling $78.2m (€58.4m) in 2012.

According to DFFF’s statistics, 80 fiction features received $65.6m (€49.2m), 32 documentaries $2.9m (€2.2m), and three animation features $9.2m (€6.9m). The international co-productions attracted $30.3m (€22.7m) and generated a “German spend” of $179.3m (€134.3m), while the 75 German productions picked up $47.6m (€35.7m) and created a “German spend” of $291m (€218m).

“The brisk demand for funding clearly shows how important the current increase this year by another $13.3m (€10m) to a total $93.4 (€70m) is for the industry,” said Germany’s State Minister for Culture Bernd Neumann, commenting on the financing instrument which has established itself as “an essential and sustainable pillar of film production in Germany.”

As in previous years, it almost looked as if the DFFF’s annual $80m (€60m) budget would be far from exhausted: at the beginning of September 2012, only 53 projects with a total $41.9m (€31.4m) had been supported.

However, the rate of funding applications increased towards the end of the year, with no less than 36 applications greenlit in November and December alone, including Christophe Gans’ new version of Beauty And The Beast, currently being produced by France’s Eskwad SAS and Achtzehnte Babelsberg Film at the Babelsberg Studios, and Fatih Akin’s German-French co-production The Cut.

Projects supported by DFFF last year include a handful of films premiering at next month’s Berlinale: the two Competition titles, Gold by Thomas Arslan and Guillaume Nicloux’s The Nun; the Panorama Special opening film Nanouk Leopold’s It’s All So Quiet; and Niko von Glasow’s Paralympics documentary My Way To Olympia which has been selected for Berlinale Special section.

The international projects attracting DFFF support in 2012 range from Bernard Rose’s biopic Paganini, starring German-US violinist David Garrett and Joely Richardson, and Philipp Stölzl’s historical drama The Physician, with Ben Kingsley, John Malkovich and Ben Barnes.

They also include Sam Riley Alpine western Das finstere Tal and Anton Corbijn’s Le Carré adaptation A Most Wanted Man as well as Tony Pemberton’s Buddha’s Little Finger and Julia von Heinz’s Love is Real.

In addition, the Berlin-based fund backed such local German productions as Stefan Schaller’s 5 Jahre about the Guantanamo detainee Murat Kurnaz, which will have its world premiere at the Max Ophüls Prize Festival next week before screening in Rotterdam; the current release Schlussmacher by actor-producer-director Matthias Schweighöfer, which was seen by around 500,000 cinema-goers in its first four days (incl. previews) last weekend; as well as such forthcoming releases as Fünf Freunde 2, Rubinrot, 3096, Kokowääh, Ostwind, and Hanni und Nanni 3.

Constantin Film Produktion’s animation feature Tarzan 3D attracted the largest single sum – $5.6m (€4.23m) – from the fund, followed by Beauty And The Beast ($4.4m/€3.32m) and The Physician ($4.2m/€3.2m).

The DFFF has supported 642 projects with a total of $475m (€356m) in its six years of operation since January 2007 and generated a “German spend” of $2.8bn (€2.1bn) thus convincing the Merkel coalition government to agree to an extension of the incentive scheme until the end of 2015 with a $13.3m (€10m) increase to the DFFF’s annual budget.

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