German producer-distributor Constantin Film has double cause for celebration after being named the most successful German producer and distributor of 2006 by the German Federal Film Board (FFA) and posting the 'most successful fiscal year of its history' in 2006.

This was the third year running that Constantin had received this double honour at the FFA's 'Industry Tigers' event, the Munich company having taken top spot in both categories in 2003 as well.

The producer and/or distributor of such successes as Perfume - The Story Of A Murderer, Elementary Particles, Wild Chicks, and Hui Buh - The Castle Ghost picked up a total of $4.66m (Euros 3.5m) retroactive 'reference funding' to invest in new film projects and distribution campaigns.

Constantin Film Produktion was joined in the list of the top three production companies by SamFilm (The Wild Soccer Bunch 3) and Zipfelmützen Film (7 Dwarfs - The Wood Is Not Enough), while distributor Constantin Film Verleih's pole position was followed - as last year - by X Verleih and Buena Vista International.

The FFA's CEO Peter Dinges announced that a total of $24.6m (Euros 18.5m) 'reference funding' - $20.4m (Euros 15.5m) for 88 feature films, and $4m (Euros 3m) for 30 distributors - was being paid out this year.

In addition, he revealed that the most successful German producers at national and international film festivals during 2006 had been Berlin-based Razor Film Produktion, the producer of Golden Globe winner Paradise Now, and Wiedemann & Berg Filmproduktion, the producers of Oscar-winner The Lives Of Others.

News of winning the two Industry Tigers came just hours after the Constantin Film group had published its 2006 annual report with the highest sales in the company's history: $359.7m (Euros 270m), up 26% on the overall turnover for 2005.

TV productions generated 42% of the sales, and theatrical distribution made up 18% of the sales volume with the box-office success of such films as Tom Tykwer's Perfume and the family film Hui Buh pushing turnover here up from 2005's $31.6m (Euros 23.7m) to $63.3m (Euros 47.5m).

While Constantin's theatrical distribution arm is planning to release 15 films this year - 10 in-house and co-productions and five pick-ups - the production division and its subsidiaries have a busy year ahead, according to the annual report, with new in-house projects and co-productions by such filmmakers as Volker Schloendorff (Pope Joan), Max Faerberboeck (Anonyma) and Caroline Link (Im Winter Ein Jahr).

In addition, Constantin will be collaborating with Impact Pictures on bringing another video game to the cinema screen with Roger Avary's film version of the Atari/Ubisoft Driver game and scheduling a fourth-quarter start for the English sci-fi project Pandorum scripted by Travis Malloy and directed by Christian Alvart (Antibodies).

Perfume's producer Bernd Eichinger has his next ambitious project around the corner, Der Baader Meinhof Komplex, which sees him working with Stefan Aust, the author of the book of the same name, on the film version of the history of the RAF terrorist group for director Uli Edel (Last Exit To Brooklyn) to shoot this summer.

Also being lined up for this year is a new adaptation of the 19th German writer Theodor Fontane's novel Effi Briest which will be directed by Hermine Huntgeburth (The White Masai) from a screenplay by Volker Einrauch. Sophie Scholl star Julia Jentsch has been cast in the title role which was taken by Hanna Schygulla in the 1974 adaptation of Effi Briest by Rainer Werner Fassbinder.