The Berlinale has cut its discounts for festival and market accreditation for next year’s film festival.

The discount for the standard festival accreditation, which had been introduced by the Berlinale for its 60th edition has been abolished completely for the upcoming 65th edition (Feb 5-15, 2015).

The regular rate for the standard accreditation of €125 - which had already been increased by 25% to €100 at last year’s Berlinale - now applies for the Nov 30 and Jan 6 deadlines.

Offers for the market badge (€250 instead of €300) or the combined festival accreditation and market badge (€375 instead of €425) see €50 being shaved off the discounts compared to the previous year (€200 and €325, respectively).

As for previous editions of the Berlinale and European Film Market, a late fee of €50 will be incurred in addition to the regular rates for any registrations made from Jan 7.

Plans for Distributors Network

The Berlinale’s newly established World Cinema Fund (WCF) Europe programme plans to create a WCF Distributors Network to encourage a greater exchange between international distributors about potential common distribution strategies and the circulation of films in the WCF Europe regions.

Speaking exclusively to ScreenDaily, WCF programme manager Sonja Heinen explained that ¨the idea of the Network is for people to make applications together. We have started with companies within a Facebook group and will now be looking to add names of other distributors interested in participating to the list.¨

A second development - aimed for the long term - will be to set up the First Look: Rough Cut initiative, which would provide online screening possibilities of WCF-supported films at advanced stages of postproduction so that producers could be brought together with members of the Distribution Network.

¨These online screenings would only be open exclusively to members of the Network and not to sales agents,¨ said Heinen who manages both WCF programmes together with Vincenzo Bugno.

¨We have the same jury and deadlines for WCF Europe as for the existing World Cinema Fund, but have now brought in one more person to check the eligibility of the individual films applying for WCF Europe.

She added that the €300,000 provided by the Creative Europe - MEDIA programme for WCF Europe was split up into €240,000 for production funding and €60,000 for distribution, and that a maximum of €60,000 can be applied for each individual project.

The new initiative can support companies from European countries participating in the MEDIA sub-programme (recent additions being Albania and Montenegro) and from WCF’s eligible regions and countries stretching from Latin and Central America through Africa and the Middle East to Central and Southeast Asia. In addition, films from countries as diverse as Moldova, Bangladesh and Nepal will be able to benefit from WCF for the first time through the extension as WCF Europe..

¨Berlinale directors¨ access to Berlinale co-production market

Wearing her second hat as head of the Berlinale Co-Production Market, Heinen pointed that the eligibility conditions will be relaxed at the 2015 edition for projects being submitted by directors who have had films screening in the Berlinale’s festival programme in the past.

¨The idea for this relaxation came, in fact, from Martina Bleis [of the co-production market team]. Then we had the Berlinale Residency where those projects were naturally presented at our event, five projects which didn’t need to fulfil the entry criteria.¨

In 2015, the co-production market will have some ¨more space¨ as the Berlinale Residency could not be held this year because MEDIA funding was not forthcoming to invite film-makers to sepnd time on developing film projects in Berlin. However, Heinen does not expect to have more than between three and five projects pitched by so-called ¨Berlinale directors¨ next February.

Another innovation for the 2015 edition will be the replacement of the country tables with Country in Focus sessions where representatives of funding bodies will be interviewed for ten minutes by producers about the nuts and bolts of their respective funding structures. 

Lasting damage to German production scene

The German spend incentive DFFF looks set to have its budget reduced by €10m to €50m next year despite the German film industry having rallied support from the good and the great to try and persuade Angela Merkel and her administration to at least retain the level of 2012.

The Bundestag Budget Committee reportedly decided in an internal discussion last week to cut the DFFF’s annual budget from its original € 60m.

In an interview at the weekend, Christoph Fisser, co-managing director of Studio Babelsberg, said that the studio had lost two US productions this year because of the announcement of planned budget reductions for the future at the DFFF.

He pointed out that the studio was currently working with Steven Spielberg on his untitled Cold War thriller with Tom Hanks, which was using the real Glienicker Bridge where spies were always exchanged between the East and the West.

If the funding is no longer forthcoming  at the same level in Germany, there is the likelihood that such a production would move elsewhere to shoot - such as the UK - and the Glienicker Bridge would be recreated virtually through digital technology.

Although she had not managed to keep the DFFF’s budget at the level of €60m , State Minister for Culture and the Media Monika Grütters said that she had however received a commitment from Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schäuble that the programme would now run past its previous cut-off point of 2017 and would no longer have any time limitation set.