Film producers will have access to a $64m (Euros 50m) loan programme in Germany's Saxony-Anhalt which has been launched to support the media industry in the state.

The 'Sachsen -Anhalt IMPULS Medien' programme offers locally based production companies loans of up to $3.8m (Euros 3m) per project.

The loans are set at an annual rate of interest of 9.45% over a maximum of 15 years and can be combined with other sources of finance, including international.

The programme will not only provide loans for costs such as operating costs but will also fund so-called intangible assets such as the acquisition of rights and screenplays.

Commenting on the programme, Alexander Thies, chairman of the German producers association Allianz Deutscher Produzenten - Film & Fernsehen, praised the federal state for 'leading the field once again' with its initiative.

Thies suggested that the programme would help medium-sized producers 'to succeed in playing a bigger role on an international level as well.'

Speaking exclusively to Screen Daily, producer Jens Meurer said that 'IMPULS Medien is a very welcome piece of news because it is an additional and innovative finance that can be easily combined with other financial elements, be they German or international.'

'Film needs ideas and scripts to become projects and that's why I think they [in Saxony-Anhalt] are looking ahead and investing in this to try and ensure that they will have a continuous flow of real projects through their region,' Meurer noted.

Projects currently shooting or scheduled to shoot in Saxony-Anhalt include the French-German co-production between Daniel Leconte's Films en Stock and Egoli Tossell Film Ilich: Story of Carlos, directed by Olivier Assayas.

Meanwhile, an April start is planned in the region for Black Death by Egoli Tossell Film Halle.

Egoli Tossell Film Halle is a joint venture production company established by Egoli Tossell Film and the UK's Zepyhr Films in 2008 to produce Michael Hoffman's Tolstoy drama The Last Station, starring Helen Mirren, Christopher Plummer and James McAvoy.

Black Death will now be directed by Christopher Smith instead of the previously announced Geoffrey Sax.