German Culture Minister Julian Nida-Ruemelin's plans to increase the national cinema ticket tax by "a few percent" has prompted the local exhibition sector to vow to fight any increase "on all political, legal and internal industry levels".
While German exhibitors have been vocal in their appeals for greater diversification on the part of the local production industry, they have lambasted the Culture Minister for his proposal to increase the levy on cinemas' annual turnover as a way of generating more funds for the German Federal Film Board (FFA) to invest in domestic German and European production.
The cinema owners trade association Hauptverband Deutscher Filmtheater (HDF) has now declared that Nida-Ruemelin's proposal is "out of touch with reality" and would "cut the interests of the exhibitors and cinema-goers to the quick."
Meanwhile, the arthouse cinemas' association: AG Kino, has also "firmly rejected" the increase, arguing that "television should be legally required to pay a film levy on a considerably larger scale than has so far been the case" and further suggesting that "the Programmkinos should in future be completely exempt from the film levy because - in stark contrast to the multiplexes and their Hollywood-dependent programmes - they are the only cinemas which guarantee the presence of the independent German and European film in the cinema".
These attacks came in the wake of the publication of Nida-Ruemelin's film policy paper for a radical restructuring of public film funding in Germany and a revaluation of German cinema at home and abroad.
The minister's proposals, which will now inform the future debate on the reform of the existing German Film Law (FFG) and provide the basis for discussions at the next "Alliance For Film" roundtable on December 7.