The United Artists' production of Bryan Singer's WWII drama Valkyrie - which begins shooting in Berlin and Babelsberg from July 18 - is the second international film after Speed Racer to be granted support from the German Federal Film Fund (DFFF) greater thaan the cap of $5.4m (Euros 4m).

The co-production with Studio Babelsberg will receive $6.5m (Euros 4.8m) - Speed Racer was allocated $12m (Euros 9m) - by an advisory committee which convenes when applications are made for support over the fund's cap. The fund was created by State Minister for Culture Bernd Neumann from January 1, 2007.

In an ironic twist, news of the DFFF decision had been preceded by comments made by Neumann to the German press about the refusal of the Federal Ministry of Finance to grant a shooting permit to the Valkyrie production team for the Bendlerblock in Berlin.

This is where Claus Graf Stauffenberg (to be portrayed in the film by Tom Cruise) had planned the assassination plot against Adolf Hitler in July 1944 and where he was put before a firing squad in the block's courtyard after the plot failed.

Speaking to Welt Online, Neumann said: 'I can understand that a director likes most of all to work at authentic places. But the Bendlerblock is also a memorial. The dignity of this place can be violated by a film's shooting even if this is not intended by the film team. Therefore, I consider the decision taken to be correct, especially as Studio Babelsberg - co-producer of the film - has outstanding possibilities for reconstructing the settings true-to-detail.'

However, in 2003, the German TV director Jo Baier had been granted a permit to shoot on the historical site for his own two-parter Stauffenberg which had Sebastian Koch, from The Lives Of Others, in the lead.

Over the past week a controversial debate had been waged in the German media about the casting of Tom Cruise, a member of the Scientology Church, as Stauffenberg and the production's attempts to obtain shooting permits at the Bendlerblock and a police precinct building in Kreuzberg.

In an article for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Oscar-winning German director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck had suggested that by taking on the role of Stauffenberg, Cruise would 'cast his superstar light on this rare brilliant moment in the darkest chapter of our history. Through this alone, he will do more to promote the image of Germany than ten football world championships could have done.'

An online vote by visitors to FAZ.Net to the questions 'Should Tom Cruise play Count Stauffenberg'' had shown that 27.69% believed that Cruise's private views should not play any role, followed by 27.37% who answered 'No, a Scientologist should not be allowed to play a resistance fighter', and 14.49% arguing 'No, he is too bad an actor.'. Contrary to von Donnersmarck's view, only 7.41% believed that the film 'would improve Germany's reputation.'