Leadingfigures in the German film industry have called for the introduction of a"German spend" as a key element in any future legislation regulating taxincentives. The move, they say, will put Germany on a equal footing with itscompetitors in such countries as Hungary, Ireland and Luxembourg.

At lastweek's media funds conference held by the Institute for Copyright and Media Lawin Munich, debate centred on the possible future of the private media fundsshould a conservative CDU/CSU administration under Angela Merkel come to powerin September.

Accordingto some sources, the conservative party has indicated that it would only beprepared to let the private media funds continue to operate so long as theyinclude a "German spend".

Speakingat the Munich conference, Marcus Schoefer, CEO of VIP International, suggestedthat a "German spend" could help secure the competitiveness of Germany as aproduction location "whether it is through the producing of German films or theattracting of international productions who shoot or postproduce in Germany."

"A 'German spend' can also be attractive foran investor - one only has to think of feature films like 7 Dwarfs or DerWixxer as well as TV productions like Das Wunder Von Lengede or DerRing Der Nibelungen, all produced with fund money and the list is long."

At thesame time, he pointed out that "the goal cannot, however, be to put unlimitedamounts into German productions, for the market must cope with the volumes [ofmoney]."

"Media funds are definitely a business modelfor Germany as a production location," Schoefer argued, pointing to the chronicunder-capitalisation of German film producers.

"On theone hand, they make German productions possible and, on the other hand, effectsand impulses are achieved through the internationally operating media fundswhich are beneficial to Germany as a location."

VIPMedienfonds' CEO Andreas Schmid noted that there was still a lot of groundworkto be done by the media funds to get the local German film industry to understandhow the funds operate. To this end, VIP is going to stage a number of roadshowslater this year to reach out to screenwriters, directors and producers.

In addition, media fund managers and representatives fromthe cinema-owners and producers trade associations are joining forces to launcha political initiative - Medieninitiative! Deutschland - to create a greaterawareness among the decision-makers in the German Bundestag about the economicpotential of German film industry and the importance of private capitalinvestment via the introduction of tax incentives.