The German mediafund lobby group Bundesverband PrivatkapitalFilm & Medien (BPFM) has entered the debate onthe future of film financing in Germany as the Angela Merkel administrationprepares to unveil a new financial instrument by July 1.

In a ten-pointplan, BPFM managing director and media lawyer Robert Strassercalled for "a practical regulation which enables German productions tohave access to private capital, motivates the investors' readiness to takerisks and, at the same time, ensures for sustainable location and industryeffects."

Since the CDU/CSU-SPD's CoalitionAgreement from November 2005 had clearly committed to provide German cinemawith access to private capital, Strasser argued thatit would be "incomprehensible that the German film and media industryshould now be denied the chances of financing via tax incentives from which Hollywood studios have profited for years".

"Along withthe necessary strengthening of the German media industry's competitive power, atax-oriented 'Spend in Germany' model means that the funds invested in Germanfilm projects remain in Germany despite the initial tax exemption for theinvestor," Strasser explained, adding that suchan incentive model would generate more employment and additional trade, income,and corporation tax revenues for the taxman.

"German taxlaw should in future expressly specify and regulate the possibility of a 100%write-off in the year of production for investments in German flims and films produced in Germany," Strasserproposed. "Only then is it possible to provide German film producers witha quick, unbureaucratic and pragmatic access toconsiderable production funds."

He suggestedthat "a practical investor model for Gemancinema" would also requires a "harmonisation" with the publicfilm funds as part of a public-private partnership, in particular concerningthe revenue corridors as a motivation for the private investors, and stressedthat "the strict principle must apply that only verifiable expensesconcluded in Germany can be written off."

According to Strasser, a future tax model "could initially berestricted to two or three years in order to make a continuation dependent onwhether the desired effects have been achieved".

The BPFM waslaunched earlier this year as a successor to the previous lobby group Verband Deutscher Medienfonds with VIP Medienfonds,Media Fonds 1, Equity Pictures, Apollo ProMedia and the BVT games fund as members.