German media funds, which have raised a total of $4.3bn in the last five years, could achieve a similar volume for the year 2001 alone according to analysts, with some 20 such schemes already underway and more appearing every week.

Tax analysts are predicting a surge in German media fund investment thanks to changes in domestic tax laws, which make investing in local and foreign TV and film projects an increasingly attractive prospect. However, at the same time, there are serious industry concerns that the current level of investment could lead to a Neuer Markt-style shakeout of the fund industry.

A full analysis of this burgeoning market appears in this week's Screen International, the sister publication to

Meanwhile, yet another new German media fund is being launched, while a recently activated scheme has just announced its first projects.

First, is private media fund: Film & Entertainment VIP MEDIENFONDS 1 (VIP) set to be launched in the next two weeks. Initiated by Munich-based fund specialist Andreas Schmid, who previously marketed IN-Motion's World Media funds, VIP is looking to raise between Euro 10m and Euro 40m for two features and a TV entertainment format for the international market by the end of October.

The three projects are: the dramatic comedy Waiting For Godofsky, written and directed by US screenwriter Dan Bartolini; family drama The Harvest, to be directed by Dimitri Logothetis, which already has Franco Nero and Vanessa Redgrave attached to star; and an initial 150 three-minute episodes of the TV format Wahr Oder Falsch' [True Or False'].

According to VIP, its investment will be in projects with budgets between Euros 500,000 and Euros 20m. With co-productions, VIP's stake will be at least 40% of the production costs.

Meanwhile, another private fund: Mediability, which launched a Euros 56m scheme in May, has signed a co-production deal with Studiocanal-related TV producer Ellipse Deutschland for three animation series with a total budget of approximately Euros 20m.

The projects, The True Adventures of Baron Muenchhausen, Frog and Thorgal, are to all be completed by 2003. World sales for the three projects will be handled by Ellipse Deutschland together with its parent company Vivendi Universal/Studio Canal, with merchandising activities in Germany being handled by the Tele-Muenchen-Group subsidiary CTM Concept & Merchandising.