Producer Eberhard Junkersdorf, chairman of the German Federal Film Board (FFA)'s administrative council, has lashed out at German finance minister Hans Eichel for his planned revisions to legislation governing private media funds in Germany.

Speaking in Berlin at an event where the FFA distributed almost $12.7m (DM25.4m) of retroactive support to German producers and distributors, Junkersdorf claimed that the planned "media decree" being drafted by Eichel's ministry to regulate private film investment funds would be "a catastrophe for co-productions" if it is passed.

According to the proposed rules, foreign partners of German production companies would be required to send all their paperwork to Germany to be given the all-clear by local financial authorities, resulting in additional unnecessary costs for translations of documents, among other things.

Junkersdorf suggested that the finance ministry's plans are "counter-productive" as Eichel's ministerial colleague, culture minister Michael Naumann, met his opposite numbers from France and Spain during this year's Berlin Film Festival to discuss methods of increasing co-production between the three countries (Screendaily February 10/11).

"How can Europe grow together if at the same time one cuts the ground from under the feet of co-productions'" Junkersdorf asked.

His comments came as producers of four releases from last year - Asterix & Obelix Against Caesar, Werner - Volles Roaaa!!!, Sonnenallee and Annaluise And Anton (Puenktchen Und Anton) - were each awarded $0.8m (DM1.6m) to invest into new projects by the FFA.

The most successful producer was Senator Film Produktion which received about $1.5m (DM3m) "reference funding" in recognition of the performance of titles such as Aimee & Jaguar, Kapt'n Blaubar, Helden Wie Wir, Bang Boom Bang, Fette Welt and Straight Shooter. Senator also received $0.5m (DM1m) retroactive distribution support for future campaigns based on the performance of 10 releases in 1999.