Berlin Film Festival director Dieter Kosslick has added his voice to the growing chorus of industry figures calling for the private media funds to invest more in German production rather than concentrating on US productions.

In an interview with the production company newsletter ndF:news, Kosslick said that he supported the idea that "the funds are of benefit to more German productions. At the same time, the people who sell these funds must really be checked for their seriousness. Driving big cars, living in chic villas and owning big yachts doesn't yet qualify one for this task. The same is incidentally also the case for media managers."

Kosslick argued that, while there is a crisis at the stock exchange, "there isn't a creative crisis in the media industry, but rather a credibility crisis which has been created by self-appointed media experts."

Stung by accusations that they simply bankroll Hollywood films, many German media funds are now looking to invest more in local features.

Indeed, Merrill Lynch calculated in one study on German media funds that up to 15% of US production was financed by German money.

Kosslick is merely the latest figure to contribute to an on-going argument that private capital should be invested to a greater extent in local production or at least productions shot in Germany or Europe.

However, the media funds themselves have now entered the fray to try and communicate their side of the story. Verband Deutscher Medienfonds (VDM), an interest group made up of leading media funds was formed last year. It has been actively trying to change the popular image of lorry-loads of German money being shipped over the Atlantic.

Citing the example of six film funds placed in the market by ApolloMedia to produce 36 feature and TV films with overall production costs of almost Euros 500m, VDM points out that Euros 120m had been spent in Germany and another Euros 245m in the European Union.

"Wherever suitable locations can be found in Europe, ApolloMedia prefers to do the production here", VDM says. "Even US-style international blockbusters can be produced here on the same level with excellent studio technical facilities, personnel with corresponding know-how as well as internationally recognised postproduction houses".

ApolloMedia's German or European-based projects included Peter Hyams' The Musketeer, which was shot in Luxembourg, France and Germany, Michael Bassett's First World War horror thriller Deathwatch, shot in and around Prague, and Tom Reeve's Luxembourg-based family action adventure George And The Dragon.

While a fund like CP Medien has always leant towards projects that shoot in Germany or Europe - such as Enemy At The Gates - others are now following suit.

Cinerenta, for example, has stepped up its German-based development and production activities under the newly appointed CEO Marco Mehlitz and has four of its projects which could either be shot at the Babelsberg Studios or use the production centre's postproduction facilities.

Similarly, VIP Medienfonds, which co-produced German director Roland Suso Richter's The I Inside with Mark Damon's MDP Worldwide last year, is now in final negotiations to board its first German-language project.

"We want to shoot and spend money in Germany to help make the German film industry stronger and more competitive internationally," VIP managing director Andreas Schmid explains.

The VDM has also called for the media funds to commit 20% of their funds for a "German spend", as part of the ongoing debate about a revision of the Federal Finance Ministry's Media Decree.

"I'd be for 30% spend in Europe," says Rainer Mockert of Munich-based MBP, "but that would be the end of the leasing funds as nothing they do is produced in Germany."