German public film funding body, the Kuratorium of Young German Cinema, is facing a 12% budget cut, which it claims could jeopardise its future existence.

The Wiesbaden-based fund has played a key role in the last 35 years in launching of the careers of German film-makers such as Roland Emmerich, Wim Wenders, Rosa von Praunheim, Jan Schuette and Werner Herzog.

The 16 German federal states' culture ministers intend to reduce the institution's 2001 budget by $86,000 (DM200,000) to around $644,000 (DM1.5m), less than half the amount it received when launched in the mid-1960s.

The Kuratorium's council and board have threatened to resign, unless the culture ministers decide at their next meeting on December 7 to throw out the proposal.

"This decision [by the culture ministers] has gone beyond what can be tolerated by the institution, its decision makers and the film industry," the Kuratorium said in a statement. "A sensible funding practice is no longer possible on this basis".