Just a week before the 59th Berlinale opens, local regional film fund Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg (MBB) has announced over $6.8m (Euros 5.3m) for 38 projects, including new films by director Philipp Stölzl, Sam Garbarski, and Leander Haussmann.

In MBB's first funding session of 2009, a total of $ 5.8m (Euros 4.5m) production funding was awarded to 20 film projects; $ 963,000 (Euros 750,000) was paid out in support distribution for 15 titles; and $77,000 (Euros 60,000) tothree titles for development funding.

An additional $1.92m (Euros 1.5m) in production support had been awarded ahead of this funding session to Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds and Til Schweiger's Zweiohrküken, literally Two-ear Chick.

Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds receives $ 770,00 (Euros 600,000) while Schweiger's Zweiohrküken receives $ 1.15m (Euros 900,000).

Zweiohrküke reunites Schweiger with Matthias Schweighöfer and Nora Tschirner from his 2007/8 box-office hit Rabbit Without Ears.

The 20 projects receiving production funding include:

  • Stölzl's Goethe! for Senator Film Produktion about theyoung law student Johann Wolfgang Goethe falling in love with 19-year-old Lotte in 18th century Weimar
  • Garbarski's Vertraute Fremde, based on the manga comic Quartier Lointain by Japanese writer Jiro Taniguchi;
  • and Leander Haussmann's Constantin Film project Dinosaurier, inspired by the 1975 German comedy Lina Braake

Berlin-based cine plus Filmproduktion, received backing for Baran bo Odar's thriller drama Das Schweigen, based on the novel of the same name by Jan Costin Wagner; and

Schmidtz Katze Filmkollektiv's partnership in the Swedish-Danish-German-Norwegian co-production of Björn Runge's epic story Simon. Maria Schrader and Jan Josef Liefers are already attached as cast.

The 15 titles receiving support for distribution campaigns, include six films screening at this year's Berlinale.

They include the Oscar-nominated The Reader , Florian Gallenberger's John Rabe, Julie Delpy's The Countess and the compilation film Germany 09 - 13 Short Films About The State Of The Nation.

In addition, development funding was awarded to three projects including Schattenkinder by the Berlin outpost of Zentropa Entertainment, one of the co-producers of Lukas Moodysson's Berlinale Competition film Mammoth.

This latest round of funding and the news of Roman Polanski's imminent return to the Babelsberg studios for his thriller The Ghost are further confirmation of the region's growing attraction for international productions.

A review of the the MBB's 2008 operations shows that a total of $32.8m (Euros 25.6m) was invested in film production in the last 12 months, generating a return of $45.5m (Euros 113.2m) spent in the region.

Kirsten Niehuus, the MBB's co-managing director commented 'Berlin has established itself as the German film capital with international standing.'

Niehuus also pointed out that the number of shooting days for Medienboard-funded productions in the region increased by 50% from 1,200 in 2007 to 1,800 in 2008.