Peter Payer’s Where Is Little Manuela is one of five projects to be supported by Austria’s new film financing incentive Film Location Austria.

Peter Payer’s thriller Where Is Little Manuela (Wo ist die kleine Manuela), Anja Salamonowitz’s fiction debut Spanien and Ruth Mader’s documentary Leben are among the first projects to be supported by Austria’s new film financing incentive Film Location Austria (FISA – Filmstandort Austria).

Economics Minister Reinhold Mitterlehner announced that around € 1m had so far been allocated to three feature films and two documentaries which were shooting in Lower Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol and Vienna.  The supported projects – all national Austrian productions - were expected to trigger around € 5m “spend” in the Austrian film industry.

Backing was given to Payer’s latest feature film which has been produced by Prisma Film in cooperation with Germany’s K5 Film, who will handle international sales and German distribution, with Thimfilm as Austrian theatrical distributor. Starring Nicholas Ofczarek, Simon Schwarz and Anna Unterberger, the story of a dark past catching up on a young politician and his pregnant wife is described by K5 Film as a “roller-coaster of guilt and revenge, secrets and lies.”

FISA support also went to documentary filmmaker Salomonowitz’s fiction feature debut Spanien (working title) which had been shooting in Vienna and surroundings in September and October. The € 2.3m production by Dor Film with French actor Gregoire Colin, Tatjana Alexander, Cornelius Obonya and Lukas Miko follows a refugee’s odyssey after he is abandoned in Vienna by people traffickers and mistakenly believes he has arrived at the originally planned destination of Spain.

Meanwhile, Veit Heiduschka’s Wega Filmproduktion, one of the co-producers of Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon, accessed the incentive programme for Henning Backhaus’ feature debut Kinderszenen about a young band leader trying to come to terms with his mother’s death, which was awarded the Carl Mayer Screenplay Prize at the Diagonale in Graz last March.

In addition, Ruth Mader’s portrait of different people’s lives Leben, produced by KGP Kranzelbinder Gabriele Production, and Eva Eckert’s Apartment 15, a documentary about evictions and the enforcement of vacation orders, in development at Nikolaus Geyrhalter Filmproduktion, were allocated FISA support.

According to the Ministry of Economics, Family and Youth, a total of 13 projects had applied for the FISA funding since the incentive was launched at the beginning of September.

A budget of Euros 20m was made available by the ministry for this incentive progamme over the next 2 ½ years – a maximum of Euros 5m for this year and Euros 7.5m each for 2011 and 2012 - for Austrian feature film and documentary projects as well as international co-productions and co-financing deals involving an Austrian partner. (ends)