Source: Ken Woroner / Netflix

‘The Queen’s Gambit’

The German Motion Picture Fund (GMPF) has doubled its annual funding budget for 2021 to €30m ($35.2m) in a bid to attract more international film and high-end TV shoots to Germany. 

It has also increased the total amount a TV series can receive from the previous cap of €4m to as much as €10m, if certain conditions are met.

A maximum of €2.5m can now be allocated to series with German production costs of up to €20m and of up to  €4m for series with German productions costs exceeding €20m, while the fund is now in a position to cover up to 25% of the eligible German production costs for series with German production costs of at least €24m. The latter must also accumulate at least 70 points in the fund’s cultural test.

This could translate into up to €6m for fiction series with German production costs of up to €32m, up to  8m for series with German production costs of up to €40m, and up to €10m for series with German production costs of more than €40m.

The guidelines for films remains the same with the cap of €2.5m still in place: films with total production budgets of at least €25m can each access the equivalent to 20% of the eligible German production costs up to €2.5m per film. 

Grants not tax breaks

The GMPF allocates non-repayable grants to films and high-end TV series being produced for German broadcasters or VoD platforms accessible in Germany.

Over the past five years, it has supported high-end fiction TV series including Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit and Dark; Amazon Prime’s We Children From Bahnhof Zoo; and Babylon Berlin, produced for German broadcaster ARD and Sky.

To date, the first season of Babylon Berlin and the second season of Epix’s Berlin Station are the two productions that received the-then maximum level of support of €4m – in 2016 and 2017 respectively – followed by the third season of Dark in 2019 with €3.57m.

High-end documentary series are also now eligible to receive support from GMPF, with Gebrüder Beetz Filmproduktion’s five-part true crime series Fachdirektion 65 being the first beneficiary.

The series, which explores the new era of Hamburg’s Reeperbahn in the 1980s, sees Gebrüder Beetz reunited with director Georg Tschurtschenthaler, who was co-director and co-author of the company’s award-winning Netflix series A Perfect Crime.

The GMPF, along with the state funds DFF1 and DFF2, are the three financial mechanisms through which Germany attracts international film and TV production to its locations and facilities.