Germany’s film producers have expressed ¨exceptional regret¨ at learning that Angela Merkel’s cabinet has proposed reducing the annual budget for the DFFF ¨German spend¨ incentive by another €10m to €50m in the global federal budget for 2015.
In a first reaction, the German Producers Alliance said that it welcomed the statement by the new State Minister for Culture and Media Monika Grütters that she would push in future budget negotiations for the current level of €60m to be retained.
However, the German film community had already been disappointed by Bernd Neumann’s successor earlier this year when she seem to go back on pronouncements made at the Berlinale in February to keep the DFFF’s budget at €70m when she indicated at the German Film Awards in May that €60m would be her goal.
It remains to be seen whether she has the political clout to hold her own - and the interests of the German film industry - against the desire of Federal Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble to make swingeing public spending cuts.
However, the Producers Alliance points out that, since its launch in January 2007, the DFFF has allocated grants of €420m to German and international co-productions which have generated around €2.5 bn investments in Germany alone.
¨The DFFF is decisive for the international competitiveness of Germany as a film location, provides the prerequisite for the production of international (co-)productions in Germany and makes a substantial contribution to the financing of ambitious German film projects,¨ the Producers Alliance declared.
So far this year, the ¨German spend¨ incentive has allocated grants to such international projects as Anders Thomas Jensen’s Men & Chicken, produced by Denmark’s M&M Productions and 28. Babelsberg Film, Stefan Krohmer’s German-Russian co-production Mädchen im Eis, the German-Swedish-Swiss animation feature Molly Monster, and Ask Hasselbach’s Antboy 2, produced by Hamburg-based Junafilm with Denmark’s Nimbus Film.
The DFFF has also supported two German-Brazilian co-productions:
- Ansgar Ahlers’ Bach In Brazil, which wrapped at the beginning of June as a co-production between the Producers Alliance chairman Alexander Thies’ NFP Kino with Ahlers’ own company, and Brazil’s Conspiracao Filmes; theatrical distribution in Germany is by NFP* marketing & distribution.
- producer-director Hank Levine’s feature documentary Exodus about the fate of refugees in today’s world, which is being co-produced by Fernando Meireilles’ O2 Cinema and will be distributed in Germany by Real Fiction Filmverleih. Shooting on this film began in southern Germany last week and will travel throughout Germany to Berlin next month before moving to other locations in Africa and Brazil. Backing has also come from public broadcaster WDR and the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW.
German projects backed by the DFFF in the first six months of 2014 range from Margarethe von Trotta’s Die abhandene Welt, starring Katja Riemann and Barbara Sukowa, Özgür Yildrim’s Boy 7, with David Kross and Emilia Schüle, and Til Schweiger’s latest project Honig im Kopf with the veteran actor Didi Hallervorden.