Bernd Neumann, Germany’s former State Minister for Culture and Media, has weighed in with his own comments about the discussion on the German Federal Film Fund (DFFF) spend incentive.

Speaking in his current capacity as the president of the German Federal Film Board (FFA), Neumann said that it was ¨regrettable¨ that, ¨in spite of the DFFF’s outstanding success and the commitment of [his successor] Minister Grütters,¨, finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble could not be persuaded to retain the fund’s budget at least at € 60m for 2015.

It was learnt a week ago that the Angela Merkel administration is likely to cut the DFFF’s budget by € 10m to € 50m as from next year.

Neumann had been the political architect of the ¨German spend¨ initiative which was introduced in 2007 and has been instrumental in making Germany an attractive location for international film productions.

A current example of a major international production benefiting from the DFFF is Steven Spielberg’s untitled spy thriller as a co-production with Studio Babelsberg, which will be shooting at the legendary Glienicker Bridge between Thursday, November 27 and Monday, December 1. All traffic including cyclists and pedestrians will be blocked from using the link between Berlin and Potsdam since the location will be sent back in a time machine to appear much like it did during the Cold War as an exchange point for spies between the East and West.

Köpf to succeed Hubert in Hamburg

Changes are afoot at the Hamburg-based Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein (FFHSH) with producer Maria Köpf to succeed Eva Hubert as the film fund’s CEO from January 1, 2016.

52-year-old Köpf, who is currently the producer and managing director of Zentropa Entertainments Berlin, a subsidiary of the Danish Zentropa family, had previously been a partner and producer at the Berlin production powerhouse X Filme Creative Pool.

This year also saw her being  appointed as a board member of the German Film Academy.

Commenting on the choice of Köpf, Hamburg’s Culture Senator Barbara Kisseler said that she would be able to take up the new job in 2016 in the knowledge that the funds provided by the Hamburg city authorities would remain constant in 2017 and 2018 as well (there had been speculation in recent weeks in the local press that Hamburg was planning to reduce its commitment to the film funding programme).

There were two other film producers - Alfred Hürmer and Michael Eckelt - who headed up the Hamburg fund in its previous incarnations before Hubert was appointed to the position of CEO.

Medienboard’s Niehuus for another five years

Consistency is also promised at another of the major regional film funds with the extension of Kirsten Niehuus’ contract for five more years until 2019 as managing director for film funding at Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg.

This autumn has seen 55-year-old Niehuus celebrating her 10th anniversary at the head of the Medienboard, which most recently announced the introdcution of a media residency programme with New York to follow other artist in residence initiatives already existing with Mumbai, Guanajuato, Hong Kong, Tel Aviv, and Paris.

The new exchange programme, Berlin - New York, New York - Berlin, will take place from April - June 2015 and is being organised by Startup Germany in cooperation with Made in NY Media Center by IFP.

This week, it was finally officially announced that Berlinale festival director Dieter Kosslick has had his contract extended for another three years - to May 31, 2019, a day after his 71st birthday.

In fact, rumours that Kosslick would stay with the Berlinale until 2019 had been circulating for several weeks after an indiscretion by someone connected with the Berlinale festival.