International film and TV co-production fund opens as Studio Babelsberg begins work on new backlot.

Germany’s standing as an international film location has been given a welcome boost by a multi-million euro package of measures.

This week saw the German Federal Film Board (FFA) accepting applications from producers for funding from the new €10m German Motion Picture Fund (GMPF) which was launched by the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy at the beginning of the month.

The fund will focus on internationally co-produced features with budgets of more than €25m and high-end TV series of at least six episodes with each episode budgeted at €1.2m or above.

According to Ministry official Frank Fischer, applications to the fund can be made by (co-)producers who are resident or have a registered office in Germany.

Producers could expect as a rule to receive up to €2.5m as a non-repayable grant from the automatic scheme, although the funding amount can increase to €4m for TV series if the German spend is at least €20m and there is at least €1m spent on digital services such as VFX, colour grading or sound mixes in Germany.

The GMPF is similar to the existing DFFF incentive programme in terms of procedure and criteria and can be combined with other German and regional as well as international schemes.

Regional fund increases 

Meanwhile, Bavaria’s regional fund FFF Bayern has received another €1.45m for its dedicated international co-production fund for 2016, with a focus being placed on VFX and animation projects to attract more international projects to the region.

This year had already seen the co-production fund’s budget increase by €1m, and the budget for 2016 will now stand at €4.7m, including €2m earmarked for VFX projects.

This is in addition to the €32m budget provided for FFF Bayern’s core activities of supporting development, production, distribution and exhibition.

Moreover, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg (MBB) has received a €2m increase to its annual budget for 2016 from the Länder of Berlin and Brandenburg in order to focus on supporting high-quality TV drama shooting in the region.

Recent examples of MBB’s TV funding include the fifth season of Homeland (€1m) and Tom Tykwer’s Babylon Berlin (€1.5m).

Studio Babelsberg invests €12m in new backlot set

Studio Babelsberg began construction work this week on a new €12m backlot set of four streets in different architectural style - to be known as Neue Berliner Straße - which will be three times the size of the former Berliner Straße which had played host to such films as The Pianist.

Michael Düwel, managing director of Art Department Studio Babelsberg explained that the new set “has a modular construction and can be flexibly adapted and expanded with digital set extensions and set elements into various street locations, be it New York, London, Berlin or Paris.”

“A permanent backlot set is an important component of Babelsberg’s appeal as a location and will send out a message to the rest of the world,” added studio chairman Carl Woebcken.

The X Filme Creative Pool series Berlin Babylon, which has been developed by Tom Tykwer with Hendrik Handloegten and Achim von Borries, will be the first project to shoot using the backlot.