On the eve of this year’s Berlinale, State Minister for Culture Bernd Neumann has signalled his support for further extension of the German Federal Film Fund (DFFF) incentive programme.

Speaking to the dpa news agency, Neumann said that the DFFF is “the most successful instrument of film funding. This is something for which we are envied outside of Germany. It would be unwise to discontinue this. And therefore I will fight to extend it for a further three years despite the budget consolidation.”

Last year, the DFFF paid out € 58.9m to 114 projects including the Berlinale competition films Unknown Identity, Andres Veiel’s Wer Wenn Nicht Wir and Alexander Mindadze’s drama Another Saturday.

In addition, Neumann predicted that 2011 would see the German cinema’s fortunes reviving after a disappointing performance last year.

“I take it that all the chances are there of returning to a market share of over 20%,” he declared. “One never ought to be satisfied. But there also isn’t any reason for frustration.”

“That is always a problem when you had a record result in the previous year,” Neumann told dpa, pointing that the domestic market share had been 27.4% in 2009.

According to Rentrak EDI, the market share for local German films had fallen in 2010 to 13.6%

If last weekend’s opening of the Warner Bros. release of Til Schweiger’s new film Kokowääh is anything to go by, State Minister Neumann would seem justified in his optimism. The romantic comedy took more than € 6.6m from 666 prints (including previews) and was seen by over 900,000 cinema-goers.