Country Focus: Germany
FFA reveals positive figures for 2009
by Julio Talavara
12/02/2010 - The German Film Promotion Institute FFA (Filmförderungsantalt) has given a positive verdict on the performance of the German film industry in 2009. During its annual press conference, on February 10, FFA director Peter Dinges gave a preview of figures to be published within six weeks.
The most striking figure is the market share for domestic film, which reached 27.4% of a total of over 146m viewers, a level never before achieved in the recent history of German cinema. Compared to 2008, this represents a 13% rise in admissions and a 0.8% increase in market share.
The FFA’s analysis emphasises the meteoric success of German films at international festivals, where last year they claimed the Silver Bear at Berlin, the Palme d’Or at Cannes, a Golden Globe and the Golden Lion at Venice, as well as receiving an Oscar nomination for the fourth consecutive year for Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon [trailer, film focus].
However, it’s not all good news, for there has been a drop in the number of movie theatres in Germany since 2008. This is unsurprising though, as it is part of an overall downward trend in cinema attendance. Although it’s true that the disappearance of movie theatres and seats had not overly affected Germany until five years ago, it is also true that the 4,889 screens and 858,592 seats in 2005 have fallen to a respective 4,734 and 819,320 by 2009.
The number of places where you can find a movie theatre in Germany has for the first time dropped below the psychological barrier of 1,000. These figures are a particularly burning issue considering the failure of last year’s negotiations to agree on a financing model for the digital conversion of theatres.
There seems to be no end of problems for struggling German exhibitors within a climate of optimism for the production and internationalisation of German films.