Country Focus: Germany
Speculation grows about who will succeed Schmid-Ospach
by Julio Tavarela Milla
25/02/2010 - Since the Filmstiftung NRW announced that its director, Michael Schmid-Ospach (64), will not renew his contract when it expires in March 2010, there has been much talk about who could take over the reins of one of Europe’s most influential regional audiovisual support funds, which had a budget of €36m in 2009.
The names most bandied about as possible successors are Gebhard Henke, head of the TV drama, films and series division at WDR (Westdeutsche Rundfunk) and Petra Müller, director of Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg.
According to the local press, the selection of a successor could take on a political dimension, for after the previous appointment of Schmid-Ospach, the Christian Democrats took power of the regional government. The said political element corresponds with the theories of balance between support for films for cinema and for television, and a greater attention to the balance between the economic and artistic factors that the subsidies cover. In the final instance, the Regional Minister for Media will give the green light for the appointment.
Schmid-Ospach, who previously worked as a presenter at WDR, media consultant to the regional government and president of the board of directors at Filmstiftung, took over as director of the latter nine years ago, when Dieter Koslick was offered the opportunity to head the Berlin Film Festival. During this period, the region’s film industry has made progress at least in terms of the quantity of films produced, reinforcing its strategy of internationalisation and strengthening of infrastructures begun by his predecessor.