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LEGISLATION Germany

A proposal to relaunch cinema

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- Minister calls for more money for FFA, higher contributions from German TV and easier access to funding for producers

Germany’s Secretary of State for Culture, Christina Weiss unveiled a draft proposal for a new Federal Film Promotion Law and promised to improve domestic film industry infrastructure: “To adapt the film support system to the changed financial environment”.
If approved, the document will extend the powers and the overall annual budget of the Federal Film Board (FFA) from the current Euros45m to Euros72m and increase its support budget aimed at production, to around Euros26m.
The draft also doubles the current level of financial contributions to German film production made by both public broadcasters ARD and ZDF, and Germany’s numerous private networks to film production to a total of Euros22.4m as of 2004.
State-run channels will just give cash while privately owned channels will also advertise German films and develop and air new programmes to encourage filmgoers to see locally made titles.
Weiss also announced the establishment of a new film council to be chaired by the Secretary of State for culture, to guarantee a flow of ideas and information between concerned parties.
The Weiss proposal would also make the current “reference support fund” fairer. At present a German film has to have sold at least 150,000 tickets domestically for its producer(s) to receive start-up funding on new projects. Under the Weiss proposal, which will be retroactive, the producer will be able to sum the awards a given title has either won or been nominated for, and the international events it has taken part in - each of which would be worth a pre-set number of points. This would mean that even films that did not score well at the domestic box office, manage to break the 150,000-ticket barrier and make the producer eligible for a grant.

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