Country Focus: Austria
The New Film Financing Model for Film Productions in Austria
- Following notification of the financing guidelines by the Commission of the European Union, Austria’s Federal Minister of Economics, Reinhold Mitterlehner, gave the green light to the new incentive model 'Film Location Austria' (FISA – Filmstandort Austria).
Until the end of the year 2012, a budget of 20 million Euro is immediately available to Austrian feature film and documentary projects as well as international co-productions and co-financing deals involving an Austrian partner. “This creative bonus strengthens the competitiveness of Austria’s reputable film industry and enhances the attractiveness of the film location Austria to international production companies who are interested in working with an Austrian partner”, Mitterlehner emphasizes.
One key condition for supportive financing is a 25% minimum expenditure of total production costs in Austria. Financial support for any single production is capped at 25% of all eligible production expenses, or, 15% of the annual “Film Location Austria” budget.
Applications for support are to be submitted via the FISA website and will be reviewed in the order in which they were received by aws, Austria’s national promotional bank. At the same time, Austria’s national film commission, Location Austria, conducts a “Cultural Test” based on international criteria and mandated by the European Union. The test follows a clearly defined, transparent point system taking into account cultural and economic factors. “Film Location Austria provides, for the first time, financing support on a federal level which is based on objective economic criteria instead of more subjective decisions by a committee or jury”, Mitterlehner points out.
The new financing model “Film Location Austria” can be viewed as a direct consequence of the great success Austrian film has garnered internationally over the past few years. After Stefan Ruzowitzky’s Academy Award win for The Counterfeiters as Best Foreign Language Film, and the nomination of Revanche by Goetz Spielmann in the same category in the following year, highlights of the 2010 Oscar ceremony included nominations of three Austrians: Michael Haneke (director, The White Ribbon), Christian Berger (cinematographer, The White Ribbon), and the native Viennese, Christoph Waltz (best supporting actor). Waltz went on to win the Oscar for his memorable portrayal of Colonel Hans Landa in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds putting him in the international spotlight.
Austria is equally successful as an international film location: Location Austria has supported major productions over the past two years, including Knight and Day, The Pillars of the Earth, Season of the Witch and James Bond – Quantum of Solace. Stars, among them Cameron Diaz, Tom Cruise, Donald Sutherland, Daniel Craig, and their crews were enthusiastic about the great variety of spectacular motifs, the professional service and the conveniences Austria with its high quality of life has to offer. Nicolas Cage on set in Salzburg: “It’s absolutely fantastic! I love the landscape and don’t even want to leave anymore.”
FISA – Filmstandort Austria: www.filmstandort-austria.at (currently in German only)
Location Austria is Austria’s film commission. Its core mission is the international promotion of Austria as a film location and the acquisition of international productions to be filmed in Austria. Location Austria provides the first point of contact for international producers and offers a wide range of free services. At the end of 1997, Location Austria was founded as a department of the Austrian Business Agency (www.aba.gv.at), the national agency for business development. As a member of the EUFCN, the European Film Commissions Network (www.eufcn.net), Location Austria is part of a European film industry network. In November, 2009, Arie Bohrer, was appointed as the EUFCN president for a second term.