Country Focus: Germany
DFFF allocates €17.7m to 23 projects in first semester
by Bénédicte Prot
- In the first half of 2009, German national film fund DFFF (Deutsche Filmförderfonds), which began operating on January 1, 2007, allocated €17.7m to 23 film projects and generated €101.4m of expenditure on German territory.
These positive effects on the industry have also resulted in a significant market share for domestic films. Moreover, five out of the six German titles to have exceeded 1m admissions during the first six months of 2009 received backing from the DFFF.
It should also be noted that three international co-productions presented in competition at Cannes were supported by the fund: Inglourious Basterds [+see also:
film profile], The White Ribbon [+see also:
interview: Michael Haneke
film profile] and Antichrist [+see also:
interview: Cannes 2009 Lars von Trier
Minister of Culture Bernd Neumann, who set up the DFFF, believes the fund is partly responsible for Germany’s renewed popularity among foreign producers. The grants awarded this year bear this out: nine of the 23 projects (18 features, four documentaries and one animated film) supported in the first half of 2009 are major co-productions, including Roman Polanski’s new work, The Ghost (€3.5m in backing).
Among the local productions financed by the DFFF are Til Schweiger’s ZweiOhrKüken ("Chick With Two Ears"), the sequel to his box-office hit Rabbit Without Ears; Detlev Buck’s new film, Same Same But Different (see news); and Peter Timm’s tragicomedy Liebe Mauer (“Dear Wall”), about Germany on the eve of reunification (see news).
Due to the crisis and current discussions about the film financing law, compared to the first semesters of 2007 and 2008, the number of films supported and the amounts allocated have decreased and certain projects have been postponed. However, demand remains high: in the last two months alone, the DFFF has received over 20 applications representing a total of €17m.
During its first two years, 2007 and 2008, the national fund headed by Christine Berg completely spent its annual budget of €60m (a total of €118.5m was granted to 198 productions, generating €752m of expenditure on German territory, i.e. six times more than the sum invested). These strong results have, moreover, led to the scheme’s renewal for a period of three years (until 2012).