Country Focus: France
Fresh investment for French-German co-productions
by Birgit Heidsiek
- The fruitful cooperation between the French and German film industries, the changing distribution landscape in the digital age and the impact of new global players were the key issues discussed at the 12th German-French Film Meeting (also known as “Les Rendez-vous franco-allemands du cinema”) in Leipzig, which was organised by German Films and Unifrance. “We had more than 220 participants,” reported Mariette Rissenbeek, managing director of German Films, who welcomed many producers, but also financiers, distributors and exhibitors, to the two-day event.
“It is a special honour to have Costa-Gavras here with us,” underlined Manfred Schmidt, managing director of regional film fund MDM, which attracts many international productions in the region. “The German-French Film Meeting is a great place to build up networks.” At this co-production platform, various producers found the perfect partners for their projects and received support from the German-French Co-production Fund Mini-Treaty. “As part of the Mini-Treaty, France and Germany each come up with a budget of €1.5 million each year,” pointed out Alfred Hürmer, president of the German-French Film Meeting Association, in his opening speech. Among the most recent German-French co-productions that will be receiving this support are Paula [+see also:
film profile] by Christian Schwochow, Paul Verhoeven’s adaptation of the novel Elle [+see also:
film profile], starring Isabelle Huppert, and Vor der Morgenröte [+see also:
interview: Maria Schrader
film profile] by Maria Schrader. “We are extending the Mini-Treaty by adding €200,000 in development support,” stressed Monika Grütters, the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media in Germany. “The money will be available from 1 January.”
Another boost for French-German collaboration will come from French film fund CNC, which will join forces with the German regional film funds Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, Medienboard-Brandenburg, MDM and FFF to support the development of TV series. The source of inspiration for the tandem project was Arte. “Our approach is to increase the cultural exchange between the two countries,” explained Frédérique Bredin, president of the CNC. “New TV formats, but also series, have a huge impact on the way that stories are told, through several story lines,” said Peter Dinges, president of the FFA. “Cinema has to reinvent itself.”
“Broadcasters should support European films editorially,” underlined Jean-Paul Salomé, president of Unifrance. “Many of us worry about the global players that are entering the European market.” German producer Florian Koerner von Gustorf, who, together with his Berlin-based production outfit Schramm Film, has staged titles by Christian Petzold, such as Barbara [+see also:
interview: Christian Petzold
film profile] and Phoenix [+see also:
interview: Christian Petzold
film profile], explained why he won’t be exhibiting his movies on VoD: “The number of films on the web is growing, but there is less money left per film,” remarked the producer. “Netflix pays a maximum of €10,000 for 18 months for a movie with a budget of €2 million or €3 million.” In contrast, ZDF invested €700,000 in Barbara. “We are going to work with TV over the next few years and won’t be dealing with VoD at all, because we don’t want to devalue our films,” he underlined. “The problem is that we have too many movies,” concluded Costa-Gavras. “Europeans should create a common online platform for European films.”
Lastly, according to a new study by German film expert Josef Wutz, the worldwide market share of European films has been shown to be just 2%.
The next German-French Film Meeting will take place in November 2015. “We will probably meet in a beautiful city in the south of France,” hinted Hürmer.