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Production / Funding - Germany

Industry Report: Market Trends

The German COVID-19 relief fund for filmmaking increases to a total of €100 million

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The fund covers both personal risks, such as a confirmed case of COVID-19, and infrastructural ones

The German COVID-19 relief fund for filmmaking increases to a total of €100 million
German Minister of State for Culture and the Media Monika Grütters

As a result of the ongoing restrictions on the production of feature films and series during the pandemic, the German Ministry of Culture and Media (BKM) had already created a “default fund” in 2020, which was intended to cover part of the costs arising from the interruptions to or cancellations of productions. Up until now, the fund had been endowed with the sum of €50 million, but it has now been increased by an additional €19 million. Including the contributions of the participating German independent regions, the Länder, at the moment, the fund totals €100 million.

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It covers both personal risks, such as a confirmed case of COVID-19 or a quarantine order imposed on cast and crew, and infrastructural risks, such as if a lockdown is ordered by the authorities. From this year onwards, it also compensates losses and costs incurred for filming operations planned outside Germany. Film and high-end series productions with federal funding are eligible for the support. The projects must be funded either by the German Federal Fund (DFFF), the German Motion Picture Fund (GMPF), the BKM itself or the Filmförderungsanstalt (FFA), the latter being in charge of the management of the fund. Additionally, productions in receipt of exclusive funding through the Länder can ask for a subvention.

For all productions with a majority investment by the state, up to 95% of the damage incurred can be recognised, as long as it doesn't exceed the total production costs and a maximum of €1.5 million. For all productions with a majority investment by the Länder, they will receive additional support of up to €750,000 through the default fund. The same applies to those productions with investment by the Länder that are participating in the default fund, which will also receive compensation of up to €750,000. Among the participating Länder are Berlin, which adds €6 million; North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria, with €5 million each; Brandenburg, with €4 million; and Hamburg, with €3.5 million.

For international co-productions with a German financing share of less than 50%, the damage caused by COVID-19, insofar as it results directly from COVID-19-related production disruptions abroad, will be recognised up to a maximum of the percentage of the German financing share. The producer's own share is 5% of the recognised damage, but at least €10,000.

The default fund is one of several initiatives set up by the BKM to tackle the losses in the cultural sector, and especially film. With the slogan “Neustart Kultur” (lit. “Restart Culture”), and along with the filmmakers themselves, the German government is keen to support cinemas as well as distributors as soon as the end of the lockdown is in sight and new activities can be planned.

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