25 Producers Divide City Subsidies For Pics

In 1990, the Berlin Film Commission downloaded its entire annual budget of 21.5 million marks ($14.4 million) to some 25 producers to stimulate filmmaking in Berlin. On Jan. 22 a further 5 million marks was handed out.

There are four categories eligible for subsidies:

* International television and video films: Product intended for international distribution can receive 400,000 marks per 30 minutes of running time. At least 50% of the production costs must be covered by pre-sale contracts with at least two distributors, one from outside German-speaking territories. Preference is given to episodic or serial productions.

* Full-length feature films: Firstrun theatrical feature-length films can obtain a credit line of up to 2 million marks.

In both of the above categories, the credit line can amount to up to 30% of production costs provided that 11/2 times the amount of the loan is spent in Berlin.

Repayment of the subsidized loan begins when the producer has recouped 50% of his initial investment. The obligation to repay the loan ends five years after the commercial release of the feature or, for tv product, five years after the delivery of the answer print. Obligation to pay interest on the loan ends 12 months after commercial release or 12 months after delivery of the answer print.

* Low-budget films: Under similar conditions, producers can obtain up to 70% of production costs for feature-length films with budgets not exceeding 400,000 marks or, for shorts, a maximum of 80,000 marks.

* Distribution funding: Feature films granted production subsidies can also obtain up to 150,000 marks to help finance sales and distribution costs.

For all of the above, every effort must be made to spend most or all of the subsidy money in Berlin. Applications are considered by The Film Credit Trust and, according to commission helmer Hans Robert Eisenhauer, take four to five weeks to process.

Most of the films financed in 1990 were European co-productions. Paramount will take advantage of the subsidy program when it begins lensing “The Innocent” in Berlin at the end of February.

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