More money on tap for Austrian pix

VIENNA — State monies for film production are on the rise in Austria. The Austrian Film Institute, the main source for government film funds, will see a 20% increase in its budget next year. Over $10 million is earmarked for film funding in 1998.

And there could be more good news for the future. Gerhard Schedl, general director of the institute, said, “Our chancellor said film is an important part of politics. We are expecting production funds to continue to rise.”

The other government-funded source for production money is the Vienna Film Financing Fund (WFF), which has a flexible budget, but is expected to distribute around $4 million next year to productions employing Vienna locations and personnel.

Other changes coming into effect Jan. 1 are designed to speed up and liberalize the funding process. The size of the selection committee that grants funds is being reduced from nine members to five. And an automatic subsidy system to producers of successful films will no longer be restricted for use on the producer’s next film, but can be dispersed across several productions.

The success factor is based on a point system using criteria such as festival showings as well as commercial success, and no longer has to go through a jury process.

The minimum commercial success level is 30,000 admissions, rising to a top level of 300,000 admissions. In the past two years, only one Austrian film, “Schlafes Bruder,” has achieved a top success level.

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