Austria ups film funding by $2 mil

Boost brings year's total to $22 mil

KARLOVY VARY, Czech Republic — Austria has upped film funding by $2 million USD to $10 million USD following the first government hearing on the industry in five years.

When regional film financing sources, including the Film Fund Vienna, are added into the mix, Austria’s moviemakers are looking at $22 million in public money available this year.

While annual output remains steady at between 14 and 20 films, festival and commercial interest in Austrian films is growing: “Piano Teacher” by Michael Haneke — who has just wrapped “Wolfzeit” (The Time of the Wolf) — sold worldwide and has earned $2 million; Sony Pictures Classics has English lingo rights to Berlinale documentary entry “Blind Spot”; Venice entry “Dog Days” nabbed sales to Canada and several Euro territories; and “Be My Star” has offers from England and Australia.

Fest forging new links

At the Karlovy Vary film fest unspooling through Saturday, competition entry “Gebirtig” looks a likely pickup for Menemsha Entertainment. “Gebirtig,” which breaks down the taboos surrounding Austria’s Nazi past, is one of eight Austrian films screening at Karlovy Vary, a recognition not only of Austrian filmmaking but of a new link being forged with the festival.

Austrian producers also are reaching in new directions. The first Chinese-Austrian co-production has just finished, while Austria’s DOR Film is investing in a Czech-Austrian production for the first time.

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