Hahn, Boll game for last round in Germany
BERLIN — Despite continuing turbulence in Germany’s badly marred film fund market, some producers are still eager to fish for funds in what is expected to be the last year for tax-sheltering private investment vehicles.
Uwe Boll’s production firm Bolu and Gerhard Hahn’s Berlin-based toon company Hahn Film have launched private funds with an aim of raising E100 million ($120 million) each.
Boll, who specializes in vidgame adaptations, has been peddling funds since 1999 for his own productions, such as “Bloodrayne” and the upcoming “In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale,” starring Jason Statham and Burt Reynolds.
His latest, Neunte Boll (Ninth Boll), fund will back a slate of projects that will likely include “Postal,” an adaptation of the Running With Scissors vidgame; “Seed,” a horror pic penned by Boll; “Breath,” also written by Boll, about the collapse of social order and the spread of mass poverty in the U.S.; “Globalization,” a similar tale of economic disintegration and social chaos in Germany developed by Boll and Philip Selkirk; and “Bloodrayne 2,” a follow-up to Boll’s latest vidgame adaptation.
The fund promises to secure investment guarantees with cash from film presales to international distributors.
Hahn’s Deutsche Zeichentrick Ersten Prods. (DZE) fund, meanwhile, is seeking to raise coin mainly for TV productions.
It’s the first fund for Hahn, whose toon features and series include “Werner — Full Throttle,” “Asterix in America,” “Simsalagrimm” and “Bibi Blocksberg.”
One of DZE’s strongest-selling points, according to Hahn Film, is the fact that TV production is less risky and more calculable than feature film production and theatrical box office performance. Company said production on projects would go ahead only when at least one TV deal had been made and when it had a positive international sales forecast for the product.
The entire fund market was shaken to its core in October by the arrest of Andreas Schmid, the now former head of VIP, one of Germany’s leading film funds, on suspicion of fraud and tax evasion in connection with VIP’s fund structure and questionable investment guarantees.
It remains unclear how big an impact the VIP scandal will ultimately have on the year-end fund business. Some observers have described Schmid’s arrest and the ongoing investigation as a lethal blow to the entire industry. Yet with new legislation aimed at terminating all tax-sheltering investment schemes coming in 2006, this year is the last chance for high-earners to get major tax writeoffs, and business might be livelier than expected as a result.