Teuton fund org in Gotham

Film fund takes advantage of tax break

BERLIN — With Germany’s government aiming to shutter film funds, David Groenewold’s media fund company German Film Prods. has set up shop in New York to take advantage of the new federal tax break for independent film producers.

His National Film Fund will back English-language features and TV projects.

Groenewold said he’s had the idea of “expanding into the U.S. and raising American money for American films” for some time.

The plan solidified after last’s year’s corporate tax bill was signed into law, providing a sweeping tax break for filmmakers and an incentive for financiers to invest in indie films.

“The U.S. government has shown itself to be much more flexible than Germany’s government,” Groenewold said. “The main goal is to stop the flow of money to Canada and to create an incentive for the domestic film industry.”

Groenewold speeded up the NFF’s launch as Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s Cabinet approved a tax-reform bill earlier this month that would stamp out tax-driven investment vehicles such as film funds.

While Germany’s parliament has yet to review the draft law, the Teutonic fund industry is in limbo.

Groenewold and other German fund execs may get the last laugh, however.

Schroeder’s ruling SPD party was defeated in state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia on Sunday and may be forced to hold a federal election in September.

“The cards could get reshuffled, and it’s possible that the funds won’t be shut down after all,” Groenewold said.

NFF will start marketing its fund in the U.S. this summer. Teutonic fund exec Andreas Schmid of VIP Medienfonds has offered his assistance.

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