Teutons won’t turn off coin for TV

Tube titles often morph into bigscreen releases

MUNICH — Germany’s public film funding bodies are unlikely to stop giving coin to TV productions, said industryites at the Munich Film Festival, which ended Saturday.

Filmstiftung NRW, one of the country’s largest funds, was attacked for giving the lion’s share of its latest allocation round in June to a TV event movie, and critics argued that such a policy did not serve artistic merit.

While not denying the economic emphasis, Nikolaus Prediger of Munich-based fund FFF Bayern replied that “we will keep supporting TV, provided that a production has the perspective of selling on the international market.”

In fact, publicly backed TV ventures often morph bigscreen releases.

This is the case with two-part war drama “Dresden,” co-produced by Jan Mojto’s Eos and Nico Hoffmann for pubcaster ZDF at a budget of E10 million ($11.9 million).

“One third of the budget came from public funds, but we made sure that a cinema version would be cut for the international market,” Michael Schmid-Ospach of Filmstiftung told Daily Variety, adding that “generally 20% of our budget is for TV.”

Hoffmann added that the principle worked very well internationally for his escapist drama “Der Tunnel,” and, not least, for Wolfgang Petersen’s classic, “Das Boot.”

The discussion in Munich was kicked off after maverick helmer Klaus Lemke claimed that public funding tranquilized creativity.

“Whoever gets $1 million for his debut at the age of 24, will forever remain obedient to the system and its structure,” he said.

Lemke, now 65, made some successful TV productions in the ’70s and ’80s, recently spent several years in Hawaii shooting commercial surfer films, and at the fest presented his low-budgeted video drama on Hamburg’s red-light neighborhood, “3 Minute Heroes.”

Meanwhile the fest, Germany’s most important non-competitive event, ended with, ironically, a slew of film awards.

The fest is the platform for kudos from numerous institutions, with two major prizes snatched by Byambasuren Davaa this year. The Mongolian director, Oscar-nominated for “The Story of the Weeping Camel,” won the audience award and the Foerderpreis, donated by Bavaria Film pubcaster BR and HypoVereinsbank, for “The Cave of the Yellow Dog.”

The One Future Prize jury chose Andrei Kravchuk’s “Italianetz” (An Italian) for its main prize and gave a special mention to the documentary “Re-Inventing the Taliban,” a U.S-Pakistan co-production from Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy and Ed Robbins.

The award is given by international church film organisation Interfilm for social responsibility in cinema.

The Peace Award, given in memory of the late helmer Bernhard Wicki, went to Marc Rothemund for his drama about anti-Nazi resistance fighter “Sophie Scholl — The Final Days.”

Veteran German actor Mario Adorf was given the CineMerit Award for his life work.

Children at this year’s Kinderfilmfest chose Brazilian Mauro Lima’s “Taina 2 — A Aventura Continua” for the Jetix Award.

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