NRW investigates coin behind B.O. hit

BERLIN — Regional film subsidy board Filmstiftung NRW has launched a probe into the financing of Tom Tykwer’s B.O. hit “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” in connection with the ongoing investigation of jailed producer and fund operator Andreas Schmid and his VIP Medienfonds.

Filmstiftung NRW provided E750,000 ($943,000) in funding for the $63 million Constantin Film production. VIP was among additional sources of financing for the film.

According to Munich prosecutors investigating Schmid, VIP had officially put up $31 million of the pic’s budget, but financing figures registered with the Filmstiftung NRW put VIP’s contribution at only $5 million.

Filmstiftung NRW is looking to clear up the disparity and has hired an auditor to examine the movie’s financing structure.

Constantin production exec Martin Moszkowicz said details of the “Perfume” financing had been provided in full to the subsidy org.

The discrepancy could bolster the case against Schmid and VIP. Prosecutors allege VIP defrauded investors who believed they would get a tax break by not placing investments directly in film production but keeping the money with banks in order to secure attractive investment guarantees. Prosecutors argue that violated the law.

One of Germany’s biggest funds, VIP mainly bankrolled Hollywood pics such as “All the King’s Men,” “Lord of War,” “Ask the Dust” and “The Upside of Anger.” Company has had huge success with its few German productions, such as 2004′s “Seven Dwarfs” and “Perfume,” which has grossed $40 million and remains high on the box office charts.

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