COLOGNE — TV movies made in Germany have drawn level with Hollywood movie fare in terms of auds, but they are still struggling for the image they deserve with broadcasters, producers opined at the Medienforum NRW confab in Cologne.
“German producers are underpaid,” said Nico Hoffmann of event movie production shingle Teamworx, “and we need new perspectives for financing, as state support is going down.”
He said each 30-second commercial during the first TV airing of “The Lord of the Rings” cost $90,000, whereas domestic disaster drama “Sturmflut” got a 12% higher market share but had much lower ad prices. This imbalance has started a debate at broadcaster RTL, which put some $5 million into the pic’s production, Hoffmann said.
“The airing of a Hollywood blockbuster these days often doesn’t cash in on the value paid for it,” said Jan Mojto of Eos/Beta Film. Although prices have come down from the record sums paid at the time when he used to negotiate for Kirch Group, he said, he believes they are still too high.
The role of broadcasters as financiers has its downside when it comes to the export potential of local pics that webs can air over long periods, said Leopold Hoesch of shingle Broadview. “The rights should be given back to producers to handle — then we could have a lively market.”
“Sturmflut,” a drama about the Hamburg flood of 1962, has seen sales abroad, as have many other productions from Teamworx and Beta. “What we’ve learned from the Americans is how to treat themes to make them work abroad,” Mojto noted.
In the case of “Sturmflut,” he said, he had edited out historic references unknown to foreign viewers.
The reduction of public money was a recurring theme also at the confab’s Film Congress, set up by Filmstiftung NRW. The body has just been stripped of more than $3 million, some 20% of the support granted by the state North Rhine Westphalia thus far.
In reaction to that move, the state’s prime minister, Jurgen Ruttgers, was met by protesting film students at the confab’s opening.