German academy calls for less cuts

Association wants film subsidies restored

Citing the success of such films as the Oscar-winning “The Lives of Others” and Cannes award winner “The Edge of Heaven,” the German Film Academy has called on the state of North-Rhine-Westphalia to reverse a 20% cut in film subsidies initiated last year.

In an open letter to North-Rhine-Westphalia premier Juergen Ruettgers, Academy toppers Stefan Arndt of X Filme and Tom Spiess of Little Shark Entertainment argued that the success of German film at home and abroad illustrates that cinema is not only gaining momentum in Europe but also becoming a significant economic factor in Germany and in North-Rhine-Westphalia.

Local titles accounted for nearly 26% share of the market last year, thanks in large part to films such as “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer,” an NRW subsidy recipient, World Cup documentary “Deutschland. Ein Sommermaerchen” (Germany. A Summer Fairytale) and fairytale spoof “7 Dwarves: The Wood Is Not Enough.”

“There has never been as much film production in NRW as at the moment,” the Academy said, but in order for the state to maintain and further develop its film industry, it must reinstate the 20% cuts in film subsidies, the Academy stressed.

The 20% state cuts to the Filmstiftung NRW subsidy — part of a statewide initiative last year to slash all state subsidy programs in order to balance the state budget — amounted to E2.4 million ($3.2 million), leaving the org’s total budget at $46.1 million. In addition to the state, the Filmstiftung’s other main shareholders and financiers are pubcasters WDR and ZDF, commercial web RTL and state media regulator LFM.

The German Film Academy reps 928 members.

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