Silver, Wachowski Bros. film picks up $9 million

BERLIN — Joel Silver and the Wachowski Brothers are becoming regular clients of Germany’s Federal Film Fund, which has agreed to bankroll their latest production, “Ninja Assassin,” to the tune of E5.8 million ($9 million).

The James McTeigue-helmed actioner is shooting at Studio Babelsberg near Berlin.

Last year, the Federal Film Fund helped bankroll 99 international and domestic films, including the Wachowskis’ “Speed Racer,” which received $14 million — the biggest allotment given to any film in 2007.

Warner Bros.’ “Ninja Assassin” has already received $1 million from regional subsidy org Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, which also backed the studio’s 2005 thriller “V for Vendetta,” a Silver and Wachowski production also directed by McTeigue.

The government-sponsored $92 million-a-year Federal Film Fund, which launched last year, has so far put up $31.7 million for 26 productions that are shooting or being produced in Germany this year.

Other productions benefiting from the fund include Stephen Daldry’s Kate Winslet starrer “The Reader,” which received $5.7 million; Julie Delpy’s period drama “The Countess,” which got $1.3 million; and “Desert Flower,” Sherry Hormann’s biopic of fashion model and human-rights activist Waris Dirie, with $1.9 million.

The Federal Film Board, which administers the Federal Film Fund, said Tuesday the fund has generated lasting growth in the local film industry and a noticeable increase in movie production. Last year saw an increase in employment in the German film industry for the first time in five years.

In addition, the Federal Film Fund has boosted domestic pics, which in turn have bolstered the box office as a whole.

The fund backed some of the biggest local hits of recent months, including “Keinohrhasen” (Rabbit Without Ears), “The Wave” and “Cherry Blossoms — Hunami.”

The fund also helped finance Wim Wenders and Andreas Dresen’s Cannes screeners, “The Palermo Shooting” and “Cloud 9.”

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