Bayerischer Rundfunk increases contribution

BERLIN — While the flailing economy has forced some European film subsidies to slash their budgets or reduce spending, Bavarian regional funder FimFernsehFondsBayern (FFF) announced on Monday that it was increasing its annual budget by some E350,000 ($450,967).

The increase comes by way of pubcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk — the FFF’s second biggest shareholder after the state of Bavaria — which is upping its contribution by 11.34% to $4.4 million a year. The FFF’s total annual budget will increase from its current $35.57 million to more than $36 million.

Bayerischer Rundfunk’s move follows a similar increase earlier this year by the Bavarian state government and, last year, by pubcaster ZDF.

The FFF has recently backed such international productions as Kevin Reynolds’ upcoming comedy “Learning Italian,” starring Kevin Costner, which received a combined $1.4 million from the org and the Bavarian Bank Fund, and Roland Emmerich’s William Shakespeare drama “Anonymous,” which was granted nearly $260,000 in support.

The FFF is the third-largest regional funder in Germany after the Filmstiftung NRW in North Rhine-Westphalia, which has an annual funding budget of some $46 million, and the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, which last year upped its budget by $1.3 million to $37.2 million.

Germany’s combined federal and regional film and cultural subsidies amount to some $475 million a year, making it the envy of many of its less fortunate European neighbors.

In July, the British government announced plans to ax the U.K. Film Council as part of a cost-cutting drive, while in May, Spain’s national film funding board, the Instituto de la Cinematografia y de las Artes Audiovisuales, was forced to halve the maximum subsidy coin local movies can receive due to governmental austerity cuts.

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