Austria joins the ranks of countries offering production perks

Austria has opened its €20 million ($26 million) film fund, making it the latest European country to introduce a national incentive to support and encourage local and international production.

Modeled after Germany’s successful $80 million-a-year Federal Film Fund (DFFF), the Austrian model is available immediately to local films and documentaries as well as international co-productions and co-financing deals involving an Austrian partner.

Known as Film Location Austria, the fund will initially operate through the end of 2012.

To qualify, films must spend at least 25% of total production costs in Austria. Financial support for any production is either capped at 25% of all eligible production expenses, or at 15% of the annual Film Location Austria budget.

Austria’s federal development bank AWS will review applications from producers, while the national film commission conducts a “cultural test” based on international criteria and mandated by the European Union.

As in Germany, the test follows a point system taking into account cultural and economic factors.

“Film Location Austria provides, for the first time, financing support on a federal level which is based on objective economic criteria instead of more subjective decisions by a committee or jury,” said federal minister of economics Reinhold Mitterlehner, who authorized the fund.

The new incentive comes in the wake of recent international successes for Austrian films and high-profile productions shot on location in the country, including Tom Cruise starrer “Knight and Day,” the Ken Follett miniseries “The Pillars of the Earth,” “Season of the Witch,” with Nicolas Cage, and Bond movie “Quantum of Solace.”

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