German filmmakers lobby for support

Theatrical shorts may be making a comeback in Germany.

A group of short-film agencies have joined with the German film subsidy board the FFA on an all-media campaign they hope will drum up public interest in shorts and also encourage exhibitors to screen the brief works.

“Short films didn’t disappear because of a lack of interest from audiences — but rather due to financial reasons,” says Sylke Gottlebe, topper at Kurzfilm, a federal lobby for short films in Germany and one of the backers of the campaign, along with short film agency Kurz Film Agentur Hamburg and distrib Interfilm Berlin.

Exhibs that screened short films got tax breaks through the 1960s and 1970s, says Gottlebe, but began dropping the shorts for more lucrative ads from the 1980s.

Germany’s new film law will give cinemas that regularly show shorts can receive up to Euros 1,500 ($1,927) in state support — the so-called “Abspielfoerdung,” or “unspool-subsidy.”

“It’s a win-win situation for everyone,” Gottlebe says. And indeed, the short-film campaigners have a vested interest to, uh, lengthen their businesses.

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