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COTTBUS, Germany — Citing the success of German TV programming, Alexander van Dulmen, managing director of Kinowelt Intl., said it is possible for the country’s film industry to destroy the dominance of American movies in Germany.

Speaking over the weekend at the Cottbus Film Festival, which focuses on Eastern European talent, Dulmen also said German filmmakers should start looking seriously at Central and Eastern European markets instead of trying in vain to break into the saturated U.S. market with German films Americans are unlikely to see.

‘Huge potential’

“There is huge potential in Eastern Europe, and it could be the perfect market for German films. The great potential that exists there, however, is not only economic, but creative as well,” Dulmen added.

Not only do German filmmakers have an open market in the East, where they can release their films, but filmmakers from countries like Russia, the former Yugoslavia, the Czech Republic and Hungary could find themselves making movies for the whole of Europe with German financing.

Noting that most big German successes would never export well, Dulmen called on filmmakers to create pics with broad appeal. Joint venturesThe Munich-based entertainment group has been actively expanding its activities into Eastern Europe by seeking to establish joint ventures with local producers and distribs.

Dulmen said Kinowelt has already signed deals with distribs like Poland’s Best Film and Budapest Film in Hungary and is in talks with others.

Kinowelt recently acquired distrib rights for 11 pics, including Miramax’s “Boys and Girls” and “Hellraiser” as well as “Family Man” and “Thirteen Days” from Beacon Communications, for the German-speaking territories and Central and Eastern Europe.