German Culture Minister Julian Nida-Ruemelin was in Cannes Sunday to make a case for his planned reform of state film financing and improved government support of Germany’s film industry.
The goal of the reform is to boost the cultural role of German pics domestically as well as in foreign territories, he said.
There was a direct correlation between the amount of film subsidies and the domestic success of home-grown pics, the minister said, pointing to recent box office successes of British films, which have enjoyed greater support from the U.K.’s current Labour government.
While Nida-Ruemelin admitted that state support of artistic creativity could only have an indirect impact on economic success, it was nonetheless necessary to fully realize all avenues while making sure institutional problems were corrected.
To that extent, Nida-Ruemelin specifically wants to strengthen the hand of Germany’s indie producers, many of whom are at the mercy of commercial TV groups like RTL and Kirch. The culture minister has been pushing for legislative changes that would give producers greater say over films they make.
Nida-Ruemelin also pointed out the need to correct recent tax law reforms that has made it more difficult for foreign co-producers to do business in Germany, saying the complicated regulations were being reviewed. He also called for caps on the amount of German money flowing into private film funds, which raised some $3.2 billion in Germany last year and were earmarked mostly for U.S. productions.
Nida-Ruemelin took the opportunity of his visit to the Croisette to meet new French culture and communications minister Jean-Jacques Aillagon, adding that despite some political differences, he saw eye-to-eye with his Gallic counterpart on the issue of safeguarding and bankrolling national culture.