Prodco scores Victory over Teuton taxmen

Film company offers investors producer roles

BERLIN — Victory Media has come up with a way to please feisty government lawmakers who want to curb private investment media funds that provide tax shelters for high-earning Germans and funnel billions in potential tax money to Hollywood.

Recent drafts of possible new legislation no longer treat high-earning film fund investors as producers but as acquirers of product. This severely limits their ability to write-off overhead expenditures unless they can prove they are, indeed, honest-to-goodness producers.

So Victory is turning investors into producers in its latest MultimediaFonds 23, which aims to raise by September up to $81 million for TV projects including historical minis and long-running TV series.

Victory will hold its first meeting in September, inviting investors to discuss and choose upcoming projects and to vote on things like directors, casts and even insurance providers.

“Investors will be given a list of directors and a list of stars to choose from,” says Steffen Aumueller, Victory’s head of sales and marketing. “If they are not sure, we advise them.”

Victory raises equity capital to finance projects produced with Italian partner DeAngelis Group. Their latest slate includes Victory’s first venture into cinema, Cuban jazz pic “Sons of Buena Vista,” a fictional follow-up to Wim Wenders’ 1999 documentary hit “Buena Vista Social Club,” which Wenders is executive producing.

Victory and DeAngelis are also producing “Hannibal” — which they aim to get onto the small screen long before Revolution Studio’s large-screen version starring Vin Diesel hits theaters — and an adaptation of Alexander Dumas’ “Luisa San Felice.” The companies’ most recent mini, “The Good Pope” with Bob Hoskins, scored top ratings when it premiered on Italy’s Canale 5 earlier this year.

Victory’s other main advantage over most German film fund operators is its focus on European productions.

Government officials have blasted other local funds for raising billions for Hollywood while neglecting Germany’s own industry.

“The capital we raise remains in Europe,” says Aumueller. “These are German co-productions.”

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