Future, Hamburg back tax fund

Teuton backers look to move into U.S. theaters

U.K. film financier Future Films and Studio Hamburg Intl. Production are launching a $123 million German tax fund aimed at the production of European, English-lingo theatrical features budgeted up to $36 million.

Fund will be called the Future Film Fund.

Films financed must be commercial enough to get U.S. domestic distribution, said Future Films managing director Stephen Margolis.

“We will try to leverage our Anglo-German strategic alliance to produce European films made for the international market,” SHIP head of production Stuart Pollok said.

Up to 20% of the fund may be spent on TV production.

Future will manage the fund; SHIP will serve as the fund’s exclusive creative and production services adviser and rep the fund in L.A., through L.A.-based Pollok.

The fund also will take advantage of SHIP’s production capabilities. SHIP’s parent company, Studio Hamburg, operates production facilities in Hamburg and Berlin. It also has a sister German distribution company, Telepool.

The new fund represents part of Future Films’ diversification from its U.K. base and financing activities, which also involves Future increasing its clout as a production services provider, Margolis said.

Despite a volatile and tightening regulatory context, German tax funds still raise a large amount of money — $2 billion in 2003 — playing off Germany’s singular intellectual property rights and private partnership structures.

Future and SHIP will tap further sources of production coin from the U.K. and Germany to co-finance films on a project-by-project basis.