Directors call for funding review

German org outraged after fall of 'Power'

Germany’s association of directors, Bundesverband Regie, is calling for a review of the $80 million-a-year Federal Film Fund following the collapse of Jan De Bont’s “Stopping Power.”

Project, which was to receive financing from the fund, folded in August after one of its main financial backers pulled out.

The association said it welcomed local support for major international productions such as Bryan Singer’s “Valkyrie,” which specifically addresses German subject matter — in this case, the attempted assassination of Adolf Hitler by German officers.

Bundesverband Regie topper Steffen Schmidt-Hug, however, questioned the reliability of “single-purpose entities” such as IM Stopping Power, a subsid of Internationalmedia, Intermedia’s Munich-based parent company. IM Stopping Power was forced into insolvency after the production collapsed.He also questioned the value of funding U.S. actioners with few cultural links to Germany.

“I don’t have a problem with `Valkyrie’ receiving $6.5 million, but I certainly do with `Speed Racer’ getting $12.3 million,” Schmidt-Hug said. “Speed Racer,” from the Wachowskis, has received more Federal Film Fund money than any other production.

“Funding must be granted only to serious companies that can show evidence of sustainable production work,” he said, adding that single-purpose firms like IM Stopping Power can be closed down too easily when something goes wrong. “The creditors are left with their debt and the investors disappear,” he said.

IM Stopping Power’s bankruptcy has hit a large number of service providers. More than 200 German and American film professionals had been hired for the production, while 1,000 locals had been hired as extras for the shoot, according to the Bundesverband Regie.

Officials at the German Film Board, which administers the Federal Film Fund, declined to comment on the Bundesverband Regie’s demands.

On Wednesday the Federal Film Fund announced that Columbia Pictures’ Tom Tykwer-helmed thriller “The International,” starring Clive Owen and Naomi Watts, has received an extra $2.46 million on top of the $5.46 million already granted because the project will be using local studio facilities.

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