German Fund that Fuels Hollywood Pix Receives Cash Boost for 2016

LONDON — The German government has reversed a cut in funding for the German Federal Film Fund (DFFF), which has given coin to Hollywood pics like Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and George Clooney’s “The Monuments Men.”

The fund, which delivers non-repayable grants to producers, was set up in 2007. It was extended in late 2012 for a further three years, and its budget was increased from Euros 60 million ($73.8 million) to Euros 70 million ($86.1 million) a year.

However, last year the government decided to cut funding to Euros 60 million ($73.8 million), and earlier this year it cut it further to Euros 50 million ($61.5 million) for 2015.

Today, the government decided to reverse that second cut and bring the fund back up to Euros 60 million ($73.8 million) from 2016.

The grant is worth up to 20% of the qualifying German production costs, according to Olswang. There is an upper limit of Euros 10 million ($12.3 million) available for each production. German producers are in talks with the government about removing this cap, according to a source at Berlin-based production services company Studio Babelsberg.

Among Hollywood productions to benefit from the fund recently was Steven Spielberg’s untitled Cold War spy thriller starring Tom Hanks. The pic also received coin from two German regional funds, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg and MFG Filmförderung Baden-Württemberg.

Studio Babelsberg is co-producing the pic, and was the production services company for the movie in Germany and Poland. Babelsberg also co-produced “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “The Monuments Men,” and provided production services for those pics.

Christoph Fisser, chief operating officer of Babelsberg studios, told Variety: “The increase in Germany’s film funding is a great sign for international film producers. The competition of different film funding systems, especially in Europe, is very strong. Thus, a reliable DFFF is crucial for decisions to choose Germany as production location and Babelsberg as partner.”

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