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Germany to Launch Subsidy Program Aimed at Visual Effects

Germany is set to launch a new film subsidy program aimed at big-budget international co-productions and effects-heavy TV series in an effort to boost the country’s already muscular visual effects and animation sector.

Unlike existing federal-level film subsidy programs backed by the German Federal Film Board (FFA) and the country’s commissioner for culture and media, the new coin will come out of an unexpected public purse: the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, known mostly for developing and regulating Germany’s economic and energy policies.

The new program, set to launch in the fall (if approved by the German government), would specifically target big-budget international co-productions with a significant spend in Germany as well as high-profile TV series “of cinematic quality.” The funding program would favor productions that offer a particularly strong boost to employment and benefit the country’s “audiovisual infrastructure” as well as vfx-heavy projects and animated films that employ innovative technology.

The ministry did not specify the amount of money it would make available, but it is expected to announce details later in the year.

Steven Spielberg’s “Bridge of Spies,“ “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2” and “Hitman: Agent 47” all shot in Germany and benefited from the country’s film incentives. Germany-based shops such as Trixter, which worked on “Iron Man 3,” the “Captain America” films as well as “The Avengers: Age of Ultron,” already have an international reputation for high-caliber vfx.

Economic Affairs Ministry state secretary Matthias Machnig said the funding would “strengthen the innovative power of the German film industry.” The measure would not only bolster the German film industry’s international reputation but also make it more competitive, he added.

The ministry is collaborating with the local film sector to develop the new funding program, and industry reps have applauded the effort.

Alexander Thies, CEO of the German Producers Alliance, praised the initiative for specifically targeting innovative animation and vfx technologies as well as high-end series, saying it showed that the ministry understood that its commitment was also “an investment in the future of Germany’s film industry.”



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