German elections deliver for local industry

New conservative government sympathetic to film

COLOGNE, Germany -- To paraphrase the title of a German political biography from a few years back: The heart of Germany's film industry beats to the left. But while many local producers may personally be gritting their teeth after Sunday's national elections -- which saw center right parties win convincingly -- for the business of filmmaking in Germany, it was a dream result.

After four years in a marriage of convenience with the left-leaning Social Democrats, conservative leader Angela Merkel can look forward to another term as German Chancellor, this time in coalition with the right-of-center, free market liberal party the FDP.

"We are very hopeful following the election results," Jens Steinbrenner, spokesman for the German Alliance of film and television producers, told The Hollywood Reporter. "The FDP in particular has always been a reliable partner of the German industry."

The producer's alliance is particularly keen on the FDP's election pledge to make the Germany's culture minister -- who is responsible for film and television policy on a federal level -- a cabinet position.

Such a boost in status could give the local media industry more political heft and make it easier for German producers to get their issues on the agenda. These include an extension of Germany's production tax credit the DFFF beyond 2012, the introduction of a French-style 3 strikes Internet law to combat online piracy and a federal structure encouraging gap financing for German productions.

Germany's filmmakers will have plenty of time to hone their pitch. Merkel and FDP leader Guido Westerwelle have just begun coalition talks. They are unlikely to form a new government before November.
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