Revamp eyed for German funding laws

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BERLIN -- German cultural and media affairs minister Bernd Neumann has proposed a reworking of the film funding law that regulates the activities of government-led funding body the German Federal Film Board (FFA) and Deutscher Filmforderfonds.

Most of the changes to the 40-year-old law, which was last amended in 2003, mirror changes in the industry over the past 10 years. While FFA-funded films previously could not be shown on television until two years following their theatrical debut, they can now air after 18 months. Windows for pay TV and VOD also have been significantly shortened.

The proposed law also plans to extend screenplay funding for treatments and would allow writers of at least two produced screenplays to apply independently, rather than requiring them to apply with an established producer. Money for increased screenwriting funding will come out of that currently allotted to "Referenzfilmfoerderung," a program that rewards producers of successful films by providing funds for new projects.

The digitization of cinemas also has been added as a further goal, but without a specific proposal.

The biggest and potentially most controversial change is the proposal to include cable operators and other companies that distribute cinematic content among the groups required to provide the funds.
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