Austria fast-tracks tax scheme

Modeled on Germany’s Federal Film Fund

BERLIN -- Austria, still basking in the glow of Golden Globe wins for Vienna natives Christoph Waltz and Michael Haneke, has fast-tracked a scheme designed to provide €5 million ($7 million) initially in funding annually for features that shoot in the country.

The Austrian fund, modeled on Germany's Federal Film Fund (DFFF), will launch in July, pending approval from the European Commission.

To qualify for the funding a project -- an Austrian or an international co-production -- has to spend at least 25% of its production budget on film-related services in the country. This may be reduced to 20% for bigger features.

Funding is capped at 25% of a film's Austrian production costs or 15% of the fund's annual budget.

Austria hopes the scheme will bolster its local industry, which has always punched above its weight in terms of international awards but struggles with a chronic lack of funding. Vienna is also counting on the new fund to bring in more international productions.

The fund plans to hand out a further €7.5 million ($10.6 million) from 2011-2012.

The Austrian film industry trade association FAFO estimates that the fund could back some 20-30 films year.