Funds moving quickly in new German plan


COLOGNE, Germany -- Germany's new tax incentive scheme, the German Film Financing Fund, will bring in at least €364 million ($503.2 million) in new production business to the country this year, according to figures released Thursday by the German Film Board.

The fund, which gives producers a 20% tax credit on money spent in Germany for a shoot, has helped such attract big-budget productions as Warner Bros.' "Speed Racer" and United Artists' Tom Cruise starrer "Valkyrie" to shoot here. It also has backed dozens of German and European productions.

The fund has been so successful, in fact, that most of its money has already been spent. According to fund director Christine Berg, €55 million ($76 million) of the fund's annual €60 million ($82.9 million) cap already has been committed to projects, though about €24 million ($33.2 million) has yet to be handed out.

"Speed Racer" and "Valkyrie" together will account for slightly less than a quarter of the fund's total spend this year. The Wachowski brothers' adaptation of the cult Japanese cartoon received €9 million ($12 million) from the fund, while the Byran Singer-directed "Valkyrie" took €4.8 million ($6.6 million)

Some 47 feature films qualified for tax credits under the new system in the first six months of this year. A further 34 projects are set to receive funding once they begin production.