German Film Boards Create $17 Million Coronavirus Crisis Fund

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German comedy 'Die Känguru Chroniken' was the country's number one film before the Covid-19 shutdown

The emergency funding from the federal and state film boards aims to help producers, distributors and cinema owners hit by the pandemic, which has shut down the industry in Germany.

Germany's federal and state film subsidy bodies have agreed on an action plan to provide financial assistance to the country's producers, distributors and arthouse cinemas hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

On Friday, they announced a $16.5 million (€15 million) emergency fund for producers and distributors hit by the current health crisis, which has seen a nationwide shutdown of Germany's cinemas, as well as a near-total stop on film production.

German film boards have set aside $11 million (€10 million) in emergency aid for production companies with state-backed projects who have seen shooting canceled or delayed due to the current pandemic. A further $3.3 million (€3 million) has been set aside to support German distributors that are unable to release supported titles during the crisis.

The federal film board, as well as the regional financing bodies and other national cultural funding groups, will also suspend repayment of state-backed loans to producers, distributors or cinemas for the duration of the crisis. Individual state bodies have said they will help arthouse cinemas with immediate funding or redirect planned funding to immediately aid theaters.

The moves come as Germany's government is scrambling to roll out several different aid programs to prop up the country's economy, which has taken a major hit since German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday announced a near lockdown of the country, with groups of two or more people banned from congregating in public. All cinemas, theaters, concert halls and clubs have been shut. Virtually all fiction production, whether for film or television, has also stopped.

According to figures from Johns Hopkins University, Germany has had more than 47,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, with at least 285 deaths to date.