German film has record year in '06


BERLIN -- German film had a record year in 2006, with local films accounting for 25.8% of the country's total boxoffice, the highest-ever share, according to official figures released by the German Federal Film Board (FFA) on Wednesday.

Led by local hits "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer," the comedy "7 Dwarves: The Forest Is Not Enough" and the Oscar-nominated drama "The Lives of Others," German films sold 34.7 million tickets in the territory last year, compared with 21.5 million in 2005.

Overall, ticket sales jumped 7.4% to 136.7 million and boxoffice bounced a healthy 9.3% to €814.4 million.

Compared to 2005, the worst year in a decade for German theaters, 2006 represents " a partial recovery," according to FFA chairman Peter Dinges. He noted, however, that last year's numbers were still well below the €892.9 million boxoffice of 2004.

"But given the fact we had the soccer World Cup in Germany this year and two incredibly warm and sunny summer months, the figures look very good," Dinges said.

Giving a further boost to the local industry starting this year is a €60 million government-run film fund that will automatically compensate projects that qualify for up to 20% of the budget spent in Germany (see related story page 26).

The fund Wednesday announced the first four films that will receive production funding. They are: Maggie Peren's "Stellungswechsel," from Claussen Wobke Putz Filmproduktion, which will get €368,000; Lunaris Filmproduktion's "Ironman" from director Adnan G. Kose, which receives €362,270; and two projects from Constantin Film, the children's animation "Urmel in Wonderland" (€1.78 million) and Leander Hauļæ½mann's relationship comedy "Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps" (€824,327).

Christine Berg, director of the new fund, said she expected a flood of projects requesting funding starting this spring as local production gears up.