German Government to Boost Annual Film Funding by 50 Percent to $160M

Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival
'Toni Erdmann'

The country is under pressure to stay competitive with other European locations in attracting international productions.

The German government on Thursday unveiled plans to increase annual federal film subsidies by nearly 50 percent to $160 million (€150 million) from next year.

The financial boost from €100 million this year is the clearest sign yet that Germany, under chancellor Angela Merkel, is determined to support the local film industry, which has come under pressure from lower-cost Eastern European territories.

Culture secretary Monika Grutters announced the news on Thursday during the nominations for the German Film Awards, Germany's version of the Oscars. Maren Ade's dark comedy Toni Erdmann, which picked up six nominations, is a favorite to win the top prize for best film at the awards, called the Lolas, next month.

Under the new, boosted budget, Germany will spend just below $27 million (€25 million) for “cultural film funding,” provide $53 million (€50 million) in support as part of its tax rebate scheme, the German Federal Film Fund (DFFF), and pony up an additional $80 million (€75 million) for a new scheme, called DFFF II, targeting big-budget national and international productions.

But before German filmmakers can celebrate, they'll have to wait to see the outcome of German national elections, set for this September. It will be the new government that will make the final decision on whether the new money will flow.