German producers dodge subsidy bullet

But fight with exhibitors not over yet

COLOGNE, Germany -- German producers can finally exhale after the country's Federal Film Board this week approved its 2009 budget.

The Film Board, one of the main sources of soft money financing for home-grown films and international co-productions, put all funding on ice earlier this year after a legal attack launched by some of the country's biggest cinema chains.

Although the legal battle is still ongoing, the Film Board will start handing out production subsidies again. Though no details were announced, the 2009 budget it believed to be close to last year's €70 million ($93 million).

That's good news for independent producers. Several productions were put on hold in the first quarter as companies waited to see if the Film Board would slash funding.