German production recovering from crunch

$87 mil handed out in 2009 as local shoots take off in 2nd half

COLOGNE, Germany – After a shaky start, German film production ended strong in 2009.

According to figures released Monday by the German federal film fund (DFFF), some 104 features qualified for the DFFF's tax credit system for film shoots. The number is up slightly on 2008 figures and is a good measure of the overall health of the production sector as virtually all films shooting in Germany apply for DFFF funding.

The majority of productions -- 77 -- applied in the second half of the year, suggesting the industry had begun to recover from the financial crunch that started in late 2008.

In total, the DFFF handed out some €60 million ($87 million) in tax credits, backing mainly German films but also major international productions including Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds" ($9.9 million in funding); Roman Polanski's "The Ghost Writer" ($5 million); Roland Emmerich's Shakespeare conspiracy drama "Anonymous" and the thriller "Unknown White Male" from Jaume Collet-Serra, both of which received around $5.8 million in DFFF backing.