Teutonic film authorities have rolled into San Sebastian to talk-up today the jewel in Germany’s film financing crown, the Euros60 million ($85.1 million) German Federal Film Board (DFFF) fund.
Launched January 2007,the DFFF fund made headlines only this week when officials announced that Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglorious Bastards”and Roman Polanski’s “Ghost” would both receive DFFF coin.
Yet Spanish producers have made little use of the fund, or of German co-productions in general. Hence the DFFF tubthump.
“There are significant financial tools in Germany; Spain will soon have new tax provisions. It’s a good moment to analyse opportunities,” said Avalon’s Stefan Schmitz, German Films’ delegate in Spain.
DFFF tabs grants at 20% of a co-production’s spend in Germany. Co-productions have to pass German cultural tests. But these are fairly undemanding.
“Payments to a Spanish crew on a co-production shoot in Germany count towards German spend,” says Schmitz. To qualify, films must have a German distribution contract, and a 30-plus copy release.
The DFFF Fund is “a very flexible production finance grant which allows producers to calculate benefits, and is very open to German co-productions with outside countries,” said Andreas Pense, at UnverzagtvonHave.
“A co-production in the Berlin-Brandenburg region can qualify at for both DFFF coin and Berlin-Brandenberg financing,”he added.
Organized by German Films and the Film Board, the DFFF presentation kicks off with an Pense introduction, then the panel: “Germany and Spain: the future of co-production?”
Panelists include Peter Sehr at Teuton shingle Partisan Films, who produced and co-directed Civil War drama, “The Anarchist’s Wife,” Helmut Weber at Tradewind Pics, producer of “Das Orangenmadchen,” and Fabia Buenaventura, director general of Spanish producers assn. Fapae.
Also speaking: Zip Films Jordi Rediu, who co-produced “Wife,” and Mariela Besiuevsky at Tornasol Films, co-producer of Ken Loach’s films.
Spain and Germany have seen higher-profile co-pros: “Perfume: the Story of a Murderer,” a Constantin/Filmax production, Ken Loach’s “Sweet Sixteen,”“Ae Fond Kiss,” and “The Wind that Shakes the Barley,”even “Basic Instinct 2".
But link-ups are rare: over 2002-07, only 24 German-Spanish co-productions, according to an ICIC study.
Current co-pro equity ceilings make co-productions more difficult, said Rediu.“These have to be more flexible", he said.
Another challenge is the record for Spanish releases in Germany. “Perfume” grossed Euros38.8 million ($55.1 million) in Germany, a standout perf.
Few less high-profile films take over $700,000, though “Elsa and Fred” grossed $712,885, handled by Arsenal, an extraordinary figure for a seventysomethings romancer.