Germany has installed a very well-developed film funding system, one which, in European comparison, excels on both a national and regional level.
Nationwide, the German Federal Film Fund (DFFF) has proven to be a very successful funding model. Under the responsibility of the Federal Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM), the fund is administered by the German Federal Film Board (FFA). The DFFF also offers funding possibilities to international productions, which are realized either entirely or partially in Germany.
Since 2007, the DFFF provides 60 million Euros annually for the production of theatrical motion pictures. Up to 20% of the recognized production costs spent in Germany can be refunded. Prerequisite for support is a cultural reference to Germany, as well as the investment of at least one-fourth of the production costs in Germany, and the theatrical distribution in Germany with a set minimum number of prints. Applications may be submitted by producers with a registered office or a branch office in Germany. Foreign production companies can cooperate with a German co-producer and apply for funding via the German co-producer. Support is granted automatically as soon as the project meets the required criteria; no committee decisions are necessary.
On a regional level, Germany has a comprehensive funding culture with regional institutions in almost all German federal states. With individual annual budgets of up to 35 million Euros, the regional funding institutions account for one-third of the total amount of subsidies available in Germany for the film industry. Public and private broadcasters also contribute to the budgets of the larger regional funding institutions. Theatrical motion pictures and TV movies of all genres and lengths are supported in almost all states. From screenplay and project development to distribution and sales, all phases of production are eligible for support. However, nationwide, the focus is placed on the actual production phase. Producers with an office or branch office in Germany may submit applications. Foreign producers can apply for funding via a participating German co-producer who has an office or branch office in the respective federal state. In all states, granting of support is dependent upon a so-called “regional effect”. In most cases, this means that at least 150% of the amount applied for in funding must be invested within the framework of the production in that region.