German Motion Picture Fund

The Non-Repayable Subsidy for Top-Class TV Shows and Film Production in Germany

A new funding program called the “German Motion Picture Fund” (“Fund”) is available to producers of film and television series who meet the stated criteria.The Fund has already attracted many international projects, including the high-profile TV series Berlin Station, Babylon Berlin, Amazon’s Wanted, Netflix’s Dark and Mute and the independent mini-series Credo, to name a few.

Key points of the Fund include:

€ 10 million per year, first come first served basis. For TV shows, a maximum of 20% of the German production costs with a maximum of € 2.5 million per series. Exceptions to an increased cap of € 4 million are possible. For a feature film, a maximum of 10% of the German production costs with a maximum of € 2.5 million per production. Exceptions covering 20% of the German production costs are possible. Applications must be submitted by the producer or co-producer (excludes German TV stations) who is headquartered in an EU Member State with a permanent office in Germany and who has produced at least one feature film or TV show in Germany. 

The grant of funds, like other film funds, is based on a point system and requires 40 out of 96 possible points related to cultural characteristics of production. The cultural check is included in the German Motion Picture Fund Guidelines as Annex 1. Animated films and series require 28 out of 68 possible points under the cultural check set down in Annex 2. (See Guidelines) A feature film has to be commercially exploited by the release in movie theaters in Germany and the holdback periods of the Federal Film act apply. A TV show must be exploited by German broadcasting or by VoD platforms publicly available in Germany with one German language version included for the hearing‑impaired. 

For TV series, the German Spend must make up at least 40% of the total production costs if the German Spend does not exceed € 10 million with production costs worldwide amounting to at least € 1.2 million per episode. For feature films, the German Spend must make up at least 40% of the total production costs if the German Spend does not exceed € 13 million. Production costs worldwide need to amount to at least € 25 million.

The definition of German Spend includes all costs resulting from companies or their employees and from contractors or self‑employed persons carried out in Germany and subject to certain additional criteria. Granted funds will only be paid out upon completion of production.

Christiane Stuetzle, Partner at Morrison & Foerster and IFTA Arbitration™ Panelist is a certified specialist for Copyright and Media Law based in Berlin, Germany.  Please contact her at cstuetzle@mofo.com with any questions or for additional information on the use of the German Motion Picture Fund for your projects. 

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