Rettet die Filmkultur! (Save the film culture!)

In cooperation with eight interest groups, as the "Zukunft Deutscher Film" initiative, we have drafted a position paper on the FFG amendment 2022.

The upcoming amendment of the German Federal Film Funding Act (FFG) has triggered a film policy debate that, in many respects, differs from the previous ones. Many factors are leading to ever louder calls for fundamental reforms: The declining number of cinema-goers, the persistently weak presence of German films at international festivals and the continued and hardened structures, which are expressed in a lack of artistic daring and diversity. The Frankfurt Positions on the future of German film, the founding of the Hauptverband Cinephilie and the Association of the - increasingly important - Film Festivals as new initiatives are some of the visible signs of a strong common desire for renewal.

In order to give their demands more weight, these new initiatives have joined forces with a number of existing associations to produce a joint paper, which we hereby present to you. The political positions concern the FFG and deliberately go beyond it. We call on all political decision-makers at a federal, state and local level to join forces and act now.

A culture-creating film policy must not be limited to debates on articles, which are conducted every five years in a ritualized manner. What is at stake today is the future of cinema as a widely distributed art form, as a special way of looking at the world and as a practice of the shared experience of art.

In order to overcome the "consensus-oriented German committee film" (Edgar Reitz) in favour of new films of all lengths and formats that are artistically strong and thus also economically profitable, a greater commitment by individual funding institutions to the respective films, clear rules for diversity and a socially acceptable remuneration of filmmakers in all areas is required - namely no more and no less than an adaptation to the altered social reality of this country.

Many of us have formulated our respective views in our own statements. Together, we demand as the most important measures for the culture of cinema - within the FFG and beyond:

1. Basic principles of film funding: equal opportunities, diversity and sustainability:

  • Significant strengthening of the artistic criteria for funding
  • Unification of regional and federal funding guidelines
  • Revision of the decision-making procedures and criteria as well as the composition and rotation of the committees in the interest of transparent, diverse, gender-equitable, artistic and thus sustainable film funding
  • Recognition of higher budgets for films funded according to artistic criteria
  • No reduction of requested sums, if there is no calculation error
  • Equal evaluation of festival and audience points when calculating the threshold values, in consideration of other festivals and venues and lowering the entrance threshold
  • Consistent cultural promotion of young film talent, in particular through a separate funding budget for young films at a federal level
  • Rethinking and promoting film education from an aesthetic and film historical perspective.

2. Strengthening the freedom of action for filmmakers, producers, distributors, cinema operators and festival organisers with a focus on artistic film:

  • Development of clear and comprehensive standards for socially acceptable working conditions in the film industry and their incorporation in the FFG
  • Abolition of the cap on directing fees in the case of multi-activity, in order to adequately reward the extensive artistic work, especially in small projects
  • Significantly strengthen film development support and funding
  • Eliminate co-payment on production support
  • Raise the percentage of general expenses in production support to international standards of at least 10%.
  • Abolition of the participation of a television broadcaster as a de facto prerequisite for applying for film funding, thereby strengthening film funding independent from broadcaster participation; simultaneous introduction of a purchase obligation for broadcasters
  • Royalties for producers to be paid at the latest on repayment of the distribution funding
  • Establishment of cultural criteria such as festival successes for the award of distribution and sales funding
  • Reduction of the co-payment and introduction of an upper limit for distribution and sales funding in order to achieve equal opportunities in exploitation
  • Recognition of personnel costs and general administrative expenses of distributors
  • Grant subsidies of up to 50,000 euros to support distribution and sales
  • Access to distribution funding also for projects not supported in production
  • Cancellation of the DFFF's distribution obligation, excluding TV-only productions
  • Development of models for the structural support of primarily culture-oriented production companies / distribution companies / cinemas / festivals in the sense of equal opportunities, diversity and sustainability.

Signed by: AG Dok//AG Filmfestivals//AG Kurzfilm// Bundesverband kommunale Filmarbeit//Bundesverband Regie//Crew United//Hauptverband Cinephilie//Verband der deutschen Filmkritik//Zukunft Deutscher Film