Brief information - Information on the German Federal Film Board (FFA)

Legal foundation

The FFA carries out its business based on the law on measures for the promotion of German Cinema - Filmförderungsgesetz (FFG). This law first came into force in 1968 and has been amended several times since then, most recently in July of 2010.

Legal form

The German Federal Film Board (FFA) is an institution incorporated under public law.


The FFA's duties include enforcing measures to promote German cinema and to improve the structure of the German film industry, supporting the national economic affairs of the film industry in Germany, improving the foundations for the distribution and market-driven exploitation of the German cinema at home as well as its economic and cultural distribution abroad and working towards an alignment and coordination of the film support measures by the Federal Government and regional states.


According to the law on measures for the promotion of German Cinema, the FFA raises a film levy from exhibitors and video distributors, as well as from TV providers and programme marketers. The film levy for each cinema screen amounts to between 1.8 percent and 3 percent of the net annual turnover provided that a net turnover of more than € 75,000 is reached. The film levy for the video distributors amounts to between 1.8 percent and 2.3 percent of the net annual turnover, while the film levy for the TV providers is calculated based on the share of cine films in the overall television programme.

The levy is a compensatory fee in accordance with commercial and administrative law, which is structured as a self-help measure by the film and video industry. The FFA does not have any access to tax revenues.


The FFA has an annual budget of around € 76 million at its disposal.


The managing board (Mr. Peter Dinges) runs the FFA's business affairs on his own responsibility. The FFA has a staff of 47 people.

All fundamental issues within the FFA's responsibility are decided upon by the Administrative Council which consists of 36 members. Its members are appointed for a period of five years by the Bundestag (Lower House), the Bundesrat (Upper House), by the highest federal authority responsible for culture and media, by the trade associations of the film and video industry, of the public and private TV stations, the trade unions and the churches.

The Presidium consists of nine members of the Administrative Council. It supervises the activities of the Management Committee. The chairman of the Administrative Council is at the same time chairman of the Presidium.

Funding areas

1.Production funding

a) Full-length feature films

The funding is granted for films with a running time of at least 79 minutes and for children's films of at least 59 minutes.

There are two different types of funding:

Automatic funding according to the reference principle

A producer with headquarters in Germany is entitled to subsidy as a grant to produce a new film if he has produced a German film (or a German co-production with another country) which has reached 150,000 reference points in Germany within one year from its first release. The reference points are calculated from both the commercial success as well as the success at internationally significant festivals and awards. The film must, however, reach admissions of at least 50,000. A reference film awarded a certificate by the Film Assessment Board (FBW) in Wiesbaden needs to register only 100,000 reference points. The reference means are restricted and may, among other purposes, be used towards the production of a new full-length feature film.

Selective funding according to the project principle

The FFA can grant project funding for the production of a film as a conditionally repayable, interest-fee loan if the producer's application makes it likely - on the basis of the screenplay, budget, the financing plan, the cast and crew lists and, if applicable, the distribution contracts - that the film looks set to improve the quality and profitability of German cinema.

A grant committee consisting of twelve members decides on the applications.

As a rule, the project funding can amount to some eight to ten percent of the production costs, respectively of the German financing share - in specific cases up to € 1m in.

A producer's own investment of at least five percent is required. The recoupment of the funding loan begins as a rule as soon as the revenues accruing to the producer from the film's exploitation have reached five percent of the recognised production costs.

b) Short films

Financial support is granted to short films of no more than 15 minutes running time and non full-length children's films if the film has reached at least ten reference points within two years from its completion. There reference points are calculated based on the success at internationally and nationally relevant festivals and on awards. A film that has been certified as "Especially valuable" by the Film Assessment Board (FBW) in Wiesbaden receives ten reference points. The funding is given in the form of a grant.

2. Script funding

Grants of up to € 10,000 can be allocated to the production of film treatments and for the preliminary stage of scripts for full-length feature films; € 30,000 can be granted for the development of screenplays, in exceptional cases up to € 50,000. This funding is decided by a sub-committee consisting of five members.

3. Distribution funding

a) Automatic funding according to the reference principle

Distribution companies with headquarters in Germany or an EU member state are granted funding support as a subsidy for the distribution of new film for German films which have reached 100,000 reference points within one year of the premiere in German cinemas. The reference points are calculated from both commercial success as well as success at internationally relevant festivals and awards. The same minimum figure applies as for the reference film funding.

In calculating the funding support, a maximum of 600,000 admissions as well as a maximum of 1,200,000 reference points are considered. The funds available for reference distribution funding are allocated to the qualifying distributors according to the proportion in which the reference points of the individual films are to one another.

b) Selective funding according to the project principle

The FFA may grant funding support for the distribution of films as interest-free loans or as grants. The maximum amounts for loans range between € 150,000 and € 600,000 depending on the purpose, for grants up to € 100,000. Furthermore, so called "media services" can be granted for the application of German cinema films for cinema release.

This funding is decided by a sub-committee consisting of five members.

4. Exhibition (Cinema) funding

a) Automatic funding according to the reference principle

All exhibitors who pay/have paid the film levy are eligible for grant funding provided they have reached at least 5,000 reference points The reference points are calculated from both awards and/or commercial success for German and European films and their viewers.

The reference means are restricted and may among other purposes be used for modernisation measures for a cinema.

b) Selective funding according to the project principle

For purposes such as the modernisation and improvement of a cinema, for a new construction if it serves structural improvement, as well as for the realisation of exemplary measures and for the testing of new measures in the field of exhibition, funding of up to € 200,000, in exceptional cases of up to € 350,000, can be granted. Up to 30% of this funding can be awarded in the form of a grant while 70% or more is an interest-free loan with a duration of up to 10 years. Regardless of successfully launched digitalisation funding for criterion cinemas, exhibitors can now furthermore apply for the funding of various investment projects incurring in connection with the digitalisation.

For contractually agreed collaboration measures between cinemas, extraordinary or exemplary advertising or marketing measures, as well as for other measures that appear suitable for strengthening the competitiveness of cinemas in general and for ensuring their area-wide sustainment, grants of up to € 200,000 can be approved.

Consulting services for cinemas can be funded with grants of up to € 5,000.

The exhibition of short films as pre-entertainment in the cinema can be funded with grants of up to € 1,500.

c) Funding of additional film copies

Furthermore, grants can be allocated for the prints of national and foreign films which are intended to be played in places with, as a rule, up to 20,000 inhabitants if the films are expected to have admissions of more than 1.5m in total.

This funding is decided by a sub-committee consisting of five members.

d) Funding of cinema digitalisation

Together with the BKM (German Federal Commissioner for Cultural and Media Affairs), FFA offers funding for the digitalisation of cinemas in Germany. Both support programmes are designed as grants; the application and allocation procedure is handled by the FFA. The funding measures have the purpose to successively reach an area-wide digitalisation of cinemas, in order to preserve the cultural diversity in Germany.

Both, the BKM funds and the FFA funds are distributed in the form of grants and may be combined with each other as well as with the funds awarded by the Federal Lands.

Measures that receive funding: first-time technical adjustment of cinemas to digital distribution. Eligible for funding are solely the investment costs for the first-time technical conversion to 2D projection technology (server, projector and installation) and to a sustainable technical standard.

5. Video funding

a) Funding of video distributors

FFA will grant funding support to home entertainment companies with their headquarters in Germany for the distribution of recorded video carriers of German films, particularly the meeting of release costs, for extraordinary and/or exemplary marketing measures or the production of foreign language versions, as well as for the distribution of films in the form of nongratuitous film demand services. This support is granted in the form of interest-free loans which, as a rule, are conditionally repayable. The maximum amounts for the loans range between € 150,000 and € 600,000. In addition, grants and interest-free loans can be allocated for measures particularly specified in the FFG.

This funding is decided by a sub-committee consisting of five members.

b) Funding of video stores

Interest-free loans of up to € 50,000 may be granted for the modernisation and improvement of family video stores as well as for new constructions if they serve structural improvement; the loan can increase up to € 100,000 with a duration of up to ten years if an overall assessment of the project and the level of the anticipated costs justify this. In addition, measures for the realisation of a range of films in video stores that is particularly suitable for children and young people as well as measures for the realisation of exemplary measures and the testing of new measures in the field of family video stores are supported with loans of the same amount. Grants of up to € 200,000 are allocated for measures for contractually agreed collaboration, while grants of a maximum € 2,500 are allocated for the consultation of video stores.

6. Funding of vocational training for film professions

Grants of up to € 5,000 can be awarded for measures of vocational training for persons working in the film industry. Grants of up to € 25,000 can be allocated for vocational measures providing further training.

Such applications are decided by the FFA managing board.

7. Funding of measures to promote research, rationalisation and innovation

Project promotion funding can be granted for the research, rationalization and innovation in the field of film industry, however, only if due to another regulation of the law on measures for the promotion of German Cinema or by other public means funding is not possible. The funding which may not exceed a total amount of € 500,000 for the applicant within three years, can be provided as a grant or, if the recipient has considerable benefit from the measure in terms of profit, fully or partially as a interest-free loan.

8. Financing of promotional measures for the German cinema at home and abroad

Advertising measures for the German film at home are financed through the funding areas distribution funding, video store funding, and exhibition funding. In the course of the distribution funding, advertising measures for the distribution of German films abroad can also be supported. In order to enhance the promotion of the German film abroad, the FFA is co-financing the German Films Service + Marketing GmbH.

9. Further activities


Apart from the above-mentioned categories of funding, the FFA also handles the film promotion of the film projects supported by the State Minister for Culture and Media (BKM). The same applies to the BKM funding of cinema digitalisation in Germany, the BKM distribution funding and the BKM funding of additional film copies for art house cinemas. The FFA is responsible for handling the additional funds for film copy funding for several Federal Lands in cities with up to 20.000 inhabitants. Moreover, the FFA is in charge of the German funding activities for the European Cinema Support Fund Eurimages and provides the German representation on the Eurimages Board of Management. The FFA has been handling the administration of the German-French Funding Agreement since 2001. The FFA has been responsible for running the German Federal Film Fund (DFFF) since the beginning of 2007. Initiated by the Federal Government, the funding model will continue to support the production of cinema films made in Germany with annual subsidies of overall 60 million Euros until 2012.

In the Spring of 2011, the FFA took over the administrative tasks for the funding initiative "Ein Netz für Kinder" (A net for children).


As a shareholder of the German Films Service + Marketing GmbH and the Vision Kino gGmbH the FFA is involved to a considerable degree in the financing of these institutions and their activities. Furthermore, FFA is financially involved in the German-Russian Co-Development Fund that supports the early stage development of German-Russian film material.

For further information, please contact:
PR department
Tel. ++ 49 30 - 27 57 7 - 0
Fax ++ 49 30 - 27 57 7 - 555
E-mail: presse@FFA.de