Distribution and Marketing Funding
Apart from funding the production of German feature films, the FFA also backs their exploitation and supports distributors and sales companies. The distribution and marketing of feature-length cinema films can be supported in various ways. Either as part of the distribution project funding, by so-called media services or via an automatic, performance-related funding, the distribution reference funding. The exploitation of a feature film in the cinemas and on video can also be supported as an overall measure.
Distribution project funding & Media services
The FFA supports initial distribution costs in the form of conditionally repayable loans of up to 600,000 Euros. Initial distribution costs include the production costs for prints as well as expenditure for the marketing and promoting of a film. Costs related to the international distribution of films, for exceptional promotional measures, or special expenditure for the distribution of children’s films can be supported with up to 150,000 Euros. Short film distributors can apply for a grant of up to 100,000 Euros for measures to open up new markets.
Applications can be submitted by distributors and sales companies with headquarters in Germany. The distribution company is obliged to release an appropriate number of prints in places with up to 20,000 inhabitants. The exploitation of a film in the cinemas and on videos can be supported as as an overall measure with up to 1.2 million Euros. The committee for distribution, sales and video funding usually takes decisions six times a year.
The FFA awards media services on the basis of agreements with the public and commercial broadcasters. These consist of advertising air time where a feature film can be promoted on radio and television. In principle, media services are only granted to those films which are being released nationwide and on at least 25 prints.
Media services can be granted to a film for its theatrical release in different amounts for various categories. If the distributor has also applied for media services for the promotion of video or Video-on-Demand premieres, media services worth at least 200,000 Euros must have been granted for the promotion of the respective film’s theatrical release and a certain number of admissions reached.
Applications for media services should be submitted by the distribution companies at the same time as for the distribution project funding. These applications are decided by the responsible Distribution/Marketing Committee.
Distribution reference funding
The FFA supports distributors of successful German cinema films by way of a retroactive funding – the distribution reference funding. As with the production reference funding, the total number of reference points are calculated from the domestic admissions and the success at important national and international film festivals and film awards.
The prerequisite for funding is for a feature film to initially have reached at least 100,000 reference points (= admissions) or 50,000 admissions plus 50,000 points from awards and festivals within a year from its German premiere. Lower thresholds apply for films with production costs under 1,000,000 Euros, debut films as well as for children’s films and documentaries.
Moreover, in the case of children’s films and documentaries, the admissions are considered within the period of three years from both commercial and non-commercial performances.
The funding must be used within two years from the granting decision for the distribution of new feature-length films. It can be used for a new film's initial distribution costs, the financing of minimum guarantees, the making of fully accessible versions or foreign language versions, for extraordinary promotional measures or special expenditure incurred in distributing children's films as well as for increasing the distribution company's nominal capital.
The level of funding per reference point depends on the number of participating films and on the annual budget available. The FFA’s distribution reference funding is granted on application by the respective distributor once a year, and by the end of March at the latest.