The FFA funds the production of cinema films in all genres. The funding is granted as two different kinds of support:as part of a selective, project-based funding, the project film funding, and as automatic, performance-based funding, the reference film funding. A producer will receive project funding if he can convince the committee with his script as well as the project’s production and marketing concept. Reference film funding is a retroactive support for success in admissions, film awards and at festivals.
Project film funding
Producers with headquarters in Germany can apply to the FFA for up to one million Euros as a conditionally repayable loans for German film projects and international co-productions with a running time of at least 79 minutes.
One of the conditions for funding is that the film should be largely made in or dubbed into the German language and that German or European studios and postproduction companies are involved in the production. Moreover, the world premiere of the completed film must be take place in a German cinema or as the German entry at an international festival, and a fully accessible version must be produced.
Principal photography may not have commenced before submitting the application. If a project has already received reference funding for project or script development, this sum will be offset against the project film funding. The FFA places a particular focus on the funding of high-quality projects, including projects by talented newcomers or children's film projects based on original story ideas. The committee for production and script funding decides on the allocation and level of funding, paying particular attention to the quality of the screenplay, the anticipated admission figures and the project's economic viability.
Applications for project film funding can be submitted online by producers via the FFA website and must be filed at least four weeks before the funding session and checked for completeness. The committee for production and script funding usually takes decisions six to eight times a year.
Reference fIlm funding
The FFA supports producers of successful German cinema films via a retroactive funding – the reference film funding. A points system serves as the benchmark for the allocation of the funding. This funding is in the form of grants which do not have to be repaid, but must be used for the production or release of
The total number of reference points for a film is calculated from the cinema tickets sold domestically and the success at nationally and internationally significant film festivals and awards. The “points threshold” one has to reach in order to participate in the reference film funding varies between feature films, debuts, children’s films and documentaries.
Feature films: the prerequisite for funding is that the film has reached at least 150,000 reference points (= admissions) or 50,000 admissions plus 100,000 points from prizes and festivals within the first year after its premiere in German cinemas – provided that the productions costs are under 8 million Euros. In the case of higher production costs, the threshold for the required points also increases (8 million to 20 million Euros production costs: at least 300,000 points, over 20 million Euros production costs: at least 500,000 points). The required number of points is reduced if a film is awarded the „especially valuable“ rating by the German Film & Media Evaluation Board (FBW).
Debuts and children’s films, documentaries as well as films with production costs of under 1 million Euros can qualify for reference film funding with fewer admissions. The threshold is also lowered if a film has been awarded the rating of “especially valuable” by the German Film and Media Evaluation Board in Wiesbaden (FBW) or has been successful at festivals and awards ceremonies. 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 reference funding should be used primarily for a new film project. The producer can also use the funding for the development of new film projects or to boost the nominal capital. The funding must be drawn down within three years of the allocation of the grant. The amount of funding per reference point depends on the number of participating films as well as on the annual budget available. The FFA’s reference film funding is granted once a year, and by the end of March at the latest, on application by the producer.