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.