German film industry calls for major reform to safeguard future

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In the wake of European countries making similar moves, the German film industry has outlined ambitious plans to protect homegrown cinema. 

Last week we covered a story from Denmark which revealed that the country was the latest European nation to bring in a ‘streamer tax’, designed to compel companies such as Netflix and Amazon to invest in homegrown Danish cinema or be financially penalised should they choose not to. The move is in line with the direction of other European countries such as Italy and France, with the latter in particular using strict protectionist policies to safeguard its national film industry, as it has done for decades.

The German government has unveiled proposals to overhaul its own funding system in 2025 and now an alliance of industry producers have jumped in to demand further changes to the system. Chief among them, you guessed it, is the same kind of streamer tax that other European nations have adopted. Germany does already levy streamers but at around 2%, it’s nowhere near the 20-25% ‘tax’ that countries like Italy and France have levied.

Producers are also calling for an automatic grant at the beginning of production in the belief that it will increase foreign co-investment. At the moment, a production can claim a grant to fund the last 20% of financing but by increasing this and making it the first part of a film’s budget, the industry would have a more solid footing from which to grow.

Whilst it’s too early to say if these proposals will be fully accepted by the German government, there does seem to be an enthusiasm for reform so it’s likely we’ll see some, if not all of these proposals take place. Especially when you consider that a healthy ‘streamer tax’ would help offset the costs of automatic grants.

As we mentioned last week, It’s a ‘general European trend that is not being followed here in the UK as our industry continues to move in a markedly different direction. Where that leaves our own homegrown screen industry decades from now, not to mention the quality and quantity of our cultural exports remains to be seen. However, if this approach does prove to be the way forwards in safeguarding national cinema, the UK is being left behind.’ You can read the UK Department of Culture’s rationale for its decision-making here, should you wish to.

Screen Daily

Image: BigStock

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