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Highlights - 01/01/2012


Mariette Rissenbeek, Managing Director, German Films


With the 16th Festival of German Films in Paris opening this week, we spoke to Mariette Rissenbeek, Managing Director of German Films, the national information and advisory centre for the promotion of German films worldwide.

How has the exportation of German films developed over the last years?


The export of German films has developed well over the last years. Since NOWHERE IN AFRICA by Caroline Link and GOODBYE, LENIN ! by Wolfgang Becker, German films sell well abroad. A wide variety of films get sold: sophisticated arthouse films and commercial films find their place in cinemas abroad. Comedies by actor and director Til Schweiger are extremely successful in Russia; in Japan it is particularly films with a historical or musical touch (e.g. GOETHE! By Philipp Stölzl or CLARA by Helma Sanders-Brahms). In the last years the diversity of German films has been remarkable. In that respect the success of “New German wave” directors especially in France has to be noted. We basically support every genre; that is why our Festival program in Madrid may differ completely from that in Moscow or in Paris.

There is also a lot of interest in our documentaries. Right now PIANOMANIA by Robert Cibis and Lilian Franck can be seen in theatres in the US, as well as JANE'S JOURNEY by Lorenz Knauer and IM HIMMEL UNTER DER ERDE (In Heaven Underground) by Britta Wauer .

The distribution support is definitely very interesting for independent distributors. In 2011 we were able to support more releases than ever before. There were 87 theatrical releases, especially the Berlinale films ALMANYA by Yasemin Samderelli and PINA by Wim Wenders. Other titles include VINCENT WANTS TO SEA by Ralf Huettner, KOKOWÄÄH by Til Schweiger, IF NOT US, WHO? by Andres Veiel, 3 by Tom Tykwer or THE SILENCE by Baran bo Odar .
Film exportation has increased over the last years but due to the financial crisis three years ago distributors globally tend towards paying lower minimum guarantees and to be more cautious with releasing films. But the situation in Germany is quite good compared to other countries. There is still a high demand for German films in countries such as France, USA, Russia, and Spain as well as Australia, China, Israel or Taiwan.

What exactly are German Films' criteria for German films to receive support for exportation?

German Films supports German films through several schemes with different criteria.
For instance, we organize ‘selection screenings' for international film festivals which are open to all films.

The distribution support (support of film releases abroad) is reserved to films whose largest production share is German (financially and artistically).
Same thing for our publication “German Films Quarterly”: only films that are totally or in the most part German can register.

If German films are programmed in festivals, we support the films that are totally or ‘mostly' German at 100%. Productions that only have a minor German production share get a level of financial support which corresponds to the share of German financial contribution in the film.
Our “Festivals of German films” are reserved for films that are totally or ‘mostly' German and which stand out in one way or another (e.g. because they won a prize, had excellent reviews, were programmed in an important international festival or had a lot of admissions in Germany).

Could you please tell us more about the ‘Festivals of German films' and the program Next Generation Short Tiger?

Once a year the Festivals of German films offer the public the chance to see a wide range of different German films. These events are, above all, aimed at public audiences, as most distributors can see German films at international film festivals in Europe. In France the interest for German films has become quite strong in the last years, and a lot of films are sold in the run-up to the Festival of German films. In Moscow, the event is often used for the kick-off of a theatrical release of a commercial film.

The program NEXT GENERATION SHORT TIGER presents short films that have been produced by film school students (maximum length is 15 minutes) and short films up to 5 minutes, that have been produced either by students or independent film makers. The 5-minute long short films are candidates for the SHORT TIGER award that has been established by the FFA in collaboration with HDF (Association of film theatres) and has now merged with the NEXT GENERATION program. The international premiere of the program takes places at Cannes Film Festival. The film makers can live the experience of a big international film festival and experience to do some networking there. NEXT GENERATION SHORT TIGER is then presented at different events world-wide.

Flora Anavi, Bastian Sillner
21 November 2011

German Film Festival, at the cinema L'Arlequin in Paris
German Films

Europa cinemas' support of the exportation of German films
The interest of international distributors in German films can also be seen through the results of films supported by Europa Cinemas in Non-MEDIA countries.
Since 2004, 23 German films have been supported in Latin America and Asia. Since 2010 this support is also available for distributors in the MEDIA-countries.
The list of films supported illustrates the diversity of German arthouse cinema, SOPHIE SCHOLL THE FINAL DAYS by Marc Rothemund to THE ROBBER by Benjamin Heisenberg, PINGPONG by Matthias Luthardt to the films of Fatih Akin. Other examples of encouraging results are those of CHERRY BLOSSOMS by Doris Dörrie in Brasil or the documentary, EL SISTEMA by Paul Smaczny, in South Korea.


Pictures (from top):
- Mariette Rissenbeek, German Films, July 2011
- 16th Festival of German Films, in Paris
- THE SILENCE by Baran bo Odar
- DREI by Tom Tykwer
- IF NOT US, WHO? by Andres Veiel
- Homepage: SCHLAFKRANKHEIT, by Ulrich Köhler