Both the Federal Government and the federal states (Länder) provide support for film. National film support has its legal base in the Federal Film Promotion Act (FFG) which entered into force in 1968 and is constantly being updated. The present version (7th amendment to the Federal Film Promotion Act) came into force on August 1st 2014. The FFG is the legal basis for the Film Promotion Agency (FFA). Among other things, it determines the responsibilities and institutional framework of the Film Promotion Agency, includes regulations concerning requirements and funding and is the legal basis for the film support fee. The FFA is tasked with providing “measures for the promotion of German films as well as for the improvement of the structure of the German film economy” and to support the overall economic interests of the film industry, to improve the basis for the promotion and evaluation in line with the marketing of German films within Germany and its economic and cultural impact in other countries as well as promoting the coordination of film support from the national and federal states level. The FFA is financed via a “film levy” raised from all industries involved in the utilisation of films: cinemas, the video industry and broadcasting companies (§ 66 following FFG). The annual budget of the FFA amounts to 78,7 million EUR (2018) and is used, to support productions, scripts, the rental and distribution of films, cinemas and video stores.
In addition to the FFA, the German film industry is also supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM). Every year, more than 130 million EUR in total flows into awards (for example, the German Film Award) and promotion programmes (support for productions, scripts, cinemas, etc.). Since 2005, the German Film Award (with prize money of 3 million EUR) is organised by the German Film Academy, founded in 2003. Furthermore, film festivals and symposia (for example, the International Film Festival Berlin), international film productions (through bilateral film agreements), as well as institutions dedicated to the restoration and preservation of film cultural heritage (for example Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek in Berlin and the Deutsche Filminstitut in Frankfurt am Main) are also supported by the BKM.
The German cinema promotion amounts actually in total to 340 million EUR, made up of the promotion of FFAas well as the Federal Government (Bund) and federal states (Länder). On January 1st 2007, a new support model entitled Encouragement and consolidation of film production in Germany came into force, which offers film producers a reimbursement of 15 to 20 % of production costs, spent in Germany, on the production of a cinema film. 60 million EUR p.a. has been provided. The intention is to increase Germany’s attraction as a production location for large-scale international productions.
In addition to support measures for the improvement of the artistic quality of films, federal policies in this domain include regulatory measures, e.g. concerning taxation and copyright frameworks. In that context, tax shelters for film funds were abolished in November, 2005.
The federal cabinet decided on a mandatory registration for German cinema films in October 2012. This was adopted accordingly in the Federal Archive Act (Bundesarchivgesetz). In January 2014 the Federal Constitutional Court confirms the legality of the Federal Film Promotion Act and dismisses the constitutional complaint of four internationally represented cinema chains. This constitutional complaint had been particularly brought against the so-called film levy, which provides that cinema owners have to pay between 1.8% and 3% of their net income (if more than 75.000 EUR are achieved) to the Film Promotion Agency. Through this the Federal Constitutional Court confirms the in this manner since 1968 existing promotion and levy system.
Film promotion programmes also exist at the federal state (Länder) level. These differ considerably in scope and are funded by a variety of sponsors and bodies. In order to coordinate the film policies of the federal states (Länder) with the Federal Government, the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany (KMK) established a Film Committee of the Länderin 1994, which involves the participation of the respective state chancelleries and economic ministries.
The statutory basis for the public radio and television corporations (financed mainly by licence fees) and the private (commercial) television broadcasters (financed by advertising revenue) is the Interstate Broadcasting Agreement concluded among the federal states (Länder). On the basis of this Agreement and within the framework of their responsibilities for radio and television broadcasting, the individual federal states (Länder) have enacted detailed provisions in their respective Land Broadcasting Acts.
The legal framework for the new information and communications technologies is defined by the Telecommunications Act, which entered into force on August 1st, 1996, the Federal Information and Communication Services Act, which entered into force on August 1st, 1997, and the essentially identically worded Interstate Broadcasting Agreement concluded among the federal states (Länder).