Film co-productions Germany and Italy – Everything you need to know!

Film coproductions Germany

Film coproductions Germany and Italy – Everything you need to know!

Despite the strength of the theatrical market in both countries and the geographical proximity, there are still only a few bilateral film coproductions between Germany and Italy.

This is really a pity as there are many different forms of public economic support available in Italy for film coproductions between Italy and Germany that can cover a range of different aspects of a film. These are essentially divided into three categories:

  • development funds, covering development and pre-production of Italian- German coproductions;
  • the funds issued by the central state, that are also subdivided in Italy, into the two sub-categories of “direct funds”, that are highly selective and granted as a returnable loan, or “tax credits”, which are assigned automatically and entail tax rebates;
  • the funds made available by the Italian regions, that vary in terms of contribution size, type of financial product, beneficiary eligibility, selection criteria and how the funds are paid out.

Development fund for film coproductions  Germany and Italy  

In order to encourage the cooperation of Italian and German producers the Ministry of Cultural Heritage Activities and Tourism, Directorate General for Cinema (MiBAC) and the German Federal Film Board (Filmförderungsanstalt – FFA) have agreed to support the co‐development of film projects with the potential to develop into high quality films that will attract audiences in both countries and the rest of the world.

The programme supports the co‐development of projects with the intention to increase the collaboration between producers in both countries and thus the number of Italian‐German coproductions. The annual budget which the parties are ready to direct to the support of the development of film coproduction projects between Germany and Italy is up to 100.000 Euros (50% provided by MiBAC and 50% by the FFA). The funding amount per project can be between 10.000 Euros and a maximum of 30.000 Euros.

This type of funding is a free, non repayable grant the procedure for accessing the fund is selective and the payment is made in 2 installments: the first 60% following the signing of the convention for the agreed support between the beneficiary production company and the issuing body; the remaining 40% on presentation of a detailed report on how the contribution was employed, the last version of the screenplay and a detailed account of development costs.

Applications for project support from the German-Italian Co-production Development Fund will be possible until 15 December 2016 

The Guidelines and the form to apply are avaiable here.

Film coproduction agreement between Italy and Germany

As already mentioned, the concept of film coproduction is directly linked to the idea of nationality of the film. A producer needs to obtain a certificate of nationality for his film, issued by the correspondent administrative body in his country, in order to have access to most of the national public incentives, as well as to qualify for the screen and television quota for national films existing in many European countries.

In order to facilitate Italian/German coproductions, on 23 September 1999 a Co-Production Agreement has been signed between Germany and Italy. It entered into force on 5 November 2002, replacing the preceding German-Italian agreement of 27 July 1966.

The Agreement applies to cinematographic works irrespective of their length or medium, including feature films, animation and documentaries, made for premiere in a motion-picture theatre.

Financial contribution of a co-producer shall be at least 20%. Multilateral co-productions are possible; here the minority participation must not be less than 10% and the majority participation must not exceed 70% of the total production cost.

As an exception, a mere financial participation in a co-production can be approved. In such cases, the level of financial participation must be between 10 and 25%.

Regional Funding available in Italy for Italian/German co-productions.

Italian Regional Funds are also available for financing Italian/German co-productions. Some of the most interesting funds are granted by Lazio Region.

FONDAZIONE FILM COMMISSION ROMA LAZIO was founded February, 2007, encompassing the Lazio Region, the Municipality of Rome, the Province of Rome, the Province of Frosinone, the Province of Rieti and the Province of Viterbo.

The Foundation carries out activities aimed at promoting cinema, audiovisual media and coproductions, serving as a point of contact between the principal national and international companies and Lazio, the traditional land of great cinema.

The foundation supports cinema and audiovisual productions by providing a platform for the development of international coproduction with the organization of coproduction meetings during the main film festivals (Cannes, Berlin, Rome, Hong Kong, Singapore, Mumbai). Also, it assists national and international productions in finding qualified professionals and film production services, and it helps in the obtaining of filming permits throughout the region.

Furthermore, it offers support and guidance regarding the financial resources the Lazio regions can make available to the film and audiovisual industry.

The Foundation provides two funding schemes: 1. The Regional Film and Audiovisual Fund (cash-rebate system) and 2. Lazio Cinema International (coproduction incentive).

  1. Regional Film and Audiovisual Fund
. Budget: 15 ML euro
. Type of incentive:  Cash rebate – Subsidy – Automatic funding. 

Qualifying expenses:
 Eligible costs include those above and below the line that were borne within Lazio Region.

 13% of eligible expenses for cinema and audiovisual projects (such percentage may be raised to 15% for the following categories: Kids, first and second features, multimedia and interactive including crossmedia and multiplatform works, creative documentaries, low cost genre pics, works produced by independent producers, works produced by micro and small companies). 

The work must be acknowledged as a ”cultural product”, on the basis of a test assessing the cultural eligibility, included in the application form that is published every year.

 Minimum local spending of 40% of  costs in Lazio Region

. Beneficiaries:
 The recipients of such funding include individual or family businesses, partnerships or corporations whose only or main activity is the production of film and audiovisual works.

The foreign production companies have to ask the line producer of the film/audiovisual work, i.e. the person in charge of the organization of the production of the film, either entirely or only for the Italian  part, to fill in and submit the application for funding.

 The total amount of funding cannot be higher than € 750.000,00 for each company.

Payment schedule: after completion of the production
  2. Lazio Cinema InternationalIncentives for co-productions POR FESR 2014-2020 – measure 3.1.3 Budget: 10 ML euro 
50% for Cinematographic co-productions 
50% for  Other Audiovisual Works

. Type of incentive:  Grant for admissible expenses borne by the beneficiaries in order to perform a Co-Production.

 Application: on-line submission from 16 November 2016
. Evaluation by a commission and contribution on first-in first-served basis.

Companies mainly operate in the sector of “Film, video and television programme production” (ATECO [Business Activity] Code 2007 59.11), comply with the size-related requirements for SMEs.

Companies, at the latest upon the request for the first disbursement, must have residence in Italy for tax purposes and operational headquarters in Lazio, which must be retained for at least 3 years from said date.

The amount of the contribution may not exceed 35% of the Admissible Expenses, or 45%, in the case of Co-Productions financed by at least another EU Member State. 

Admissible expenses: 
Potentially admissible Co-Production expenses are the Industrial Costs, comprised of costs relating to the release, promotion and distribution of the Audiovisual Work and of the Production Cost

. Amount of Admissible Expenses relating to the Lazio territory: equal to at least 130% of the requested contribution.

Finally, it should be underlined that Italy’s Roma Lazio Film Commission, together with 2 other Europe’s top regional funds, France’s Ile de France and Germany’s Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg film funding organization have joined forces in a move intended to strengthen the collective financial muscle of European co-productions. They are set to forge a formal pact to co-operate on ways to harmonize their soft money schemes to jointly attract more international mid-range pics.


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