Hoping to strengthen its presence in the German market, Discovery Communications Europe has announced a 300,000 mark fund to support the creation of new films by East German producers. Along the lines of last year’s South African Visions, the fund will be used to underwrite six new half-hours with eastern Europe as the theme. Slated to air on Discovery Germany in October, each films will be made with under 50,000 marks.
The fund will only be open to East German filmmakers, a group hit hard by the break-up of the Communist regime. With the sudden adaptation of a free-market economy, and the disintegration of a state-supported film industry, many eastern doc producers have been unable to compete against their more-established western counterparts.
Chris Haws, vp, commissions and production at Discovery Europe, hopes the fund will do more than just help create three hours of programming. ‘In a way, it’s to say to the German public and the filmmaking community that we’re interested in investing in the future talents in the territories we’re transmitting in. [We hope to] inject a bit of money and hope, and encouragement into the system.’ Discovery launched its German service in July, 1996, to 30,000 subscribers. Subscribers now total 102,000.
As it did in South Africa, dce will choose a local production entity to act as an umbrella company, overseeing the fund and interacting with the producers selected. The company will monitor the progress of the films, help the filmmakers manage their resources and ensure they remain stylistically consistent with Discovery’s approach. dce has yet to name the overseeing production company.
Also in Upfront:
- D Network to expand development and distribution
-CNN puts Perspectives on indie documentary production
-WGBH launches distribution arm.