Film und Medien Stiftung NRWNewsNewsFilm- und Medienstiftung NRW – Review and Outlook for the New Year

Film- und Medienstiftung NRW – Review and Outlook for the New Year

Press conference by Film- und Medienstiftung NRW on 22 January, 2014

  • Funding, development of digital infrastructure, location marketing: integrated strategy bears fruit
  • € 35.78m for 432 projects, 121 films with € 28.8m, 215% NRW effect
  • International star cinema, co-productions, arthouse, entertainment and young cinema from NRW
  • Funding programmes and initiatives for development of the digital infrastructure
  • Cinema digitisation largely completed
  • National and international presentation of NRW
  • Reorientation of Media Forum and Cinema and Film Conference


2013 was a successful year for the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, the region and its companies. Three years after the decision for reorientation, the new fields of activity are in place, the media cluster is integrated, and innovative funding instruments have been introduced. On both national and international levels, the presentation and awareness of North Rhine-Westphalia as a media region hav been noticeably improved, the development of the digital infrastructure as well as the newcomer and start-up activities have been intensified, and events and conferences like the Media Forum reorientated. Within the framework of the ¨Digital Media Region¨ initiative, the NRW Promotion Competition could also be optimised and the digitisation of cinemas largely completed. In total, NRW was able to make over € 40m available for projects and project development in film, TV, cinema and the new media.

¨The strategy of the Film- und Medienstiftung is bearing fruit. This is true both for funding as well as for the development of the digital infrastructure and location marketing. We have opened our institution on all levels to the new media and are simultaneously dedicated with total commitment to the funding of films. Consequently, NRW-funded projects showed the whole spectrum of contemporary film-making, were present at all of the important festivals around the globe, and have made for a successful start to the cinema’s new year,¨ said Petra Müller, CEO of the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW.


The Film- und Medienstiftung NRW funded 432 projects with a total of € 35.78m in 2013.  Thanks to the participation by the federal state f NRW, WDR, RTL, ZDF and LfM, this volume of funding means that it still the most powerful of German regional funders as in previous years. In the cinema and TV funding programmes alone, 121 film projects could be supported with € 28.8m and an effect of 215% generated. In accordance with its mandate, the Filmstiftung supports NRW’s film industry as well as the film culture; in 2013, the focus was particularly on the service-provider sector, and, overall, the industry benefited to the tune of over € 65m. Moreover, the MEDIA Programme supported NRW’s film and media industry with a further € 2.9m.

Feature Films

One of the year’s finest films appeared with the release of Ron Howard’s ¨Rush¨ which helped Daniel Brühl to his international breakthrough. At the turn of the year, NRW-funded films dominated the cinema programmes and the arts pages: Philipp Stölzl’s ¨The Physician¨, Jim Jarmusch’s ¨ Only Lovers Left Alive¨ and Lars von Trier’s ¨Nymphomaniac¨ successfully opened in European cinemas on 25 December. They were followed in German cinemas by the much reviewed Israel-set films ¨Bethlehem¨ and ¨Hanna’s Journey¨ as well as the long anticipated Peter Thorwarth comedy ¨Nicht mein Tag¨, based on the original story by Ralf Husmann. ¨Stromberg – Der Film¨ has its premiere in February, and the 64th Berlinale will be showing no less than 29 NRW-funded films this year.

International stars and co-productions, German arthouse and entertainment, children’s films, documentaries and, above all, the young cinema from NRW showed once again the great variety existing in the region’s film production, which could be optimally supported in the Filmstiftung’s multi-level funding structure with various juries. 2013 saw funding awarded to such films as Tom Tykwer’s ¨ A Hologram For The King¨ with Tom Hanks, Margarethe von Trotta’s ¨Die abhandene Welt¨, ¨Toni Erdmann¨ by Maren Ade, auteur cinema by Oskar Roehler (¨Punk¨) and Nicolette Krebitz (¨Wild¨), film essays such as Dominik Graf’s ¨ Es werde Stadt¨ or the new documentary by Corinna Belz about  Peter Handke (¨Bin im Wald. Kann sein, dass ich mich verspäte¨). Support was also given to the renowned theatre director Milo Rau with ¨Die Moskauer Prozesse¨, and the director Georg Nonnenmacher’s documentary ¨Raumfahrer¨ has been invited to this year’s Berlinale.

Festivals, awards and nominations

25 films in Berlin, 2 films in Sundance, 2 films in Cannes, 9 films in Munich, 2 films in Venice, 4 films in Locarno, 9 films in Toronto – the year in film was dominated by the premieres of NRW-funded films at all of the important film festivals. Particularly fine successes were celebrated by such films as Amat Escalantes' ¨Heli¨ (Director’s Prize in Cannes, Best Foreign Film in Munich), Philipp Gröning’s ¨The Police Officer’s Wife¨ (Jury Special Prize in Venice), or Yuval Adler’s ¨Bethlehem¨ (Fedeora Award in Venice, six Israel Film Awards). Three NRW-funded films made it to the long list for the candidates for the Foreign Language Film category at the 2014 Oscars: ¨Two Lives¨ (for Germany), ¨Heli¨ (for Mexico) and ¨Bethlehem¨ (for Israel). Daniel Brühl was nominated for numerous prizes, incl. the Golden Globes and the BAFTA Awards.

Admission figures

Currently posting 2.7m admissions, ¨The Physician¨ by Philipp Stölzl was at the top of the box office last week. The children’s film ¨Knight Rusty¨ followed with almost 600,000 admissions, Ron Howard’s ¨Rush¨ with 540,000 admissions, and ¨Ruby Red¨ with over 480,000 admissions. Margarethe von Trotta’s ¨Hannah Arendt¨ was a great success in the arthouse charts with 465,000 admissions, as was Caroline Link’s ¨ Exit Marrakesh¨ with 305,000 admissions and David Sieveking’s documentary ¨Forget Me Not¨ with 110,000 admissions.

Funding of cinemas and digitisation of cinemas

The Film- und Medienstiftung NRW allocated over € 740,000 in cinema funding during 2013. Apart from the support for modernisation measures, no less than € 430,000 were distributed at the Cinema Programming Awards to 69 cinemas in 43 towns throughout NRW. The digitisation of the cinemas in NRW was largely completed in 2013. As part of the federal state’s ¨Digital Media Region NRW¨ initiative, € 2m was also invested in the convresion of 120 cinemas. A total volume of € 2.3m had been applied for here.

TV films and formats

17 TV projects were supported with over € 5m (14% of the overall funding total). Two of the TV events airing in 2013 caused a sensation, in particular. Both of the productions were NRW-funded and partly made here in the region: the three-parter ¨The Adlon¨ (dir: Uli Edel) was top of the German ratings charts for TV films in the first half of the year with a total of 26m viewers (on average, 8.59m viewers per episode). Almost 22m (on average, 7.19m per episode) also saw Philipp Kadelbach’s three-parter ¨Operation War¨ (¨ Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter¨), which not only won numerous prizes (e.g. the German Television Prize), but was also sold to date to more than 80 countries. The year was rounded off with the NRW-produced two-parter ¨Pinocchio¨ by Anna Justice  with 3.67m viewers in total (i.e. 1.84m viewers per episode).

11 show and entertainment formats could be supported through the pilot support programme for innovative TV formats, which was introduced in 2012.  Development plans for series, sitcoms and comedy will be the focus for the forthcoming calls. In this context, one should also mention the funding of the Entertainment Master Class (for sitcoms and comedy) and the establishment of the UFA Lab which is also dedicated to developing innovative content in NRW.

Funding programmes and initiatives for the developing the digital infrastructure

Apart from the feature film and TV projects, the innovative pilot support programmes – launched in 2011 –  are continuing and, in the light of the successful digital industry, the Internet scene has been awarded support for projects boosting the location such as the 10th German Developers Award for computer games, the get-together for developers, the Web Video Award or the Interactive Cologne.

The pilot support programme for innovative audiovisual content was able to back 19 project development measures in the areas of games, mobile and web in its third year. These included the educational game ¨Typoman¨, the online portal ¨10 Billion plus 1¨ on the subject of global nutrition and the web projects ¨24h Jerusalem¨ and ¨ Alaaf you¨, which were also funded as film projects. ¨Conserve the Sound¨, the Internet platform for disappearing sounds by the Essen-based agency Chun & Derksen received the ¨German Cultural Support Prize¨ in 2013. In the three years, a total of 52 projects have received € 1.5m in backing. Following its successful evaluation, the support programme will be continued and further developed in 2014.

Within the framework of the ¨Digital Media NRW¨ innovation programme, a further 15 project ideas could be recommended for funding with a total of € 2.3m. The Film- und Medienstiftung or its subsidiary Mediencluster NRW advises the applicants on this programme and sits on the jury for the federal state’s support programme. Over and above this, the Mediencluster NRW has contributed to building up a network for the games and Internet startup scene, presents the digital hub (gamesco, dmexco, etc.) and organises such startup activities as the ADVANCE Pitching Days.

Location marketing


In 2013, the Filmstiftung presented supported films, the film region of NRW and its producers at the film festivals in Sundance, Rotterdam, Berlin, Cannes, Venice, Locarno, and Toronto, at the Locations trade fair in Santa Monica, Cartoon Forum in Toulouse, and IDFA in Amsterdam. The presentation of the region as a TV hub was the focus at the International Emmys, MIPTV, MIPCOM, and the Rio Content Market. Moreover, the Filmstiftung and the Mediencluster NRW presented the media region of NRW at re:publica, Cologne’s gamescom and the trade fair dmexco which is also held in Cologne. 2014 will see the interactive industries attending  SXSW-South by Southwest in Austin, Texas and the GDC-Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

Events, Conferences and Roundtables

In February, the Filmstiftung had a presence at the Berlinale with the NRW reception and roundtables on VOD platforms and international series. In June, it assumed responsibility for the organisation of the 25th edition of the Media Forum NRW, which was given a new direction under the responsibility of the Mediencluster NRW and expanded the spectrum of issues covered. The 16th Filmschauplätze drew around 10,000 spectators during the summer. In November, the Film and Cinema Conference NRW and the Cinema Programming Awards were also given a revamp, and the Newcomers Day was intergrated into the conference in order to optimise the networking potential.

Funding of festivals

Over and above this, the Filmstiftung funded a wide range of initiatives and activities in the film and media region of NRW: in 2013, the support across different sectors covered 30 festivals, special measures and film presentations and totalled € 526,900 – from public events like the Kinofest Lünen, NRW Cinema Day, CineCologne and the International Women’s Film Festival Dortmund|Cologne through to such professional film events as Filmplus and SoundTrack_Cologne.

Film Commission

The location database of the Film Commission NRW covers over 4,500 locations with 14,500 pictures and is thus the largest of its kind in Germany. Also unique in Europe, the database is the result of a close collaboration between the Film Commission, the film cities and location scouts. In 2014, the Film Commission NRW is planning a location tour in NRW in cooperation with the network to provide film-makers with the chance to find shooting locations and ideas for their projects.  There are currently 38 cities and counties as members in the Film Cities Network NRW.


At the end of 2013, a decision was made to establish a NRW Media Network which will be implemented by the subsidiary Mediencluster NRW. The first tool of the Media Network is the Digital Media Map (DMM), an interactive register of all the companies in NRW’s digital industry. The presentation of the project is planned for mid-March during the SXSW.

Dates in the first half of 2014

  • Three NRW films (incl. ¨Lose My Self¨, ¨Qissa¨) at Rotterdam Film Festival (22.1-2.2.)
  • 2nd Startup Weekend Cologne from 24.-26.1. 100 entrepreneurs devise startup ideas in 54 hours.
  • Shooting: Oskar Roehler begins principal photography on ¨Punk¨ in NRW from the end of January.
  • 29 films at the Berlinale (6.-16.2.), of which 4 films are in Competition (incl. ¨Beloved Sisters¨).
  • Joint reception by the NRW Federal State Government and Filmstiftung on the 1st Sunday of the Berlinale.
  • Arne Feldhusen’s long anticipated ¨Stromberg – Der Film¨ opens on 20.2.
  • SXSW-South by Southwest (7.-16.3.) in San Francisco for the interactive industries.14th lit.COLOGNE (12.-22.3.): three collaborative events will take place on ¨Film meets Literature¨.
  • The Game Developers Conference (GDC) takes place in San Francisco from 17.-21.3.
  • The German MIP  Cocktail will be held at the MIP TV television fair (7.-10.4.) in Cannes.
  • Cannes International Film Festival (14.-25.5.), organisation of the German Pavilion.
  • The Internet scene in Cologne comes together at the Interactive Cologne (19.-25.5.).
  • 26th Media Forum NRW in Cologne, in association with ANGA COM (20. + 21.5.).
  • 4th German Web Video Prize (31.5.), Düsseldorf: awards for innovative works in the field of online video.
  • The Emmy Semi-Final Judgings are held in Cologne during June.
  • Entertainment Master Class: expected to be held again in Cologne in June 2014.

About us

The Film- und Medienstiftung NRW was established in 1991. With an annual funding budget of over € 35m, it is Germany’s cash-richest regional funder. The shareholders are WDR, the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, ZDF, RTL and the regional media authority LfM. The company’s goal is to promote film and media culture as well as the film and media industry in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia. Therefore, the Filmstiftng NRW supports films for cinema and television in all phases of production and exploitation: from the story and project development through producton to distribution and sales. In addition, cinemas are supported. As part and parcel of its responsibility for the film and media region, the institution has interests in several other institutions, e.g. in the ifs international film school cologne, the AV-Gründerzentrum, or in German Films.

In 2011, the Filmstiftung NRW expanded into an integrated funding institution for film and media. Since then, the marketing and development of the production hub are part of its brief together with the support programmes. This has involved the takeover of Medien.NRW Cluster GmbH and an opening up to the funding of innovative and audiovisual media content. Thus, the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW is the central contact for media in NRW.