Film und Medien Stiftung NRWNewsPressThe Film- und Medienstiftung NRW turns 30!

The Film- und Medienstiftung NRW turns 30!

  • Founded in 1991, 9,555 projects supported with over 930 million Euros
  • 2,600 feature films, TV movies and series with around 775 million Euros and over 1.5 billion Euros economic effect
  • 169 German Film Awards, 50 European Film Awards, 12 Bears, 2 Lions, 2 Palme d’Or, 1 Oscar, 15 Oscar nominations and 40 box-office millionaires
  • Award-winning TV: 2 Emmys, 46 Grimme and 30 German Television Awards
  • 30 years of supporting cinemas, 20 years of Gerd Ruge grants and 7 years of Wim Wenders grants
  • 10 years of games funding,  with its own guidelines since 2019 and 3 million Euros annually
  • Series development funding since 2012, web video scholarships since 2014
  • On the agenda: gender, diversity, green shooting and Coronavirus aid programmes  

On February 27, 1991, North Rhine-Westphalia joined forces with WDR to become the first German state to establish the Filmstiftung NRW with the aim of promoting film culture and the film industry. Its shareholders soon also included ZDF (1997) and RTL (2002),  as well as the regional media watchdog LfM (until 2016 ). In the 30 years since its founding, the Filmstiftung has supported 9,555 projects with more than 930 million Euros, including 2,600 feature films and TV movies and series with around 775 million Euros. North Rhine-Westphalia has become one of Europe’s leading film and media hubs. To date, more than 1.5 billion Euros have flowed back into the location via the regional effect, providing for employment and business for studios, service providers and creative professionals, etc. In 2011, the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW became a cross-media funding institution and has since also taken on responsibility for marketing and developing the region for the media sector. Since opening up to new media, it has supported the development of games, innovative content and platform-independent series, as well as the production of games with its own funding guidelines since 2019.

Petra Müller, CEO of the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW: "The Film- und Medienstiftung NRW is turning 30! We are now looking back on three decades in which North Rhine-Westphalia became one of the leading film and media hubs in Germany and Europe. We are looking back on great feature films, TV movies and series, we are pleased about games and new media content and that, by supporting them, we have now contributed to the media region’s continued innovative development for more than 10 years. The fact that we can do all this is thanks to the trust and commitment of our shareholders and the reliable political support from the federal state. But this development would certainly not have been possible without the ideas and passion of our producers and creatives, and without the skill and enthusiasm of our service providers, distributors and exhibitors. They deserve our heartfelt thanks! A lot has been achieved together, the current challenges are great, but we look forward with confidence!"

Armin Laschet, Prime-Minister North Rhine-Westphalia: "For the past 30 years, the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW has been putting its heart and soul into caring for one of the most beautiful and versatile cultural assets we have – films can make you laugh, make you cry, they educate, they enlighten, they document. The Film- und Medienstiftung’s important work as a funder has helped make North Rhine-Westphalia into the top location for film and media in Europe. Together, we will continue working on creating the best conditions for filmmakers, as well as for developers and creatives from the games industry. Congratulations on three decades of success."

Tom Buhrow, WDR Director-General and ARD Chairman: "30 years of the Film- und Medienstiftung in North Rhine-Westphalia – that’s 30 years of creative and cooperative partnership and a long list of jointly financed feature films, TV events and documentaries. This successful commitment stretches from the first project to be funded – 'Schtonk' – through to current feature films such as 'Enfant Terrible' or 'Je suis Karl', and includes TV events like 'Unsere wunderbaren Jahre' or documentaries such as 'Loveparade – die Verhandlung'. And it is precisely in such difficult times that we cannot slacken our efforts to promote NRW as a media hub. Together, we will continue to fight for film and television as both a cultural and economic factor, and we’re looking forward to that just as much as we are to the first premieres in cinemas operating again to full capacity."

Dr. Thomas Bellut, Director-General of ZDF: "I would like to offer my sincere congratulations on 30 years of the Filmstiftung NRW. A success story that would certainly land in the blockbuster category as a feature film. What began as an important building block in the development of a media hub has become an indispensable part of the German media landscape. The Filmstiftung NRW has been an indispensable constant particularly in these difficult times for the culture industries. We are pleased that ZDF has been able to contribute as a shareholder and creative partner since the beginning, and we are proud of our many joint successes, such as 'Berlin Alexanderplatz', 'The German Lesson' or 'Undine'. A big thank you to Petra Müller and her outstanding team."

Jörg Graf, Managing Director RTL Television: "Congratulations on the 30th anniversary! The Film- und Medienstiftung NRW has made a decisive contribution to the development of the film and media region of NRW. It has been the case particularly in these difficult times that the fund has been providing targeted support for the creative industry to help it master the current challenges. Personally, I’m delighted that the Film- und Medienstiftung now offers Germany’s first degree programme in entertainment through its subsidiary ifs. A heartfelt thank you for this and for the funding of many story ideas that has found a large audience at RTL and the other stations in the media group. We look forward to continuing the journey together in the future."


Milestones from 30 years of film funding
The first funding went to Helmut Dietl’s "Schtonk" in 1991, which went on to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film. Til Schweiger and Jan Josef Liefers travelled through the region to Wuppertal in the road movie "Knockin' on Heaven’s Door" and delivered one of the first German box-office successes. Tom Tykwer’s "Run Lola Run" set new national and international standards for young German filmmaking, and Sönke Wortmann’s "The Miracle of Bern" is representative of NRW like no other. Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s "Amélie From Montmartre" established the tradition of major international co-productions at the MMC studios in Cologne, and one of the highlights was Philipp Stölzl’s "The Physician" with Sir Ben Kingsley. Barbara Sukowa taught as "Hannah Arendt" for Margarethe von Trotta at the University of Cologne, Maren Ade received an Oscar nomination for "Toni Erdmann," which she partly shot in Aachen, and Caroline Link in turn filmed Hape Kerkeling’s childhood memoir "All About Me" throughout NRW and Andreas Dresen’s “Gundermann“ cleared six Lolas. Internationally successful documentaries include Wim Wenders' Oscar-nominated "Pina," "Gerhard Richter – Painting" by Corinna Belz and Sebastian Dehnhardt’s portrait of the Klitschko brothers.

Awards and box-office successes: 169 Lolas, 50 European Film Awards, 12 Bears, 2 Lions, 2 Golden Palms, 1 Oscar, 15 Oscar nominations and 40 box-office millionaires
The convincing creative record is also reflected in box-office success and awards. These include 15 Oscar nominations (including "Amélie From Montmartre," "Pina," "Mustang," "Toni Erdmann" and, most recently, "Never Look Away"), an Oscar ("The Reader"), 12 Berlinale Bears, 2 Golden Palms and 11 other main prizes in Cannes, 2 Golden Lions and 7 other main prizes in Venice, 49 European Film Awards and 169 German Film Awards. 40 productions supported by the Filmstiftung became million-sellers, including the German film with the highest number of admissions, "Manitou’s Shoe" (11.6 million admissions), and box-office successes such as "7 Dwarves – Men Alone in the Woods" (6.8 million), "Good Bye, Lenin! (6.5 million), "The Physician" (3.63 million) and "All About Me" (3.9 million).
The Filmstiftung-backed TV productions were also extremely successfu with 46 Grimme Awards, 30 German Television Awards and 2 International Emmys for "Die Manns" and "Generation War," and top ratings for "Contergan" and "Gladbeck". In 2012, the portfolio was expanded to include development funding for serial formats. Specific funding for high-end series was increased in 2018 , which has been particularly successful in the case of the hit series "Babylon Berlin" now seen in 140 countries.

Games funding and innovative media content
In 2011, the funding programme for the development of digital content (games, apps, web video) was launched. With the doubling of funding to 3 million Euros per year and new guidelines in 2019, the course has been set for the creation of a successful games hub. Creative developments from NRW include award-winning games and apps such as "Squirrel&Bär" (the Good Evil), "Typoman" (Brainseed Factory), the "Fiete" series (Ahoiii Entertainment) or "OMNO" (Studio Inkyfox). Events such as Clash of Realities, the Next Level Festival for Games, the German Developer Award or even the state government’s Games Summit bring the industry together in Cologne each year.

Promoting cinema diversity in NRW
With 893 screens (total in Germany: 4,929), NRW is Germany’s number one region for cinema. The Filmstiftung has provided funding of 14.3 million Euros since 1991 for a total of 474 cinema modernisations and new construction programmes. Over the past 30 years, dedicated exhibitors have also been awarded the NRW Cinema Programming Prize every year – a total of 1,611 awards totaling 12.4 million Euros since 1991. In the light of the Coronavirus crisis, the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW will continue its efforts to preserve cinema culture.

Location marketing and development

Successful commitment to young talent
The ifs internationale filmschule köln was founded in 2000 on the initiative of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Filmstiftung as an industry-related training and further education institution. The Filmstiftung recently initiated Germany’s first master’s degree programme for entertainment there, with courses starting in autumn 2021. The Filmstiftung is committed to supporting young talent with annual funding of up to 5 million Euros, including the funding of graduation films and debuts ; it awards the Gerd Ruge Scholarship for documentary filmmakers, the Wim Wenders Scholarship for innovative filmmaking and the Baumi Script Development Award since 2016. The funding programmes for digital and interactive content, the Web Video Fellowship and the Creator College NRW are aimed at young creators in the digital media scene.

Visibility for the film and media region at home and abroad
In addition, the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW presents the film and media region nationally and internationally at such important industry events as the film festivals in Berlin, Cannes, Venice and Toronto, as well as international trade fairs such as the MIP and gamescom; it supports festivals such as the Film Festival Cologne, the Kino Film Fest Lünen, the International Women’s Film Fest Dortmund + Cologne or the German Developer Award. It is also responsible for such events as the FilmSchauPlätze NRW, the NRW Film and Cinema Conference, the NRW-Dokutag, the European Series Day, the Hörspielpreis der Kriegsblinden, the Siegfried Kracauer-Preis and many more.

On the agenda

Gender, diversity and green production
Gender equality and diversity are at the top of the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW’s agenda. For example, it has been supporting research projects on "Audiovisual Diversity", funding such programmes as "Into the Wild" as well as the action platform Womenize!, the "NRW Promotion Award for Young Women Developers" and the games industry’s Call for Change Summit as part of devcom. The "Diversity Summit", which had been planned for 2020, is to be held as soon as possible. Another important concern is green production. The additional costs for green shooting are therefore included in the funding programme, with this step also supported by a joint resolution of the film funders since 2017. In 2020, a joint declaration for sustainable film and series production was signed by all the national and regional funding bodies with representatives from the broadcasters and trade associations. In May 2020, the German Film Commissions of the state funders jointly launched the free webinar series "Keen to be green."

2020: Coronavirus aid programmess for cinemas, producers and distributors
With a funding volume of 40 million Euros, 2019 was the most successful year in the history of the Film- und Medienstiftung. 2020 was then all about the Coronavirus pandemic. As early as March, the national and regional film funders had developed a joint aid programme for production, distribution and cinema with a total volume of 15 million Euros. In addition, the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW launched an emergency aid package for those NRW cinemas that had won the Cinema Programming Award and a programme for supporting development. The state of NRW also provided a total of 21 million Euros for the insurance schemes I and II to safeguard film, TV and streaming productions. The "Film ab NRW" programme supports cinemas with a further 15 million Euros.

About the fund
The Film- und Medienstiftung NRW supports feature films, TV movies and series, games and web content, the modernisation of cinemas, the development of radio plays and much more. Location marketing and development as well as the presentation of the media region at home and abroad have also been among its central tasks since 2011. As part of its responsibility for the film and media region, it also holds investments relevant to the hub:  theses include ifs internationale filmschule köln, Mediengründerzentrum NRW, Mediencluster NRW/Mediennetzwerk.NRW. The Film- und Medienstiftung NRW’s funding partners are ProSiebenSat.1, and MagentaTV and Sky (since 2020).  Low budget productions are funded by a jury named by Filmbüro NW. The founding CEO was Frank Hübner (1991-1992), followed by Dieter Kosslick (1992-2001) and Michael Schmid-Ospach (2001-2010). Petra Müller has been managing the affairs of the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW since the end of 2010.


For more information:

Tanja Güss
Film- und Medienstiftung NRW GmbH
Kaistr. 14
40221 Düsseldorf