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Crazy: German Government Pays for Tom Cruise Movie

New York Times:
A German film fund will grant subsidies worth $6.5 million to Tom Cruise’s new film, “Valkyrie,” Reuters reported. The grant, from a fund with an annual film-subsidy budget of $82 million, exceeds the total cost of most German movies. Last week the German government barred the filmmakers from using a location where the military officer portrayed by Mr. Cruise was executed for a failed attempt to assassinate Hitler. A spokesman for the German government said that Mr. Cruise’s affiliation with Scientology had nothing to do with that decision.
Germany has too much money, it seems: Reuters reports that "money falls from sky" these days in Germany.

Last week's post Scientology: Tom Cruise Banned from Filming in Berlin? received 38 comments, many of them very interesting.
Related: EU Shows European Sex on Youtube

Isn't it crazy that European governments subsidize movies? US taxes would never be used to finance American movies, I believe. Some US filmmakers get the right to film on government property, and some get support from the Pentagon (using military hardware), but they don't get money.

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Volker on :

Why? They finance operas, theaters and the Bundeswehr, why not films too. Come on "Der Schuh des Manitou" was heavily subsidized by the Bavarian film fund and how would the world be without cowboys talking with a Bavarian accent?

Pat Patterson on :

Generally it is the individual states that take the lead in providing financial incentives to film companies. In a few cases there is money spent directly on attracting the business; junkets, location scouting reports, liason to local authorities are just a few. But the main incentive is simply tax breaks, on the actual making of the film, waived fees, free security and often the savings associated with filming in right-to-work states. Las year the film industry earned some $30 billion dollars on film production in California and they received in return almost $4.5 billion back on tax incentives and rebates. This link is two years old but fairly typical of the efforts, excluding direct grants, that states and municipalities will go to get film studios to film locally. [url]http://www.usatoday.com/money/media/2005-07-22-movie-taxes_x.htm?csp=34[/url] Many studios are very aware of the huge amounts of negative publicity they endured when it was found that Bertolucci's The Last Emperor was funded by the Chinese People's Army and was released only months before Tiananmen Square or that Attenborough's Gandhi was advertised as getting money from the Indian government but later was found out that some of that money came from the BNP. So the studios today have some qualms about grants but only because of the potential embarassment that money could cause.

Don S on :

Is that a Karl May story, Volker? ;) Yes. I find it amusign to learn that German cowboys are so much better at doing all the cowboy things than us skanky degenerates. Not to mention infinately more noble of course.... That is why we should always do everything which Germans tell us to - and nothing else! ;)

Don S on :

I don't understand the subsidy at all. Whether for the Cruise film or any other film, particularly Hollywood films. German taxpayers pay some of the highest rates on earth - how about a bit of tax relief? Or if you don't care to do that, then increase the defense budget so you're allies stop thinking of you as free-loaders?

Anonymous on :

In English [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Der_Schuh_des_Manitu[/url]

Zyme on :

God I canīt hear this anymore. Whenever Germany increased its defense budget in the last century, you americans didnīt like the idea. Taking this into consideration, chances are high that you wonīt like it the next time either :D

Pat Patterson on :

Except for immediately preceeding WWI and WWII when did the US complain that Germany had increased its defense spending. Its only recently that Germany again come close to honoring its NATO commitment regarding defense spending. In fact it would be nice if Germany at least stopped cutting its budget relative to its GDP. since 1989 Germany has gone from 2.9% to the current 1.8% (or 1.6%, there seems to be some argument over the exact figure). Even better would be that Germany spent the NATO average of 2.2% of GDP. As I have argued before Germany must solve this conumdrum; How to be a world power with only a regional reach of its military?

Axel on :

It's not so crazy at all. The money for "Valkyrie" comes from the German Federal Film Fund (DFFF), a new 60-million-euro annual subsidy budget for films. To qualify, projects have to involve a German producer and be at least partially made in Germany. Studio Babelsberg, a film studio near Berlin, has signed a cooperation agreement with United Artists Entertainment. So the idea is not to pay for "Hollywood movies" but to make Germany a more attractive production location for major international productions and to boost the German film industry. [i]How about a bit of tax relief?[/i] In 2006, German authorities received 446.139 billion euros in tax revenues. The DFFF is 60 million euros. That's 0,01 percent...

Zyme on :

Well there seems to be a reasoned concept behind the spending. While less is spent on maintenance of older equipment and the infrastructure in Germany, the spending on the development of new weapon systems has increased considerably on each military sector. Should a conflict become imminent, the mass production of these systems can be started quickly - but the development of new systems cannot be achieved at the same speed. So this small scale approach is far better than maintaining a broad range of military that has only average technological abilities.

Volker on :

Don, weren't most, or many, texans in the late 19th century of german origion. But to be true I prefer Cooper, he was bloodier.

Pat Patterson on :

That explanation, though reasonable, is less than reassuring. Modern weaponry is simply not mass produced. Germany, and the US for that matter does not have the kinds of war production administrations that oversee civilian to war production any more though the US does have the ability to supercede foreign contracts made with the defense industry. Can Germany do this without enabling legislation? Old equipment becomes more expensive as it ages, or like in Canada, simply falls out of the sky due to poor maintinence. New equipment is never ready on time, witness the Osprey or the Eurofighter, and costs many times over the original budget. I don't think many Germans would be happy to learn that say ten years after the Russians interdict fuel supplies that the military now has the equipment to defend national interests. Could Germany even mount a raid that, unlike Mogadishu, would not get stalled because a Lufthansa flight to the UAE took of before the GSG9s connecting flight arrived?

Pat Patterson on :

Lots of Germans(16 and 1/2%), and those claiming German descent, in Texas of the late 19th Century but most of those were farmers. The cowboys and the earlier slave owners from the mid-century were primarily of Scottish, Scots-Irish (Ulstermen) and Mexican descent.

Volker on :

Hmm, I always wondered why they, after riding for days through the desert, drank whiskey, now I know! ;)

Zyme on :

"Can Germany do this without enabling legislation?" Do you have any idea what would happen when the "Verteidigungsfall" is announced? I guess nobody does. But certainly legislative problems would vanish. As soon as the regained patriotism can be extended to military production via the media, anything goes. The politicians would simply have to create a feeling of "striking back" to defend our country. This always works best. "Modern weaponry is simply not mass produced." Thatīs a point - but has not the required time for researching new systems increased equally since the times of mass produced weaponry? :) Germany is the worldīs biggest producer of machinery. As soon as the private industries are adjusted, the war-machinery should get moving.

Pat Patterson on :

Eli Whitney promised the US Army, in 1798, 10,000 muskets with interchangeable parts to be delivered by 1800. Delivery was in 1809 with almost half the parts being made by hand not by machine. The predecessor to the M1A1 was originally designed and contract signed in 1969 for delivery of the first 550 by 1976. 200 were delivered by 1980 but they had done so badly in field testing that the current model, M1A1, was already being designed. It wasn't delivered to the Army for deployment till 1985. So it appears that delivery on new systems has gotten worse over the last 200 years not better. The Eurofighter has an even worse history, discussions began in 1992 and an initial design was approved in 1996. Over 362 were to be delivered and operational by 2002 but as of today only 114 are operational. Almost 8 years was wasted in arguments over where its main anti-aircraft and anti-radar missile was to be made and as a result the current operational models had to be reconfigured for an off the shelf version from Raytheon. Whatever happens, hopefully nothing, the US will fight with its current inventory while other systems are still working their way through design, construction and testing. Germany may plan for new weapons but to imagine that production and deployment can be speeded up is dangerously wishful thinking. Germany, to paraphrase Sec. Rumsfeld, will have to fight with the weapons it has not the ones it wants to use.

Zyme on :

Those new systems donīt only exist on paper. By supplying the forces with these systems on a small scale, most of them are already available and are tested thoroughly. The first stealth submarines and a new frigate class have been delievered as well as a new mobile artillery vehicle introduced. Nothing hints at the fact that these are not ready to use. The eurofighter is a different subject, true. But this is mainly due to the fact that it is a supra-national project. Itīs too bad we are linked with half of europe in this regard. So we will certainly have to solve these problems. Apart from the aircraft, the other sectors are not having comparable problems.

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