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Austrian producers welcome massive financial increase for film and television incentive schemes

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Source: Nikolett Kustos/Amazon Prime

‘Followers’

Austrian producers have welcomed the government’s plans to increase the overall budget for the FISA+ and OFI+ film and TV incentive schemes to more than EUR130m in 2024, to support both local production and to attract international film and TV production shoots.

The OFI+ scheme, which is administered by the Austrian Film Institute (OFI) as an extension of its funding portfolio, supports national Austrian productions and Austrian majority or minority co-productions, is set to see its budget increase by EUR24.4m from the original allocation of EUR15.5m for 2023 to EUR 39.9m next year.

Meanwhile, the FISA+ scheme, targeted at international service productions for TV, streaming and cinema and operated under the auspices of the federal ministry for labour and economy, is expected to have its budget more than quadruple from this year’s EUR22m to EUR 94m in 2024.

Eligible productions can receive a 30% grant on the Austrian spend plus a 5% green filming bonus, with the maximum funding per project pegged at EUR5m for films and EUR7.5m for series.

“This is a clear signal Austria can continue to develop positively as a film location and the goals of the incentive model will be achieved in the medium and long term,” said producer Alexander Dumreicher-Ivanceanu, chairman of Film & Music Austria, the trade association at Austria’s Chamber of Commerce.

These goals include boosting Austrian creativity, the sustainable creation of new jobs, and the promotion of gender equality within the film industry.

The two incentive schemes had already surpassed the industry’s most optimistic expectations after just the first six months of operations, with more than EUR40m paid out in grants and over EUR120m generated as Austrian spend until the end of June.

International productions supported to date by FISA+ have included HBO Europe’s The Palace starring Kate Winslet, David Schalko’s six-part miniseries Kafka, and Amazon Prime’s first Austrian horror series Followers.

Meanwhile, funding from the OFI+ scheme has been awarded to local productions including Anita Lackenberger’s 1970s-set drama Elfi, and Bernhard Wenger’s debut feature, the satirical tragicomedy Peacock, starring Albrecht Schuch and Julia Franz Richter. Eva Romen’s second feature Happyland is now in production for Dumreicher-Ivanceanu’s company Amour Fou at locations in Vienna and Lower Austria until the end of October.

Backing has also come from OFI+ for minority co-productions as diverse as Michael Kofler’s South Tyrol-set drama Second Hand Land (Zweitland), which was presented at the European Work in Progress (EWIP) platform in Cologne last week, Sabine Hiebler’s road movie 80 Plus, and Finnish director Klaus Haro’s World War II drama Never Alone which is shooting at locations in Finland and Estonia and was the winner of the Screen International Best Pitch Award at the Baltic Event in 2011.

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