The heart of the new model is a non-repayable subsidy of 30 percent per project implemented in Austria, which can increase by a further 5 percent if ecological criteria are met. In contrast to previous constructions, the system itself is not capped in order to prevent funding pots from being exhausted over the course of a year. In total, the annual funding is estimated to be in the high double-digit millions. However, the maximum subsidy is 5 million euros per film and 7.5 million euros per series. Finally, for the first time, streaming productions will also be funded with the new system.
Specifically, the future will be based on three pillars. For international service productions, there are grants under the title FISA+, which are processed by the Austria Wirtschaftsservice (aws). Production service companies based in Austria that are involved in the corresponding project or its completion can apply for this.
The FISA+ system is also responsible for domestic television and streaming projects that are not commissioned by broadcasters or video on-demand services if the total budget is over 1.8 million euros. Productions with less money remain in the television fund. It is even possible to go over the 35 percent subsidy with an Austria bonus, announced Media Minister Susanne Raab (ÖVP): “The Austria bonus will be issued if there is above-average added value in Austria.”
And finally, domestic cinema films will in future only go to the Austrian Film Institute, where funding will now be handled centrally under the title ÖFI+. The previously necessary additional trip to the film location Austria (FISA) is no longer necessary. “This is a one-stop shop,” emphasized Secretary of State for Culture Andrea Mayer (Greens): “With this incentive model, we are making Austria internationally competitive.”
“Overall, we have some catching up to do,” said Finance Minister Magnus Brunner (ÖVP) when presenting the model at the Federal Chancellery. With the existing funding instruments, one is no longer up to date and Austria has recently fallen behind, which one now wants to change again: “It is important that the value creation takes place in Austria.”
Economics Minister Martin Kocher (ÖVP) was also impressed by the agreed construct: “This is a result that is impressive.” There will be a simpler model in the future, with which one can once again join the European canon. Before that, there was a short-term increase in the Filmstandort Austria (FISA) funding scheme, which will now expire at the end of the year, since its annual funds of EUR 7.5 million were already completely exhausted in the first quarter. Here they are now increasing by EUR 2 million, according to Kocher.
The professional association of the film and music industry in the Chamber of Commerce was very happy about the new regulation. “I’m really happy,” said Chairman Alexander Dumreicher-Ivanceanu to APA, who was completely satisfied with the model: “It’s a real precision landing!” The real sensation is that the funding track itself is not capped. In the future there will no longer be a race about who will be the first to submit an application. “Instead, you’re releasing the brakes on creative potential,” says Dumreicher-Ivanceanu. And last but not least, the green bonus of 5 percent is also unique in Europe: “Austria is a pioneer here.” This can accelerate the necessary changeover in the industry towards climate neutrality.
WKÖ President Harald Mahrer also welcomed the construction: “The new incentive system for our film and creative industries is a win-win situation to strengthen Austria as a film location, because: Every euro invested in Austrian film comes back many times over – through more Added value and jobs in Austria, through sustainable tourism effects, through positive structural effects in the film industry and through sales effects in the supplier companies and in the entire value chain.”
“An almost historic milestone” stated Roland Teichmann, Director of the Austrian Film Institute. You now have a well-balanced model that can be used to increase the competitiveness of the production site: “This means that the model, which is open-ended and does not have a budgetary cap, is a real game changer that is changing the domestic film industry right now after the long dry spell caused by the pandemic and the associated upheavals in the financing and realization market and provides planning security.”
The Austrian film festival Diagonale also approved the announced model on Tuesday. “We are pleased that film and cultural policy steps are finally being taken in this country, which can also be seen as economic policy measures – a long overdue and central step to keep Austrian film internationally compatible,” said the artistic director duo Sebastian Höglinger and Peter Schernhuber in a broadcast.