Funding for Independent Films Dries Up

We need government help, say small-budget movie-makers
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2009 5:03 PM CST
U.S. director Todd Solondz .   (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
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(Newser) – With no public funding and credit lines frozen, American independent filmmakers are finding it tough to make a movie these days. “I mean if Osama bin Laden gave me money to film, I’d take it,” Todd Solondz tells Bloomberg. The financial crisis has heavily curbed bank financing, while hedge funds have almost completely abandoned the film industry. The two sources previously accounted for about 60% of funding.

American directors lament that their European counterparts can get government support to cover nearly half their budgets, especially if they film in more than one country. Many states offer generous tax breaks, but no cash up front. As a result, US film production has fallen 26% since 2005 to 520 films, while European production rose 9% over the same period 1,145. “It’s a political understanding in Europe that film is a cultural product and needs public support," says one German producer.