Charlie Rivkin Remarks at Berlinale on Production Incentives

Charlie Rivkin Remarks at Berlinale on Production Incentives

February 20, 2023

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by MPA Chairman and CEO Charles Rivkin

Thank you, Stefan, for that kind introduction. And thank you to Greenberg Traurig for helping to make today’s event possible.

Hi everyone. Thank you all for being with us today.

On behalf of the Motion Picture Association, I’m delighted to return to Berlinale. This festival is truly one of the world’s most vibrant celebrations of film and one of this city’s countless contributions to culture and society.

I’d like to welcome Hannes Heyelmann, General Manager for the DACH region for for Warner Bros. Discovery, an MPA member, and Martin Moszkowicz, the film producer and executive board chairman of Constantin Film, which is also an ACE member. Thank you both for being here today.

Being back in this city, I’m reminded of the wonderful movie from the late 1990s, Run Lola Run, most of which was produced right here in Berlin. The movie delighted audiences by taking us on a journey – and helping us see our world in new and different ways. It’s a perfect tribute to the transcendent power of cinema, and the unique magic of storytelling. And that’s why I am so honored to lead the Motion Picture Association, the voice of the global film, television and streaming industry.

On a previous visit, I had the opportunity to visit Studio Babelsberg, one of the world’s most iconic and innovative large-scale studios that has worked with MPA members to produce such household names as: Homeland, The Matrix Resurrections, and Inglorious Basterds – to name a few.

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg of the collaboration between MPA members and our European partners. In fact, the studios I represent are expanding everyone’s access to stories from everywhere. Far from just exporting Hollywood content to the world, my members are co-producing and investing in more local-language productions that captivate global audiences. And, as you will hear more today, the explosive growth of exciting series produced here in Germany and throughout Europe is essential to the future of my members’ streaming services.

To tell their stories in ever more authentic and innovative ways, producers must find that perfect location in an incredibly competitive global marketplace of production incentives.

Just in Europe, there are around 40 incentive programs competing for ideas and investment.  And they’re working. They are creating jobs, supporting small businesses, and stimulating tourism.

According to German government data, a total of 115 national and international cinema productions and high-end series were funded in 2021 by the German Film Fund, or DFFF (D-triple-F) and the German Motion Picture Fund (GMPF).

These federal film funds produced incredible returns, generating a record high of more than 740 million euros in subsequent investments in Germany.

Incentive programs also deliver great results for states and cities in my own home country. In scouting a location for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Disney’s Marvel Studios returned to the state of Georgia in part because of its incentive program. And in turn, that blockbuster sequel generated more than $314 million in local economic activity and created more than 1,800 good local jobs.

Likewise, Paramount Pictures returned to California to film another big sequel, Top Gun: Maverick, which added more than $150 million to the state and created almost 3,000 jobs for Californians.

But regardless of where in the world you may want to produce a film or television series, for incentive programs to work, they must be reliable, predictable and have clear and consistent rules and procedures, and they must be open to the full range of film and streaming content.

I recently spoke with Culture Minister Claudia Roth about her vision for the future of film funding in Germany. I am excited about her goal of restoring Germany’s competitiveness and nurturing an attractive investment climate, both for international and local productions. I told her that the MPA looks forward to participating in the process and sharing our perspectives on how to advance flexible and proportionate regulation.

Of course, as every Bayern Munich fan knows well, to win the Champions League you need to play offense as well as defense.  In the context of our industry, that means not only investing in robust incentive programs, but also protecting your intellectual property rights.

The MPA’s anti-piracy coalition, the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, or ACE, is the towering center-back at the heart of our industry’s defense.

In just over five years, ACE, has grown into the world’s largest and most effective anti-piracy coalition, comprising over 50 members from 30 countries.

ACE’s governing board includes all six MPA members, as well as Apple TV+ and Amazon. We are also proud to include key German companies — Constantin Film, RTL Germany, and Studio Babelsberg, among others. Our successes rest on the foundation of MPA’s decades-long partnerships with law enforcement agencies around the world, including Interpol and Europol.

We stand together to defend the rights of creators because creativity is the heartbeat of our industry and a major driver of culture, innovation and economic growth.

And now, let me hand over to Stefan to introduce the panel discussion.