Stuttgart manifesto

Over recent years, the situation for the animated film industry in Germany has significantly deteriorated. Animated features for adults are extremely scarce, and on television, virtually non-existent.Children, who make up at least 13 % of the population in Germany, are catered to by the two public broadcasters:

ARD and ZDF, using a generous 1% of the funds brought in by the licence fee.
And even that 1% is dominated by cheaply licenced product from other countries. We can not and will not stand by and watch this situation get even worse. Our research, as well as posing many questions within the industry itself, has formed the basis for six main issues, which we want to raise for discussion.


Fair and trusting relationships, and market-based pay for industry professionals are essential for good movies and good television.The diversity of the programming should be served by the contribution of public funds. These funds are not there to acquire vastly overpriced sports broadcasting rights or to contribute to the pensions of public broadcaster employees.We ask ARD and ZDF, to provide the long overdue transparency with regard to their budgets, programming and commissioning. The public broadcasters need to meet their economic responsibilities by ensuring, through their commissions, that far more animation production takes place within their own country.


It is clearly written in the national broadcasting treaty that ARD and ZDF have a duty to promote and maintain a diversity of cultural identity.This has been a topic of discussion for many years, but we believe this also applies to private as well as public broadcasters. Unfortunately, those responsible within the television stations are not willing to move towards making significant changes. We therefore propose that at least half of the animation productions on German television must come from German producers.


The relationship between broadcasters and programme providers needs to be based upon fair and transparent business principles. These “ terms of trade „, have for example, long been in use in the UK.From helping with everyday problems during the production process (for example set dates for sign off decisions ), through clearly defined profit margins (a „production fee“ of 15 %) right up to minimum royalty sums, fixed license periods, fair division of rights and acceptable revenue sharing. We propose that ARD and ZDF, establish such guidelines for the animation film industry and to observe them.


The German animation industry enjoys excellent international networks, yet many international co-productions are never fully realised, failing to materialise simply because of lack of support from ARD and ZDF.Without the cooperationof a broadcaster, animation producers have little or no chance to receive film funding, especially as the TV stations have influential links in this area, personally as well as proffessionally. There is a serious conflict of interest here which threatens not just the livelihoods of animation filmmakers, but also the artistic diversity of the industry itself. We believe that television representatives have no place in such funding committees.


Within the planning and program guidelines of German TV stations, the word “ animation “ seldom appears, unless in the field of children’s films, and even then only as marginal programming. Animated films for adults simply don’t exist at all.The broadcasters are simply not fulfilling their obligations to programming diversity called for in the broadcasting treaty. This is justified, among other things, by the apparent high cost of animation, when in fact, fictional live-action programmes often cost significantly more than their equivalent animated films.  We therefore call on the TV stations, to create fixed schedules within their main programmes, to showcase Animation for adults.


Animation and children’s films seem to have no lobby in Germany, and the monitoring and advisory function of the broadcasters‘ supervisory bodies – the television and broadcasting councils – appear to be at best, inadequate.In fact, their committees should reflect the breadth and diversity of our society and its interests. We strongly suggest therefore that these bodies should all include at least one industry representative, and that the treaties and broadcasting laws be accordingly revised, to address the points put forward in this manifesto.
Stuttgart, 26.4.2013