German film festival funding by the Goethe-Institut discontinued

International Short Film Festival Oberhausen

The International Short Film Festival Oberhausen criticises the discontinuation of film festival funding by the Goethe-Institut

The cost-cutting measures that the German Foreign Office has decided to implement with the Goethe-Institut under the title "strategy for the future" in the sense of a "comprehensive transformation" and "focusing" which were announced on 28 September 2023 include the termination of film festival funding, which had just been transferred from the administration of the German Foreign Office to the Goethe-Institut. The design of the Goethe-Institut’s film festival funding had already met with criticism from film festivals because expectations had been raised among hundreds of film festivals in Germany that could not even be rudimentarily satisfied with the available funds. Moreover, direct funding for cultural workers from countries with so-called "weak currencies " was changed to funding for projects in Germany. Now all film festival funding is being cancelled without replacement.

"International cultural programmes" in other fields, which have remained in the Foreign Office, are not affected. The Foreign Minister lets head of department Ralf Beste explain: "It is good and important that the Goethe-Institut is now taking this reform in hand and thus strengthening its ability to act."

As a result, Oberhausen can offer far fewer guests from countries with “weak currencies” the opportunity to visit Germany. Lars Henrik Gass, director of the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, comments the decision: "The international film festivals in Germany make an important contribution to understanding between cultures. The Federal Foreign Office and the Goethe-Institut sacrifice this international cultural exchange to geopolitical interests and the financing of military aid. The transfer of film festival funding to the Goethe-Institut was linked to the promise of a professional strengthening and further development, not the prospect of a liquidation. We therefore demand the reintegration of film festival funding into the Foreign Office under the conditions known so far."

Oberhausen, 11 October 2023

Press contact: Sabine Niewalda, phone +49 (0)208 825-3073, niewalda(at)