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news overview > Plans to cut municipal subsidies threaten the continuation of the Oldenburg Film Festival

Plans to cut municipal subsidies threaten the continuation of the Oldenburg Film Festival

15.03.12

The majority factions in Oldenburg’s city council are threatening the future of the Oldenburg International Film Festival with their recently revealed budget cuts. A first draft of the administration had provided the festival with funding of 95.000 Euros, but SPD and Die Grünen want to cut 45.000 Euros from that bill. Finance committee chairwoman Margrit Conty (SPD) argued that a subsidy of 3 Euros per ticket sold should be adequate for the Festival.

Festival director, Torsten Neumann, questions this calculation, pointing out that other cultural institutions receive substantially greater public funding “per visitor”. Even the original funding proposed by the administration would only equate to a support of roughly 6 Euros per visitor – a figure that is firmly below the lowest percentile given to festivals, theatres or museums elsewhere. He sees the equation of Margrit Conty as proof of the shocking disrespect paid to the Festival, and revealing of her personal lack of interest in regional culture and its value. Especially as a look at the cost-value ratio of the Festival tells a different story.

Last year alone, the Festival spent more than 220.000 Euros locally. For every Euro granted by Oldenburg in 2011, the Festival put three Euros back into the local economy. Thus, the Festival is not only of cultural importance but is also an economically sound and prosperous investment for the city.

Two years ago, the Festival Director discussed in detail the consequences of any further reduction in public funding. Therefore, these proposed cuts in funding knowingly threaten the continued existence of the Festival, as the established level of excellence can no longer be sustained. The Festival survived the 2010 crisis, by finding new means of funding and different avenues of growth. The proposed cuts, however, negate any of the increases achieved by last year’s changes and do not reflect the regional importance of this cultural enterprise. The funding cuts threaten the established networks, and are in no way a sound utilization of tax money, but a waste of hitherto sensible investments for Oldenburg and its citizens. If these changes come to pass there will be no Oldenburg Film Festival in 2013.

The council will vote on the 2012 budget on March 19th, so the SPD/Die Grünen plans are still conditional.