Outstanding Films for Children

The Initiative

The initiative is a nationwide funding model created by public broadcasters, regional and national film funders, and representatives of the film business and politicians. The aim is to increase the quantity and quality of children’s films, which are not based on a brand or bestselling novel, but offer original and valuable stories for children from 6 to 12+ years set in the here and now (see “definition”).

The partners of the initiative assigned Förderverein Deutscher Kinderfilm e.V. (Association for the Promotion of German Children’s Film). It is an independent non-profit association founded in 1978, which represents the lobby of children’s media, organizes qualification workshops and networking events for professionals.

All partners meet once a year for a round table. The “inner circle” (see “financing”) regularly holds additional telephone conferences.

The Funding

The call for entry is once a year, producers and writers apply together. First, they hand in a treatment, a dialogue scene and a producer’s statement. A jury selects up to six projects which will receive 20.000 EUR for the author and 5.000 EUR for the producer to develop the story into a script for TV and/or cinema.

After nine months they hand in the screenplay with additional material (cast and crew, budget plan, locations, marketing strategy etc.) to apply for further funding.

Then, the “group of financiers” selects projects, which will be produced in the same year by getting production funding and financial cooperation of a broadcaster.

For scripts which need more time, a project development phase, financed for one year, can be provided.

Furthermore, there are a number of extra measures to raise the attention for “Outstanding Films for Children”, for example advanced distribution funding, guaranteed TV slots and cooperation on marketing and communication with the broadcasters.


The initiative was launched in February 2013. Three months later more than 100 applications were received – from all over Germany, all kinds of genres, writers and production companies. Nine months later six funded projects were developed into screenplays, all prepared with a budget, plan for shooting, location and cast, a potential director and marketing plan. Out of these six two projects have been selected by the financiers for production, both equipped with a budget of approx. 2.4 Million Euro. The first project started shooting in summer 2014 and hit the cinemas in April 2015.

Today, we have three movies in cinemas and TV – all decorated by numerous awards and worldwide festival tours. AT EYE LEVEL, the initiative’s third movie, won the most prestigious award of German film business: German Film Award for Best Children’s Film. The first film, WINNETOU’S SON aired in October 2016 in the public children’s TV KIKA with the impressive market share of 22.5% (which means about 0.31 Million children between 3 and 13 years). The second film FORTUNE FAVORS THE BRAVE was released in May 2016 and aired in autumn 2017. Two films are in post-production (one of them as the first international co-production) and two more in preparation for shooting in spring 2019.

Also declined projects are now making their way by applying for regular funding. So, the total number of original films for children is already rising.

The network of partners has been constantly growing over the last five years. All in all the initiative now has 26 partners, 17 of them are financiers including 7 broadcasters (see “list of partners”).

The sixth call of entry ended in March 2018. With about 40 projects handed in the number of applications is stable.


The initiative itself is funded by five partners – two broadcasters, two funders and the Free State of Thuringia – which form the “inner circle” and equally share the overhead budget. They have a contract with Förderverein Deutscher Kinderfilm e.V.

The jury for the script funding consists of funders and broadcasters (plus observing associations) who are potentially interested in financing a project for script development. After selecting up to six projects, each one is funded by one institution.

For the further funding all potential financiers come together once a year to select scripts for project development and production. For project development one funder, which will provide the budget (25.000 – 40.000 EUR), and one broadcaster, which will supervise with regard to content, pair up with the producer and their team to fully develop the script within 12 months.

For production funding projects will get a recommendation of how the budget will be raised by the participation of broadcasters (min. 30% of the budget), regional and national funders. With this recommendation the producers hand in their projects at the funders’ regular committees to confirm the budget. So, each financier’s formalities (e.g. regional effect) and way of decision-making is respected. The budget raised within the initiative is max. 3 Million EUR per film. Though, films with higher budget can be realized, too, by bringing in a co-financier or a co-producer by the producer.

Declined projects can also apply for funding on the regular way.

List of Partners

  • AG Kino – Gilde der deutschen Filmkunsttheater e.V.
  • AG Verleih
  • Allianz Deutscher Produzenten Film & Fernsehen
  • Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR)
  • Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien
  • Deutsche Kindermedienstiftung GOLDENER SPATZ
  • FilmFernsehFonds Bayern
  • Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein
  • Filmförderungsanstalt
  • Film- und Medienstiftung NRW
  • Freistaat Thüringen
  • Hauptverband Deutscher Filmtheater HDF KINO e.V.
  • KiKA - der Kinderkanal von ARD und ZDF
  • Kuratorium junger deutscher Film
  • Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg
  • Medien- und Filmgesellschaft Baden-Württemberg
  • Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung
  • Mitteldeutscher Film- und Fernsehproduzentenverband
  • Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (MDR)
  • Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR)
  • Südwestrundfunk (SWR)
  • Verband der Filmverleiher
  • Vision Kino
  • Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR)
  • Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF)


What are “Outstanding Films for Children”?

  • based on original ideas, no adaptations
  • full length live-action movies, animation and documentaries
  • stories with depth and relevance set in the here and now
  • main target audience: 6-12+ years
  • dealing with children’s topics, told from their perspective
  • credible characters, entertaining and encouraging stories
  • creative and innovative way of storytelling, all kinds of genre


Förderverein Deutscher Kinderfilm e.V.
Anger 37 (Haus Dacheröden)
99084 Erfurt, Germany
Fon: +49 361 789798-10

Margret Albers – Project Manager

Hanna Reifgerst – Project Coordination