Dieter Geissler is one of Germany’s few major league producers. He makes films whose budgets exceed $25 million, and is one of the only producers in this country who can make films other Germans want to see.
“The Neverending Story II” earned him the German exhibitor’s prize and was one of the two local boxoffice successes in 1990 – saving German product from sinking below 3% of the country’s b.o.
What’s more, Geissler believes that a German producer can play hardball without permanently decamping to L.A., as Bernd Eichinger and other Teutons have done. However, Geissler does maintain offices in L.A. – which he will soon expand to handle world sales in addition to development – and commutes about every six weeks from his Cinevox headquarters in Munich.
Geissler also keeps an eye on the East as well as the West Coast. He was the first western-er to get a piece of the DEFA studios. Cinemagic, Europe’s most technologically advanced F/X studio, is now near completion in one of DEFA’s buildings. Geissler is seeking office space near the studio, preferably in one of the old mansions that belonged to DEFA’s star players in the studio’s heyday.
While everyone else is wondering what will become of the behemoth Babelsberg facility, Geissler designed a comprehensive plan and budget for its renovation. Four projects are slated for production there in the coming year.
“The future of film in Germany is on a Berlin/Munich axis,” says Geissler about why he stays, “and there is nowhere in the world more attractive for production now than Germany. Yes, this is a place to be a major producer. Especially now. There’s nowhere more economical to shoot in Europe or the USA. ‘The Neverending Story II’ couldn’t have come in on budget anywhere else.”
“Knight Moves,” Geissler’s latest co-prod with Jean-Luc Defait and Ziad el Khoury, just wrapped in Vancouver.