You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Babelsberg topper Schaper dies at 51

Polanski halted filming for a minute of silence

BERLIN — Babelsberg Studios topper Rainer Schaper died Wednesday morning of complications from a stroke.

Schaper, 51, is widely credited with bringing international projects to Babelsberg. It was largely his intense lobbying that convinced Jean-Jacques Annaud to shoot “Enemy at the Gates” there. Similarly, Schaper managed to bring in Roman Polanski’s current project, “The Pianist.”

‘Laughter and optimism’

Polanski halted filming for a minute of silence Wednesday in remembrance of his friend and colleague. “It is because of Rainer that I am filming here today. I will miss his laughter and his optimism,” the director said.

Schaper, who used to head the studio’s art department, became top exec of production after the departure of Friedrich-Carl Wachs and Arthur Hofer last year.

Thierry Potok, head of Babelsberg parent company and Vivendi subsidiary CGIS, praised Schaper for turning the studio around after a slump in business a few years ago.

“I regret that Rainer Schaper could not harvest the fruits of his extraordinarily successful labor,” Potok said. “He cultivated his house very well. Rainer Schaper leaves a very great human and professional gap.”

“His charisma, his ability to inspire and galvanize others, characterized him both privately and professionally. He was treasured by international filmmakers who trusted him with the realization of shared projects,” the studio said in a statement.

Prior to heading Babelsberg, Schaper worked as a production designer and art director on 42 films, winning the 1986 German Film Award for art direction for Annaud’s “In the Name of the Rose.”

Bergfried said the studio will stay on the international course Schaper forged for the studio: “We will carry his vision onward.”

Babelsberg has not announced a replacement.

More Film

  • Television producer Tina Fey attends the

    Tina Fey Tears Up Remembering Gilda Radner at Tribeca Opening Night

    BERLIN — Babelsberg Studios topper Rainer Schaper died Wednesday morning of complications from a stroke. Schaper, 51, is widely credited with bringing international projects to Babelsberg. It was largely his intense lobbying that convinced Jean-Jacques Annaud to shoot “Enemy at the Gates” there. Similarly, Schaper managed to bring in Roman Polanski’s current project, “The Pianist.” […]

  • moviepass card

    MoviePass Parent's Shares Crushed After Disclosing Pricing of Stock Sale

    BERLIN — Babelsberg Studios topper Rainer Schaper died Wednesday morning of complications from a stroke. Schaper, 51, is widely credited with bringing international projects to Babelsberg. It was largely his intense lobbying that convinced Jean-Jacques Annaud to shoot “Enemy at the Gates” there. Similarly, Schaper managed to bring in Roman Polanski’s current project, “The Pianist.” […]

  • 'Deadpool 2' Releases Final Trailer [WATCH]

    'Deadpool 2' Drops Final Trailer

    BERLIN — Babelsberg Studios topper Rainer Schaper died Wednesday morning of complications from a stroke. Schaper, 51, is widely credited with bringing international projects to Babelsberg. It was largely his intense lobbying that convinced Jean-Jacques Annaud to shoot “Enemy at the Gates” there. Similarly, Schaper managed to bring in Roman Polanski’s current project, “The Pianist.” […]

  • solo a star wars story

    'Solo: A Star Wars Story' Set to Hit China on May 25

    BERLIN — Babelsberg Studios topper Rainer Schaper died Wednesday morning of complications from a stroke. Schaper, 51, is widely credited with bringing international projects to Babelsberg. It was largely his intense lobbying that convinced Jean-Jacques Annaud to shoot “Enemy at the Gates” there. Similarly, Schaper managed to bring in Roman Polanski’s current project, “The Pianist.” […]

  • 'Little Pink House' Review: Catherine Keener

    Film Review: 'Little Pink House'

    BERLIN — Babelsberg Studios topper Rainer Schaper died Wednesday morning of complications from a stroke. Schaper, 51, is widely credited with bringing international projects to Babelsberg. It was largely his intense lobbying that convinced Jean-Jacques Annaud to shoot “Enemy at the Gates” there. Similarly, Schaper managed to bring in Roman Polanski’s current project, “The Pianist.” […]

  • David Cronenberg10th Beaune International Thriller Film

    Venice Film Festival to Honor David Cronenberg With Lifetime Achievement Award

    BERLIN — Babelsberg Studios topper Rainer Schaper died Wednesday morning of complications from a stroke. Schaper, 51, is widely credited with bringing international projects to Babelsberg. It was largely his intense lobbying that convinced Jean-Jacques Annaud to shoot “Enemy at the Gates” there. Similarly, Schaper managed to bring in Roman Polanski’s current project, “The Pianist.” […]

  • Female Filmmakers Center Stage at Sundance

    Female Filmmakers Center Stage at Sundance Film Festival London

    BERLIN — Babelsberg Studios topper Rainer Schaper died Wednesday morning of complications from a stroke. Schaper, 51, is widely credited with bringing international projects to Babelsberg. It was largely his intense lobbying that convinced Jean-Jacques Annaud to shoot “Enemy at the Gates” there. Similarly, Schaper managed to bring in Roman Polanski’s current project, “The Pianist.” […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content