MMC offers Hollywood financial aid
While Berlin has seduced a number of high-profile international filmmakers in recent years, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia is becoming an increasingly attractive location for foreign producers thanks in large part to its state-of-the-art studio complex and one of the country’s biggest regional film funders.The NRW state government has been promoting its film industry abroad, and last year state premier Juergen Ruettgers visited the U.S. to hype its many assets. Topping that list is MMC, one of Europe’s biggest studio complexes. Stephen Daldry’s “The Reader” shot at the vast campus, which includes 34 soundstages, the biggest one measuring 2,600 square meters (28,000 square feet). Eager to increase international productions on its backlot, MMC recently partnered on a slew of high-profile pics, reteaming with Andras Hamori’s H20 Motion Pictures to co-produce J.G. Ballard adaptation “Running Wild” and 3-D horror remake “The Gate,” both set to shoot at the studio this year. The new projects follow an aggressive push by MMC topper Ralf Schmitz and production chief Bastie Griese to market the production shingle and studio to Hollywood producers. “We can look at every project individually and find the best financing options from diverse sources,” says Griese, who stresses MMC also offers a slew of attractive tailor-made financing possibilities through the regional film org Filmstiftung NRW as well as the Federal Film Board (FFA) and the $80 million-a-year DFFF fund. In doing so, MMC has taken on Studio Babelsberg, which has successfully positioned itself as the German backlot for Hollywood productions.