With a vast federal and regional film subsidy system offering annual support of €217.5 million ($314 million) for development and production of feature films, documentaries, TV movies and shorts, Germany boasts some of the most generous incentives in Europe.
Coupled with state-of-the-art studios in Berlin, Munich and Cologne and myriad local producers eager to partner with international co-producers, filming in Germany has become a dream destination for many.
Some recent and upcoming titles that have lensed in Germany include Roland Emmerich’s “Anonymous,”
“Unknown,” “Hanna,” “The Three Musketeers,” “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” and “Cloud Atlas.”
The country boasts nine regional and federal film funds including the $80 million-a-year Federal Film Fund (DFFF), aimed solely at feature film production and offering qualifying international co-producers a rebate of up to 20%.
Regional funds also provide soft-money support to productions of any budget depending on local expenditure. Since its launch in 2007, the fund has backed 426 productions, including 10 so far this year.
Among the most recent recipients is Tommy Wirkola’s “Hansel and Gretel,” starring Gemma Arterton and Jeremy Renner, which just secured nearly $10 million from the fund.
STUDIOS & FACILITIES UPDATE
Babelsberg: Babelsberg near Berlin enjoys direct links to regional and federal funders and through its Studio Babelsberg Motion Pictures unit offers a wide range of coproduction services, from location scouting to production management and legal and tax issues.
MMC: Cologne’s MMC studions provides similar assistance, handling the German side of production and serving as a co-producer on projects shot there.
Bavaria Studios: Part of the vast Bavaria Film group, it offers inhouse ties to co-production units such as Bavaria Pictures and Bavariapool Intl. Co-prods. as well as international sales company Bavaria Film Intl.
POST & VFX
In addition to a number of indie post-production shops, leading studios like Babelsberg, Bavaria and MMC also offer state-of-the-art post facilities. The entire post production of “The Three Musketeers” took place at Babelsberg.
PLAYERS: As for digital post and vfx, Germany’s leading players Pixomondo, Trixter and ScanlineVFX have established themselves not only in the local industry but also increasingly on the international stage. Pixomondo’s recent credits include “Sucker Punch.” Originally established in Stuttgart, Pixomondo has expanded internationally as a result is eligible for U.K. and Canadian tax credits as well as Germany’s DFFF fund. Trixter, whose recent gigs include “Priest,” provides digital production for live action and animated features in both 2D and 3D.
DIGITAL: ScanlineVFX, which recently worked on such films as “Immortals” and “Hereafter,” offers the entire scope of digital postproduction.
RESOURCES & CREW DEPTH
SKILLED LABOR : The country boasts a deep local skilled crew base, making it possible to hire each position locally, resulting in major savings in travel, hotels and per diem costs. German crews can support several international feature shootings at the same time.
CO -PRODS: The leading studios all have inhouse co-production units, and many indie producers specialize in international co-prods; regional film commissions are set up to assist in all aspects of film production.
THE ONE THING YOU NEED TO KNOW
With a diverse landscape that includes mountains and seas, Germany offers nearly every type of location possible.