LONDON — In a move set to enhance the transatlantic standing of Berlin’s Studio Babelsberg, Gabriela Bacher, topper of Los Angeles-based indie Primary Pictures, has been tapped to head the legendary studios.
Bacher becomes managing director of Studio Babelsberg Motion Pictures, the new holding company that will contain the audiovisual assets of the studio’s parent company, Vivendi Deutschland. Bacher, who begins immediately, will report to Thierry Potok, head of Vivendi Deutschland.
The appointment and new holding are part of restructuring aimed at streamlining the company, building on Babelsberg’s success in attracting high-profile projects to the studio and moving into co-production. Move follows the death earlier this year of former Babelsberg honcho Rainer Schaper. Bacher intends to pick up where he left off.
“What Schaper did was what was needed. We don’t need to create a new Babelsberg wheel,” Bacher told Daily Variety. “It’s about high-caliber projects and partners including big U.S. partners, big European projects as well as German-speaking projects. I intend to use my background to shape the image and efficiency of the studio.”
Born in Vienna, Bacher has an extensive track record on both sides of the Atlantic, representing the West Coast office of German giant the Kirch Group and working as senior VP of German distrib Constantin Film.
Bacher will remain attached to her Primary Pictures shingle and bring two of her projects to Babelsberg. One is “Leni Riefenstahl,” with Jodie Foster attached to star. The second, “Mesrine,” is a heist movie about France’s public enemy No. 1 in the 1970s.
On a roll the past two years, Babelsberg has attracted key projects to the studios including “Enemy at the Gates,” Hallmark’s “Hans Christian Andersen” and, most recently, French pic “Ma femme s’appelle Maurice,” from Jean-Marie Poire. Recent co-productions include Roman Polanski’s “The Pianist” and Istvan Szabo’s “Taking Sides.”