Berlin’s Studio Babelsberg Invests $13.2 Million in Backlot Set, Starts Construction (EXCLUSIVE)

First production to use new set will be Tom Tykwer's TV series 'Babylon Berlin' in May

Studio Babelsberg Invests $13.2 Million in
Courtesy of Studio Babelsberg

LONDON — Berlin production facility Studio Babelsberg, which is the home of the most recent season of “Homeland” and the next instalment in the “Bourne” franchise, is to invest Euros 12 million ($13.2 million) in an extensive new backlot set, with construction due to start Tuesday. The first production to use the new set in May will be Tom Tykwer’s TV series “Babylon Berlin,” which will be Germany’s biggest-budget TV production ever.

The modular set, which will have the name Neue Berliner Strasse, will contain four streets in different architectural styles, and will be complete in the spring. The set will be able to double for streets in New York, London, Berlin and Paris, according to Michael Duewel, managing director of the art department at Babelsberg. It is being built on an area of more than 161,000 square feet adjacent to Babelsberg in Potsdam, on the edge of Berlin.

Carl Woebcken, CEO of Studio Babelsberg, sees the new set as further enhancing the Berlin-Brandenburg region’s attractiveness as a hub for production. “A permanent backlot set is an important component of Babelsberg’s appeal as a location, and will send out a message to the rest of the world,” he said. “The Neue Berliner Strasse will thrill both German and international film producers and directors, and open up entirely new creative possibilities to the filmmakers for the production of their projects.”

The development complements moves by regional and national government to improve the competitive of Germany as a location for international productions. Other steps include the setting up of the German Motion Picture Fund, which supports the making of internationally co-produced feature films and TV series, a new fund for cultural films created as a supplement to the German Federal Film Fund (DFFF), and the increase in funding allocated by Berlin-Brandenburg’s government to the region’s film fund, Medienboard.

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Albrecht Gerber, minister for economic affairs and energy of the federal state of Brandenburg, said: “The combined media hub of Berlin-Brandenburg is already characterized today by an exceptional concentration of highly qualified media professionals and a very good media infrastructure. With the new backlot set at Studio Babelsberg, the region’s position in the international competition will be strengthened in a sustainable way.”

As well as season five of “Homeland” for Showtime/Fox, and Paul Greengrass’ untitled “Bourne 5” for Universal, starring Matt Damon, other recent productions to be based at Babelsberg have included “Captain America: Civil War” for Marvel, Luc Besson’s “The Lake” for EuropaCorp, Gore Verbinski’s horror film “A Cure for Wellness” for Fox/New Regency, David Michod’s “War Machine” — starring Brad Pitt — for Netflix, and “Berlin Station,” which is a Paramount television series.

BabelsbergStudio Babelsberg: the green area is where the new backlot will be built