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Berlin: Rise Visual Effects’ Features Arm Seeks More Co-Productions

With newly increased German funding for visual effects companies at both the federal and state level, Rise Pictures is looking to be a partner of choice for international producers.

Rise Pictures is the production unit of Berlin-based Rise Visual Effects Studios, which has made a name for itself as a leading vfx player with its work on such recent films as “Captain America: Civil War,” “Black Panther” and the upcoming “Avengers: Infinity War.” Ulrich Schwarz, Rise Pictures’s head of production, said the company’s “aim is to discover high-quality international films and TV series projects for co-production with a budget range of €2 to €15 million ) ($2.5 million to $18 million), or higher, especially with some unique vfx or CGI elements we could tackle.”

Especially attractive for the company are creatively unique projects “that have their own voice and are able to stand out in today’s crowded marketplace – material that delivers a visceral experience, so to speak,” Schwarz added.

As part of the Rise FX group, Rise Pictures is able to offer productions a crucial element: “visual effects at a fraction of the costs of traditional filmmaking” via co-producing and bringing in German financing and/or simply handling effects work.

As a local service film production company, Rise has access to Germany’s plethora of federal and regional subsidies, which require a German co-producer for film projects to qualify, and it can help in orchestrating these additional options, Schwarz said.

The impact of new state and federal vfx funding has been “huge” on the German industry, Schwarz added. “It’s more than overdue and actually we should throw more means into the bargain. Sure, it will take some time to communicate the new funding schemes to international producers, but I’m pretty certain that it will propel the needed internationalization of the German film industry.

“We can do better. If you look at the current numbers distributed by the European Audiovisual Observatory, Germany is only third behind France and Spain in terms of co-productions and that by a large margin. That means we have a lot of catching-up to do but we can do it. We need to focus on our creative strengths but should also be more open for unexampled international co-productions.”

To that end, Rise is perfectly situated to offer full production services for projects from concept to screen, “but in a more modern way of filmmaking,” he added. “Therefore we are a natural partner for international producers to whom we can offer a 360-degree service to get their projects made.”

While Schwarz noted the value of collaborating with German studios in order to combine traditional and virtual filmmaking, he added that today’s filmmaking no longer relies “on filming in a static environment like a studio complex but rather utilizing flexible locations.”

Rise is currently co-producing Constantin Film’s animated fantasy feature “Dragon Rider,” which is set for release next year, and also has a development slate of early-stage and as of yet unannounced projects, both live-action features and TV series.

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