Germany’s film industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, but the sector remains teeming with opportunities for domestic and international productions and looks set to spring back into action in the coming months.

Boasting 10 federal and regional film funders with more than €330 million ($359 million) for film and TV production and a number of major studio and VFX facilities, the country has become a favorite location for international producers.

Warner Bros.’ “The Matrix 4” and Sony Pictures’ “Uncharted” were all set to shoot at Studio Babelsberg near Berlin before work stopped amid the COVID-19 outbreak in March. While the studio initially let go hundreds of film crew members following the shutdown, it has since reinstated them after securing financial assistance from the federal labor agency, staving off a potential legal dispute.

Other recent international projects that lensed in Germany include Abel Ferrara’s Berlinale screener “Siberia,” starring Willem Dafoe, which shot at Bavaria Studios, and Paramount’s Tom Clancy adaptation “Without Remorse,” featuring Michael B. Jordan, which shot throughout the country, including Studio Babelsberg.

The projects all secured financial backing from various funds in the form of grants or tax rebates, which could reach as high as 25%.

Major distribs are partnering with local funders to support domestic productions. Earlier this year Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein inked a first-of-its-kind deal with Warner Bros. Entertainment. That will contribute $1.1 million annually for local projects.

With funding also available for visual effects, international productions are now benefiting from VFX work in Germany.

Working with leading VFX studio Rise, Matthew Vaughn’s “The King’s Man” recently became the first international production to secure up to 45% of its German VFX spend from federal and regional funders, with the German Federal Film Fund and FFF Bayern respectively providing 25% and 20% of the film’s digital image design costs.

Rise managing director Sven Pannicke calls the recently introduced funding as “a paradigm shift” for VFX services in Germany and the future of film production as a whole, stressing that it made Germany more competitive against countries with strong visual effects sectors including Canada and the U.K.

Dante Lam’s Chinese actioner “The Rescue” and Roland Emmerich’s “Midway” likewise secured VFX funding via their respective German partners, Scanline VFX and Pixomondo.

While work at VFX studios has slowed during the lockdown, it hasn’t stopped. Rise is working on Lisa Joy’s “Reminiscence,” starring Hugh Jackman; Studiocanal’s “Gunpowder Milkshake”; XYZ Films’ sci-fi thriller “Stowaway,” co-produced by the company’s Rise Pictures division; Warner Bros.’ “Jim Button and the Dragon of Wisdom”; and season three of Netflix’s sci-fi series “Dark.”

Meanwhile, some German titles are ready for the market or release, including comedy “The Black Square,” from Peter Meister, with Picture Tree Intl. handling sales; Hüseyin Tabak’s drama “Gipsy Queen,” with Arri Media Intl. handling sales; comedy “Hello Again,” from Maggie Peren and Beta Cinema handling world sales; while Beta Cinema’s “The Kangaroo Chronicles” had its hit German theatrical run cut short because of the pandemic.

German titles in the pipeline:

“The Black Square”

Director: Peter Meister

World sales: Picture Tree Intl.

A cat-and-mouse heist comedy about two art thieves who steal Kazimir Malevich’s avant-garde painting “Black Square” but run into trouble when they try to bag a $60 million ransom on a cruise ship.

“Dragon Rider”

Director: Tomer Eshed

World sales: Timeless Films

An animated adaptation of Cornelia Funke’s book about a young dragon who sets off on an adventure to save his endangered kin.

“Geborgtes Weiss”

Director: Sebastian Ko

A psychological thriller about a family whose comfortable existence is turned upside down when a young Albanian worker enters their lives.

“Gipsy Queen”

Director: Hüseyin Tabak

World sales: Arri Media Intl.

Film follows a single mother in Hamburg who takes up boxing to provide for her two children.

“God You’re Such a Prick”

Director: André Erkau

World sales: Picture Tree Intl.

Pic follows a teenage girl living on borrowed time and who sets off on a trip to Paris with a circus daredevil.

“Hello Again”

Director: Maggie Peren

World sales: Beta Cinema

A romantic comedy about a young woman desperately trying to stop her best friend’s wedding.

“The Kangaroo Chronicles”

Director: Dani Levy

World sales: Beta Cinema

The hit comedy follows a struggling musician who shares his flat with a talking communist kangaroo in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district.


Director: Franziska Stünkel

World sales: Global Screen

A fact-based Cold War thriller about a young man recruited by the East German Stasi’s overseas espionage service.


Director Philipp Stölzl

World sales: Studiocanal

An adaptation of Stefan Zweig’s novella about a man in 1938 Vienna who survives Nazi captivity with the help of a chess book.


Director: Florian Ross

World sales: Picture Tree Intl.

A teen comedy about doppelgängers from opposite social classes who swap identities.