Germany boasts a thriving local industry, a film-friendly shooting climate and world-class facilities,
which is why international producers have been drawn back to the country in recent times, despite
hot competition from neighbouring territories.

Studio Babelsberg near Berlin is one of Germany’s top studio facilities with 21 separate sound
stages, the largest of which spans nearly 80,000 sq ft. The facility also offers Germany’s largest water
tank for underwater and action shoots, and also serves as a co-producer and production service
provider through its subsidiary Studio Babelsberg Motion Pictures.

Studio Babelsberg recently hosted Marvel’s crossover blockbuster, Captain America: Civil War, and
completed work on a metropolis backlot, expanding its appeal to foreign productions.

Terrorism drama Homeland has become the first US television series to film an entire season on
location in Germany and Steven Spielberg used the studio as a base for the European leg of his Cold
War drama Bridge of Spies.

Germany has some work to do to catch up with other European production hubs. George Clooney
filmed locally for his Second World War drama The Monuments Men, but Brad Pitt and David Ayer
doubled the UK countryside for wartime Germany in their intense tank drama Fury.

Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, the Bavarian Film and Television Fund and the German Federal
Film Fund (DFFF) are the principal sources of production support.

Hollywood movies have also carried out post-production work in Germany and producers can access
a grant of up to $22.5m (€20m) via the second federal film fund, DFFF 2, aimed at production service
companies. However, it cannot be combined with DFFF 1.

Marvel/Walt Disney Studios’ Black Panther and Guardians Of The Galaxy carried out portions of their
VFX work at German facilities. Companies including Berlin-based Rise FX, Frankfurt and
Stuttgart’s Pixomondo, and Munich-based Trixter and Scanline are leading players in their fields and
rated highly by their US clients thanks to the excellent training backgrounds of the VFX artists from
German film schools.

It is undoubtedly more expensive to shoot in Germany than in Eastern European countries like
Hungary, Croatia and the Czech Republic, either due to the more attractive financial incentives in
those countries or generally lower shooting costs.

Plus, Germany’s DFFF 1 has a cap of $4.5m per project on each grant it awards and does not back
local or incoming high-end TV drama productions. The German Motion Picture Fund aims to attract
incoming productions but has a modest annual budget of $11.3m (€15m).

Despite this, Germany has proven resilient, partly thanks to the studios, but also its film-friendly
approach and fantastic array of locations. Germany has a lot of diversity to offer, from coastline to
picturesque landscapes with lots of forest and mountains. German cities and towns are also
surprisingly varied. Berlin for example can obviously provide the stereotypical German backdrops
you would expect, but you can also find locations within the city that could easily be in Moscow,
Paris or other European cities.

The people of Berlin are exceptionally accommodating, and logistically it is relatively easy to get
permits to shoot. The last mayor of Berlin was so pro filming that he made it his agenda to make it
really simple to shoot and he left a lasting legacy.

Another popular shooting site in Germany is the 19th  century Romanesque Neuschwanstein castle,
which was the inspiration for Disney’s Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty castles.

Germany is however a federal country and the rules in every state and town are different, so
sometimes permits from several authorities are needed for just one location.

In terms of crew capability across Germany, there are a high density of film schools and therefore
some highly skilled crews available, many with international experience and the ability to work using
English as a common language. This gives visiting projects confidence that they can dispense with
bringing in their own heads of department, saving cost in the process. Leading service producers
include Television Interactive News Agency, Shotz and Film Base in Berlin and First Frame in Munich.

Flights between the main cities take little more than an hour, and budget-conscious producers can
now benefit from the internal German services being operated by Easyjet and Ryanair.