Berlinale not Berlin's only film success
With the Berlinale over and done with we can return back to normality. However, in Berlin and its immediate surroundings film production appears to be a constant.
It’s been ten years since the Medienboard was first launched and started funding film and television productions, before then it had existed for ten years under the banner Filmboard Berlin-Brandenburg, whose scope focussed solely on film and no other media formats. Now it can even proudly claim that it has contributed to some top tier media events in Berlin such as the Berlinale and Games Week Berlin.
The initiator behind the very successful scheme is Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, an organisation that aims to be the first stop for creative professionals active in the film and media industries in the states of Berlin and Brandenburg, and is responsible for film funding and media business development in the capital region.
As a department of the Medienboard, the Berlin Brandenburg Film Commission (BBFC) is in charge of the smooth running of film and television productions in the local area. The commission is in constant contact with traffic reps, location managers and local boroughs and do their bit in supporting up and coming talents who developed themselves in Berlin.
The concept of the Medienboard involves more than funding alone, its goal is “to offer strategic support for the media industry in Germany’s capital”. Medienboard’s latest focus lies with a programme entitled TV Pilot Funding, designed to attract more of these often lucrative projects.
The BBFC and Medienboard are proud to have collaborated on a variety of films at this year’s Berlinale, not least opening film The Grand Budapest Hotel (shot in Studio Babelsberg), The Monuments Men (Studio Babelsberg, Markish-Oderland, Teltow-Flaming and Oberhavel) and another hit in the competition selection: La Belle et la Bete (Studio Babelsberg and Potsdam).
With 2,573 shooting days in 2013 alone the Medienboard has every reason to be pleased, it means every day seven funded projects filmed in the capital and the close Brandenburg region. However, as Andrea Mallwitz, assistant film funding at Medienboard points out, “there’s always room for improvement.” In fact, the organisation is counting on the amount of productions and shooting days to increase in the year ahead, she says.
These new upcoming titles will add to an already sizeable slate of hits that have filmed in Berlin, for example, The Bourne Ultimatum, Unknown, Inglourious Basterds, Anonymous and Cloud Atlas.
In the past ten years the regional impact, the money spent in the capital and its close region as a direct or indirect result of film production, has risen by 400%. Of the €24,6m invested in film and television productions last year, the local economy saw a return of no less than 537%.
The MEDIA programme, now called Creative Europe, aims to add to that. It collaborates, for example, with both the commission and Medienboard so that European lines and dialogues remain open. “This way it has helped to establish ongoing international collaborations such as the German-Turkish and the German-Polish co-production fund,” Mallwitz says.
“In general, East European productions are keen to come to Berlin; its offer of locations, funding, professionalism and geographical distance are appealing for producers from the region.”
In the past ten years the MEDIA programme has awarded media companies in Berlin and the Brandenburg region with €54m in funds, a testament to its perceived potential to the international market. When it rebranded last January as Creative Europe, one of its main objectives was to encourage international co-productions. In Berlin this is certainly a message that is welcomed with open arms – it is ready for more success stories.