Studio Babelsberg pushes for stronger German filming incentives
Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks filmed scenes in Berlin for the new Cold War drama Bridge of Spies (pictured), which has put the country back in the international spotlight.
Studio Babelsberg is based in Potsdam and offers nearly two dozen sound stages. Recent shoots have included a remake of Point Break and parts of the two closing chapters of the Hunger Games franchise, in addition to the recently-released Bridge of Spies, starring Tom Hanks.
Hanks has suggested to media outlet National Public Radio (NPR) that more world-class studio facilities are key to attracting high-profile Hollywood productions, but Studio Babelsberg has stressed the need for better filming incentives.
“If we want to set up a really good film industry here in Germany, these subsidies must be so attractive that the American films are coming to Germany,” said Babelsberg’s spokesman Eike Wolf in comments to NPR.
The centralised German Federal Film Fund (DFFF) is the country’s main production incentive and the Berlin Brandenburg Film Commission is also a key supporter. Producers can get DFFF grants of up to 20% for shoots spending at least a quarter of their full production budgets in Germany. However, the fund is limited in size compared to many other filming hubs and there’s stiff competition from Eastern European countries that can undercut general German filming costs.
Despite the filming incentive challenges, Germany continues to grow its international appeal. The current fifth season of terrorism drama Homeland was the first US TV show to film a full season in Germany.
American spy miniseries Berlin Station announced a shoot in the German capital over the summer and will follow a CIA agent embarking on a secret ‘mole hunt’ in the agency’s Berlin field office.
For more on filming in Germany, see our production guide.