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Overview and productions

According to proposals currently being hammered out by officials at the State Ministry for Culture and Media (BKM), the major overhaul and realignment of Germany’s federal subsidy system is now likely to be supplemented by both a tax incentive, to take the place of the existing incentive schemes, as well as an investment obligation to be imposed on streamers and other audiovisual services.

Over the course of 2023, German locations hosted numerous international productions. These included French director Christophe Gans’ horror reboot Return To Silent Hill, from Davis Films and Hassell Free Productions, at Penzing Studios outside Munich; A24 and Augenschein Filmproduktion’s pop melodrama Mother Mary, directed by David Lowery and starring Michaela Coel and Anne Hathaway; and Greece-born writer/director Nancy Biniadaki’s drama Maysoon, starring Sabrina Amali and Florian Stetter. The latter shot in and around Berlin and in Frankfurt am Main, as a co-production between Watchmen Productions, Graal Films and Unafilm.

February 2023 also saw J4A/Array’s production of Ava DuVernay’s Venice competition title Origin locating part of its shoot in Berlin, which was overseen by the local powerhouse X Filme as service producer. “The US producer knew of X Filme, as they had watched Babylon Berlin, and thought we would be a good partner,” says Marcus Loges, one of X Filme’s CEOs with a special focus on production. “The biggest part of the Berlin shoot was a quite challenging replication of the [Nazi] book burning on Bebelplatz.”

The US production came to Berlin with 25 cast and crew while X Filme recruited around 300 German crew, 10 German cast members and 700 extras for the shoot. It was not the first time X Filme has taken on the role of service producer, having filled the role on Todd Field’s Oscar-nominated TÁR, starring Cate Blanchett and Nina Hoss.

“X Filme has produced and co-produced some bigger international productions in the past, like Cloud Atlas, Hologram For The King or The Queen’s Gambit, so it wasn’t a big step to do service productions as well,” explains Loges.

German locations are now being lined up for Justin Kurzel’s dystopian drama Morning, a SunnyMarch, Jaywalker Pictures and Augenschein production starring Benedict Cumberbatch; and Ildiko Enyedi’s Silent Friend, a co-production between Pandora Film, Galatée Films, Inforg M&M Film and Radiance Films, with Hong Kong’s Tony Leung Chiu-wai in the lead.

While the soundstages at Cologne’s MMC Studios and Penzing Studios, west of Munich, have hosted international productions in the past months, Babelsberg Studios, just outside Berlin, has not seen any major international projects this year and was forced by the Hollywood strikes to put 40 of the studio’s 100-strong workforce onto short-time from August.

Overview and productions


Germany is proving resilient thanks largely to its world-class studios, film-friendly approach and wide array of locations, including its historic capital. The Hunger Games prequel made use of monuments like the Völkerschlachtdenkmal monument in Leipzig (pictured) and the Tieranatomisches Theatre.

Germany has a lot of diversity to offer, from coastline to picturesque landscapes with lots of forest and mountain. Also German cities and towns are surprisingly varied.

"Germany has a highly developed infrastructure and world-class workforce as well as shooting friendly locations that offer a lot of diversity," says Christopher Zitterbart, Managing Director at Watchmen Productions GmbH"from coast to the mountains in Bavaria and neighbouring countries, modern cities and historic sites."

It's worth noting though that Germany is 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.

German locations are also being lined up for Zentropa’s period drama King’s Land by Nikolaj Arcel, with Mads Mikkelsen in the lead.

Infrastructure and crew

International projects increasingly source many of their heads of department locally when shooting in Germany. The big studio hubs of Studio Babelsberg (Potsdam), Bavaria Studios (Munich) and MMC Studios (Cologne) were joined in spring 2022 by Penzing Studios, a major facility 30 miles west of Munich. The former Berliner Union-Film Studios is currently being transformed into a home for green and sustainable filmmaking, named Atelier Gardens.


While the country’s filming hubs are no more than an hour apart by air, since July 2023 shoots have had to meet mandatory minimum ecological standards before being able to access public funds. Studio Babelsberg, Bavaria Studios, MMC Studios and Penzing Studios are all less than an hour’s drive from their respective city centre hotels. 

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