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Overview and productions

A major overhaul and realignment of Germany’s federal subsidy system is now the centre of attention, as the coalition government in Berlin begins hammering out a new German Film Law (FFG) to come into effect from 2025. A tax-based model, like the FISA+ scheme that was introduced successfully in Austria at the beginning of 2023, is one option being considered to take the place of the existing incentive schemes, while there is also growing support for an investment obligation to be imposed on platforms, similar to those in place elsewhere in Europe.

Last year German locations hosted several international productions, including Scott Free thriller Berlin Nobody, an adaptation of Nicholas Hogg’s 2015 novel Tokyo directed by Jordan Scott; Zen­tropa’s period drama The Bastard; love story Bawaal from India’s Nitesh Tiwari; Alice Troughton’s debut The Tutor; Lionsgate prequel The Hunger Games: The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes; and Rupert Sanders’ The Crow reboot. Germany's homegrown productions, like Dark and The Empress (pictured) also brought attention to the country as a filming destination. 


Meanwhile,  AppleTV+’s psychological drama series Constellation saw the UK’s Turbine Studios work with its Cologne/Berlin-based operation Turbine Studios GmbH, which had been set up to handle the producing of Netflix’s Munich: The Edge of War in 2020.

“We made the case that such a show could be staffed solely with German HoDs — with the exception of the production designer [Andy Nicholson from the UK],” recalls Justin Thomson, one of Turbine Studios’ co-founders.

German locations are now being lined for Justin Kurzel’s dystopian drama Morning, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, a SunnyMarch, Jaywalker Pictures and augenschein production. Also in the pipeline are Christophe Gans’ horror reboot Return To Silent Hill, from Davis Films and Hassell Free Productions; A24’s pop melodrama Mother Mary, directed by David Lowery and starring Michaela Coel and Anne Hath­away; and Ildiko Enyedi’s Silent Friend, a co-production between Pandora Film, Galatée Films, Inforg M&M Film and Radiance Films.

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.


"We have highly skilled local crews who are experienced working with international teams in English and state of the art equipment is available," Zitterbart says.



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

It is always worth having local location scouts and at Watchmen Productions "we have a vast network of location scouts and a large archive of amazing locations."

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