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Opportunities and challenges of film funding in the 21st century – film and series location Berlin-Brandenburg headed for a successful future

Film funding 2019

  • MBB awards a total of 34.8 million euros in funding
  • 27.2 million euros for film funding, 22.6 million euros thereof for film & high-end series production
  • 544% regional effect (= 123 million euros in spending) through production funding
  • 778% regional effect (= 40 million euros in spending) through high-end series production, increase in spending by 10 million euros compared to 2018
  • 400 additional shooting days: increase to 5,700 days of shooting in the capital region
  • A constant coming and going of international productions with stars such as Kristen Stewart (“Charlie’s Angels”), Michael B. Jordan & Jamie Bell (“Without Remorse”), Lena Headey & Karen Gillan (“Gunpowder Milkshake”), Anya Taylor-Joy (“The Queen's Gambit”)
  • 15.3 million viewers saw MBB-funded films in cinemas in 2019, which corresponds to 70% of the German market share
  • 12 MBB-funded films in the official Berlinale programme, 3 of them in the competition

Berlin/Potsdam – Ch-ch-changes! The film and series location Berlin-Brandenburg is heading into a new decade with a growing series market, new players and an industry gradually committing itself to gender equality, diversity and more sustainable production conditions.

Artistically and commercially successful films regularly showed at all the important festivals across the globe and winning awards and audience favour alike have made Berlin-Brandenburg an international brand. Serial high-end content from the capital region is in high demand today: production companies are happy to report full books, studios are at good capacity utilisation and the economic region is profiting from full employment, which is evident in quintupled to septupled regional effects and a high in shooting days. The rapid growth is stirring up the market, leading to a shortage of skilled labour, which in turn provides good perspectives for new talent on both sides of the camera.

Medienboard managing director Kirsten Niehuus: “In an age of upheaval and change due to new players and new evaluation forms such as SVOD, the film and series location Berlin-Brandenburg is headed for the new decade with an optimistic attitude. To support the industry in staying future-proof, the classic film funding portfolio is expanded by subjects such as gender equality, diversity and socially acceptable as well as more sustainable production conditions. The capital region is on a successful path for mastering these challenges. There is a lot to do – we are going for it, and looking forward to shaping the future in cooperation with the film creators.”

With roughly 5,700 days of shooting,

Berlin-Brandenburg reports another increase. Across districts and counties, it was “action” time on average 15 times per day in 2019, which is also a challenge for the authorities. MBB-funded feature films include “Fly”, “Fabian”, “Stasikomödie” (“Stasi comedy”), “Nightlife”, “Nasser Hund” (“Wet Dog”), “Es ist zu deinem Besten” (“It’s for your own good”), “Je suis Karl” and “Lieber Thomas” (“Dear Thomas”) (Brasch); Brandenburg shoots such as “Wir können nicht anders” (“We can’t change ourselves”), “Lassie”, “Jim Button and the Wild 13”, “Die Hochzeit” (“The Wedding”), “Gunpowder Milkshake” and the miniatures for Wes Anderson's new coup “The French Dispatch”; large-format TV such as “Merkel” and debuts like “Mein Sohn” (“My Son”). Funded series realised within the past year include “Babylon Berlin” season 3, “Bad Banks” 2, “Deutschland 89”, “Sløborn”, “Hausen”, “Spides” and “Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo”. On top, there are productions which did not receive funding, such as series for Netflix like “Dark” 3, “Betonrausch” (“Concrete Rush”), “Isi & Ossi”, “Unorthodox”, “Skylines”, “The Queen’s Gambit” featuring rising star Anya Taylor-Joy; the ZDF/YouTube series “Druck” (“Pressure”) 4 or the Pantaflix film “Roccos Reise” (“Rocco’s Journey”).

With 15.3 million viewers,

MBB-funded productions gained to an above-average extent at the box office: an additional 4 million viewers compared to the previous year watched films “Made in Berlin-Brandenburg” on the big screen. This corresponds to more than 70% of the German market share (21.8 million viewers according to Comscore). An outcome that is mainly due to the 8 MBB-funded films in the German viewer top-10 – among them the multi-million-viewer productions “Das perfekte Geheimnis” (“The Perfect Secret”, 5 million) and “Der Junge muss an die frische Luft” (“The Boy Needs Fresh Air”, 3.8 million) as well as the surprise hit of the year: “Systemsprenger” (“System Crasher”) with a total of 600,000 viewers.

“Made in Berlin-Brandenburg” flashed across screens millions of times world-wide: The Netflix movie “Kidnapping Stella”, for instance, was watched by more than 18 million accounts in its first four weeks; in the US and the UK it tops the most-viewed ranking of international shows in 2019. With “8 Tage” (“8 Days”), Sky brought end-times Berlin to the screens and “Dark” season 2 once again drew fans across the globe into the dark woods and caves of Brandenburg. “Babylon Berlin” has been sold to more than 100 countries at present, and the 3rd season is now available for an exciting watch.

Great cinema by female directors

such as Nora Fingscheidt, Caroline Link, Jessica Hausner, Angela Schanelec, Ina Weisse and Haifaa Al Mansour. From the Berlinale Silver Bear to the European Film Award to being selected as the German Oscar submission – Fingscheidt’s “Systemsprenger” (“System Crasher”) was a hit everywhere; now she is shooting for Netflix with Sandra Bullock. Hausner’s “Little Joe” won at the Cannes competition, while Link's “Der Junge muss an die frische Luft” (“The Boy Needs Fresh Air”) simultaneously excited audiences and moved them to tears, earning 3 German Film Awards, a Bambi and the German Comedy Award. Al Mansour's “Wadja” successor “The Perfect Candidate” was a guest at many international festivals and received an award in Hof.

Productions to look forward to involve, among others, Leonie Krippendorff, Ulrike Ottinger, Bettina Böhler and Filipa César in the Berlinale programme; Katja von Garnier’s dance film “Fly” and Karoline Herfurth’s “Wunderschön” (“Gorgeous”). What’s more, the pre-selection for the German Film Award 2020 includes roughly 50% of the 26 MBB-funded films which were realised by female directors.

Only cinema can do what cinema can do

which is why Medienboard supports art-house cinemas in the capital regional every year with the Cinema Programming Award. 48 cinemas received grants to the tune of 432,500 euros. For 2020, an increase to a total of 465,000 euros is planned. Beyond that, innovative cinema marketing and cinema investments such as modernisation, improvement and new construction of film theatres are funded. The social media campaign #meinkinoimkiez (“my neighbourhood cinema”) was continued successfully, and the campaign to preserve Kreuzberg’s traditional cinema Moviemento was supported. Be a #MoviementoHero!

Green filming

Medienboard is establishing guidelines for green filming soon. Until then, the voluntary commitment to sustainable film production of the producer’s association will remain the benchmark. Medienboard already recognises costs for green shooting, meaning eco-friendly and climate-friendly production, as costs eligible for funding. Currently, MBB is expanding its portfolio: the Berlin Brandenburg Film Commission bbfc is offering the basic seminar “Green Consultant” in addition to extensive information offers on its website and its regular workshops “Wenn die grüne Klappe fällt” (“Action for Green”). MBB business operations are also converted towards sustainability.

International location marketing & film tourism

Films and series “... OF BERLIN” carry moving images from the capital region out into the entire world. In the current Berlinale competition, the city stars in a total of 3 contributions! This is good for image purposes and constitutes excellent tourism marketing. Colleagues from film funding were once again out on an international mission in 2019: they connected Berlin-Brandenburg and its film creators and presented funding opportunities at international festivals and panels, e.g. in Beijing, Goa, Doha, Thessaloniki, Prague, Lille, Trieste, Istanbul, Almaty, Belgrade, Warsaw, Tel Aviv, Beirut, Cannes and Los Angeles. After all, the capital region is a platform for successful international co-productions and serves as an inspiration as the “city of liberty” for international film creators. The new website Berlin Film Residencies provides an overview of the various grant programmes supported by Medienboard. The creative atmosphere of the location had a significant share in the creation of “Foxtrot” (Samuel Maoz), “Lunchbox” (Ritesh Batra), “Gloria” (Sebastián Lelio); Karim Ainouz’s “Zentralflughafen THF” and “Praia do Futuro” as well as Barry Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk”.

Creative Europe MEDIA

The funding programme of the European Union for the audiovisual industry is renewed, with new regulations from 2021. Whether or not Great Britain, which has now left through its Brexit, will be involved will be negotiated bilaterally. It is clear that the profile also reflects societal developments, since topics such as sustainability and gender equality belong to the foundation of the new programme.

Berlin International Film Festival 2020

The 70th Berlinale is presenting 12 Medienboard-funded films in its official programme which represent the range of local film creation across all sections. The competition includes Christian Petzold’s “Undine”, Burhan Qurbani’s “Berlin Alexanderplatz” and Ilya Khrzhanovsky’s & Jekaterina Oertel’s “DAU. Natasha”. The Panorama features Bastian Günther with “One of These Days”, Visar Morina with “Exil” (“Exile”) and Bettina Böhler with the documentary “Schlingensief”. In addition, MBB is once again partnering with Berlinale Talents, Berlinale Series Market & Conference and Berlinale Goes Kiez. Also, the EFM series LOLA @ Berlinale presents Film Award nominees with MBB funding.

Freshly funded endeavours in the 1st awarding round of the year include the new projects “Last Song for Stella” by Kilian Riedhof (Real Film, 750,000 euros) starring Paula Beer, “Kurt” by Til Schweiger featuring Franziska Machens, Heiner Lauterbach and Jasmin Gerat based on the novel by Sarah Kuttner (Mr. Brown Entertainment Filmproduction, 600,000 euros), “Ökozid” by Andres Veiel (zero one Film, 300,000 euros), “Mister” by Emily Atef (Niko Film, 250,000 euros) featuring Vicky Krieps, Gaspard Ulliel, Liv Ullmann and Jesper Christensen, the documentary “Hyper Hyper” about Scooter by Cordula Kablitz-Post (avanti media fiction, 80,000 euros) and the series development “Fck My Heritage” by Christian Schwochow (Komplizen Serien, 150,000 euros).

Shooting in 2020

Production wrapping these days include Amazon Prime Series “Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo”, the green-shot Sky series “Hausen” and the dance film “Fly”. “Die Schachnovelle” (“The Royal Game”, Philipp Stölzl) will move to Berlin to continue shooting in February. Beyond that, shooting is impending for the films “Nebenan” (“Next door”, Daniel Brühl) and “In einem Land, das es nicht mehr gibt” (“In a land that is no more”, Aelrun Goette) about the GDR’s fashion scene. Productions in planning include the German-Norwegian series “Furia” (among others with Lars Kraume), the series “Friedrichstadtpalast” (Uli Edel) and the Sky series “Souls”.


Cinema films and series to watch out for in 2020: “Bad Banks” 2 (30 Jan) // “Nightlife” (13 Feb) // “Spides” (5 Mar) // “Die Känguru Chroniken” (5 Mar) // “Paris Calligrammes” (5 Mar) // “Narziss und Goldmund” (12 Mar) // “Die perfekte Kandidatin” (12 Mar) // “Berlin, Berlin” (19 Mar) // “Undine” (26 Mar) // “Schlingensief – In das Schweigen hineinschreien” (2 Apr) // “Berlin Alexanderplatz” (16 Apr) // “Kokon” (30.4.) // “Helmut Newton – The Bad and the Beautiful” (30 Apr) // “Without Remorse” (17 Sep) // “Jim Button and the Wild 13” (8 Oct) // “Cortex” (22 Oct) // “Wunderschön” (29 Oct.) // “Fly” (19.11.) // “Die Schule der magischen Tiere” (26 Nov) // “Schachnovelle” (24 Dec)


Press folder for download:

Communications & Press Film Funding
Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg GmbH
August-Bebel-Str. 26-53
14482 Potsdam-Babelsberg
+49 (0) 331-743 87-72 /-70