Franziska Giffey to Make Berlin More Film-Friendly

Berlin already is a film city. Countless productions are being written, prepared, funded, shot, edited, post-produced, screened and reviewed in the German capital. Now, the situation for the film biz in Berlin is supposed to improve. Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey is on the case.

Berlin, November 23rd, 2022 (The Berlin Spectator) — When you go to the cinema, you usually don’t do so on a Wednesday morning at 9:00 a.m., unless Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey invites film biz representatives and journalists to the Delphi, in order to announce a new policy. The latter is supposed to make Berlin more film-friendly than it already is, by improving things.

Hollywood Productions

Everyone wants to shoot in Berlin. That is why you might meet Liam Neeson at a café somewhere in Kreuzberg or Kate Blanchett at some little supermarket in Mitte. Soon, Steven Spielberg might walk around in the city of cities, which he already knows, also because the stunning motion picture ‘Bridge of Spies’ was shot in Berlin. The director will be awarded the Honorary Golden Bear at the Berlinale in February of 2023..

Franziska Giffey (right), Fabian Gasmia and Kirsten Niehuus discussed Berlin’s support for the film biz this morning. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

Anya-Josephine Marie Taylor-Joy enjoyed shooting ‘The Queen’s Gambit’. Where did the shoot take place? Guess. A million Hollywood productions were filmed in Berlin. Jason Bourne, played by Matt Damon, put his false passports into a locker at Ostbahnhof station and blew up a nice family home at Wannsee. In ‘Unorthodox’, Shira Haas played Esther ‘Esty’ Shapiro who leaves behind her difficult past and livens up in Berlin.

Shooting Days

There are countless series that carry the name of the city they were shot in, in their titles. ‘Berlin Berlin’, ‘Berlin Station’, ‘Dogs of Berlin’ and ‘F*cking Berlin’ are just a few examples. The German series ‘Charité’ is a good one. So are classic motion pictures such as ‘Lola rennt’, ‘Das Leben der Anderen’ or ‘Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo’. Besides, the Berlinale, a.k.a. the Berlin International Film Festival, is big.

At this year’s Berlinale, back in February, Franziska Giffey promised to improve things for the film biz. Now, she wants to make good on this promise. In one of the Delphi cinemas in the posh Charlottenburg borough, she introduced her plans: “We want to support Berlin as a film city in the 21st century as well, to make sure things work.” Last year alone, there had been a total of 6,000 shooting days in Berlin. The Governing Mayor said she expected that number to increase further.

Boundary Conditions

On Tuesday, the Berlin Senate agreed to boundary conditions for a program entitled ‘Film-Friendly City’. According to Mrs. Giffey, the endeavor contains three main aspects. First of all, Medienboard Berlin, an organization that funds film projects , will receive a huge pile of additional cash. Its director Kirsten Niehuus, who was at the Delphi as well, can expect 44 million Euro (45.37 million U.S. Dollars or 38 million pounds Sterling) for 2022 and 2023. She said for every Euro of support the Medienboard gives out to film productions, they invest 7 Euro in Berlin.

Secondly, Franziska Giffey announced Berlin would set up a single point of contact for filmmakers. This office is supposed to give filming permissions to filmmakers in the entire city. At this stage, the districts are in charge. While things seem to be working well in some of them, they do not in others. This is supposed to change. Thirdly, the ‘Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie’, Berlin’s film academy, will be modernized.

Economic Factor

Film is important. Flicks shot in Berlin reflect on the city. Movies from here change the image people connect to Berlin. Besides, the film business is an important economic factor. The more support the biz receives, the more will be invested, and the more likely it is we will meet Tom Hanks, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Lawrence or Amber Heard at the ‘Späti’ convenience store in Friedrichshain.