Studio Babelsberg

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Studio Babelsberg AG

legal form Corporation
founding 1912
Seat Potsdam , Germany
management Carl Woebcken (Chief Executive Officer), Christoph Fisser (Chief Executive Officer), Marius Schwarz (Chief Financial Officer)
Number of employees 92 (December 31, 2017)
Branch Film production

Studio Babelsberg in Potsdam-Babelsberg is the oldest large-scale film studio in the world and the largest film studio in Europe.

Since 1912, numerous well-known filmmakers have produced well-known films not far from the villa district of Neubabelsberg as well as in and around Potsdam and Berlin , including Metropolis and The Blue Angel . The more recent productions include a. Sonnenallee , Das Bourne Ultimatum , Operation Walküre , Eddie the Eagle , Der Ghostwriter , Cloud Atlas , Monuments Men , Berlin Station and Babylon Berlin as well as the Oscar-winning films Die Fälscher , Der Vorleser , Inglourious Basterds and Grand Budapest Hotel .


The founding years

The first building on what is now around 460,000 square meters in the media city of Babelsberg was the Transparent Atelier built by the film production company Deutsche Bioskop , which was founded by Julius Grünbaum in 1899 . The Bioscope commissioned Guido Seeber to look for a suitable plot of land in the area around Berlin for the purpose of Atelier magnification. After the building permit was granted in 1911, construction work on a glass house on Stahnsdorfer Strasse in Nowawes began in the winter of 1911/12 under the technical guidance of Guido Seeber . It was in this building on February 12, 1912 that the clapper fell for the silent film Der Totentanz by Urban Gad with Asta Nielsen in the lead role. Bioscop later merged with Decla , the German branch of the French film company Eclair , to form Decla Bioscop , which in turn was taken over by the old Ufa in 1921 .

Alfred Hitchcock's assistant director, who was still unknown at the time, shot his first film in the Babelsberg studio in 1924/25. Years later he summed up: "Everything I needed to know about filmmaking, I learned in Babelsberg."

1926 was for the science fiction film Metropolis by Fritz Lang today the largest wholesale Atelier Europe, 5,400 square meters and 14 meters high, Marlene Dietrich Hall . In 1929 a sound film studio was set up on the site for Melodie des Herzens , the first German full-length sound film - the so-called sound cross . The building, which is still in use today, was the most modern recording studio of its time with four studios arranged in a cross.

Fritz Lang invented the countdown for his second science fiction film Frau im Mond in Babelsberg in 1929, while Josef von Sternberg shot the successful film The Blue Angel with Marlene Dietrich here .

Billy Wilder wrote various scripts in Babelsberg, including the script for Menschen am Sonntag in 1929 (director: Robert Siodmak ) and in 1930 for the film adaptation of Erich Kästner's novel Emil und die Detektiven (director: Gerhard Lamprecht ).

The period during the Weimar Republic can be described as the birth of expressionist film in Germany: the focus is on pragmatic ways of thinking in the style of the new objectivity , consolidation of the film industry through the introduction of talkies and increasing politicization of film.

Directors such as Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau (including the last man with the invention of the " unleashed camera "), Fritz Lang (including Dr. Mabuse , Die Nibelungen , Metropolis , M - A city seeks a murderer ) and Georg Wilhelm Pabst (a. The joyless alley , Pandora's box , Don Quixote ).

Furthermore, actors like Hans Albers , Lil Dagover , Willy Fritsch , Gustav Fröhlich , Greta Garbo , Heinrich George , Lilian Harvey , Johannes Heesters , Emil Jannings (first and so far only German Oscar winner as an actor), Zarah Leander , Ernst Lubitsch , Hans Moser , Ossi Oswalda , Henny Porten , Marika Rökk , Heinz Rühmann and Sybille Schmitz in front of the camera.

time of the nationalsocialism

During the period of National Socialism emerged in the studio next to Nazi propaganda films such as Jud Suss , numerous entertainment films - the best known are women better diplomats but , Munchausen , The Punch Bowl and the most commercially successful film of the Nazi era , the great love . On April 1, 1938, the city of Nowawes was merged with the community of Neubabelsberg to form the city of Babelsberg , which was then incorporated into Potsdam in 1939 , with the new name deliberately intended to erase the Slavic name Nowawes. Only since then has the site actually been in a place called Babelsberg . Reich Film and Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels - also known as the "Bock von Babelsberg" due to his close place of residence on the Havel island Schwanenwerder and numerous alleged affairs - began with the plans to expand the site to "Babelsberg Ufastadt ".

Post-war period and GDR

While the main objective of the Western occupying powers in terms of film policy after the end of World War II was to prevent any future accumulation of power in the German film industry and the Western allies, above all the Americans, were more interested in opening up the German cinema market for their own products, When the German film industry quickly regained a foothold and the reorganization of the film industry in West Germany was very slow, however, the Soviet military government, which was concerned with a rapid rebuilding of the German film industry under Soviet supervision, divided the Babelsberg studios of the 17th DEFA founded in May 1946 .

Two months earlier, under the “DEFA i. Gr. ”(DEFA in formation) already the shooting of Wolfgang Staudte's Die Mörder sind unter uns , the first German feature film in post-war history (shooting period 16 March 1946 to July 1946). This was the first German rubble film a . a. in the Althoff studios in Babelsberg and in Berlin.

From 1946 to 1990, over 700 feature films, more than 150 children's films, and from 1959 to 1990 over 600 films for German television were made in Potsdam-Babelsberg . Well-known productions such as The Legend of Paul and Paula , The Story of Little Muck and Trace of the Stones were filmed here. In 1974, Jakob the Liar was the only film production in the GDR that was nominated for an Oscar . Coming Out is considered the only feature film in the GDR with a central homosexual theme.

The Althoff studio was used by the DEFA studio for newsreels and documentaries, the so-called DOKFILM studios Alt Nowawes.

see also: List of DEFA films

Privatization after the turnaround

On July 1, 1990, the property was transferred to the Treuhandanstalt as part of the takeover of DEFA, which sold it to the French group Compagnie Générale des Eaux (now Vivendi and Veolia Environnement ) in 1992 . Millions of dollars have been invested in expanding the studios and building up the media city. From 1992 to 1997 Volker Schlöndorff was managing director of the Babelsberg film studio, his successor was Rainer Schaper , who died unexpectedly in 2001. His successor was Gabriela Bacher , who was released after 11 months.

In 2012, the Babelsberg studio celebrated its centenary.

The film studio today

In 2004, the Compagnie Générale des Eaux , which was not commercially successful with the studio, sold its shares to the new owners, Carl Woebcken and Christoph Fisser and their holding company FBB - Filmbetriebe Berlin Brandenburg GmbH . This brought the company to the stock exchange as Studio Babelsberg AG in 2005. The share was removed from the stock exchange on June 30, 2016 due to poor performance.

Babelsberg media city

The Babelsberg studio is now part of the so-called Media City Babelsberg , a 46-  hectare area with around 2,000 people from the film and media industry, which also includes the Babelsberg Film University "Konrad Wolf" , the broadcasting center of Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (rbb) , the ZDF -Landeshauptstadtstudio Brandenburg , the seat of the German film Orchestra Babelsberg , the German radio Museum , the German broadcasting archive , the Electronic media school , the UFA , the Erich Pommer Institute , radio Teddy , the Babelsberg film school (bfg), the media school Babelsberg (msb) , the amusement park Filmpark Babelsberg as well as various office buildings with film production companies, agencies and over 150 smaller companies.

With funding from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy , the Digital Hub Germany was created in June 2017 in the media city of Babelsberg with the aim of creating a nationwide unique digital center in the field of media technology. The aim is to drive digital innovations in the field of film, television and new media centrally from Potsdam. According to the city, 800 companies in the IT industry are based in Brandenburg's state capital. The MediaTech Hub Potsdam / Media City Babelsberg is a physical location that offers those involved the opportunity to network and work together. Among other things, new digital processes for data processing and media production (e.g. virtual and augmented reality) are being developed and implemented.

A hotel and congress center, new office and residential buildings and a multi-storey car park are to be built for around 500 million euros by the mid-2020s.Template: future / in 3 years

Productions and development

The main entrance to Studio Babelsberg with an archway

The film studio is currently one of the top-selling large studio studios for cinema films in Europe. Successful productions were, for example, Hollywood productions such as The Bourne Conspiracy , Operation Valkyrie - The Stauffenberg Assassination , Inglourious Basterds or the Schlink film adaptation of The Readers , which were made in the Babelsberg Studio in Potsdam and Berlin.

Studio Babelsberg's premises extend over 160,000 m². With 20 studios with a total interior area of ​​over 25,000 m², the studio is the largest contiguous European film studio complex according to its own presentation. The studio covers all phases and areas of film production at one location, for example through the subsidiary Studio Babelsberg Motion Pictures , which implements the entire manufacturing process of a film production.

The exterior film sets on Berliner Strasse on the premises of the Babelsberg Studio

The exterior setting of a large city street on Berliner Strasse , used in various films, gained greater fame . It was made in 1998 for the film Sonnenallee . ( Geographical location ) After the shooting, the setting was expanded and was used in other productions, including the films The Pianist , Inglourious Basterds and The Book Thief . The backdrop was demolished at the end of 2013. In August 2014, the foundation stone for Neue Berliner Straße was laid with the participation of federal and state politicians . 12 million euros were invested in the new backdrop; it extends over an area of ​​more than 15,000 m² and is three times the size of the old backdrop. As with the old backdrop, cities other than Berlin can also be imitated in the exterior buildings. The modular hybrid backdrop is unique in Europe. The first production was the German series Babylon Berlin (directed by, among others, Tom Tykwer ), which was made in Berlin in the 1920s and comprised two seasons of 8 episodes, in 2016 - in cooperation with X Films Creative Pool and together with ARD Degeto , Sky and Beta Film Years plays. In the New Berlin Road (marketed under the name Metropolitan Backlot ) followed the shooting of the German-British mystery thriller Mute and the German book adaptation The silent classroom .

Other German films that were shot in Babelsberg are Boxhagener Platz , Russendisko , Instructions for Unhappiness , The Cold Heart , Jim Button and Lukas the Engine Driver and The Silent Classroom . With the establishment of the subsidiary Traumfabrik Babelsberg GmbH, Studio Babelsberg wants to get back into the development and manufacture of German in-house productions. From May to July 2018 the shooting of the first in-house production took place in over 20 years, the film Traumfabrik , with Emilia Schüle , Dennis Mojen , Ken Duken and Heiner Lauterbach in the leading roles.

Well-known television productions include, for example, the feature film Nacht über Berlin , the internationally acclaimed multi-part series Our Mothers, Our Fathers, and the second season of the German Netflix original television series Dark .

In addition to cinema productions and television films, the US television series Homeland was produced in Babelsberg, Berlin and the surrounding area in 2015 . With its full fifth season, Homeland was the first US series to be shot exclusively in Germany. With Berlin Station , a second American series was shot in the winter of 2015/16 on the studio grounds and on original motifs in Potsdam and Berlin. The 10-episode first season of the series about CIA agents set in Berlin today was produced by Paramount and Studio Babelsberg for the US broadcaster EPIX. This was followed by a second season of Berlin Station , which was also produced by Studio Babelsberg.

In June 2018, a volumetric studio for 3D film recordings was opened in the fx.Center on the studio grounds. According to the studio, it is the first such studio on the European mainland. The volumetric studio has an area of ​​170 m² and is equipped with 32 cameras. People and objects can be scanned three-dimensionally and lifelike in the room. The associated basic technology was specially developed by the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute. The operating company Volucap GmbH was founded by the shareholders ARRI Cine Technik GmbH & Co. Betriebs KG , Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft , Interlake System GmbH, Studio Babelsberg AG and UFA GmbH . Studio Babelsberg has a 24.9% stake. In addition to 3D recordings, in the future it will also be possible to create recordings in which the viewers can use the appropriate technology to decide for themselves from which perspective they want to follow the events in the film.

Group structure

The most important subsidiaries of Studio Babelsberg AG include:

  • Studio Babelsberg Motion Pictures GmbH (100%) - Managing Director Henning Molfenter
  • Art Department Studio Babelsberg GmbH (100%) - Managing Director Michael Düwel
  • Babelsberg Film GmbH (100%) - Managing Directors Carl Woebcken , Henning Molfenter, Christoph Fisser
  • Traumfabrik Babelsberg GmbH (51%) Development and production of German films - Managing Director Christoph Fisser
  • Nefzer Babelsberg GmbH (50%) special effects - managing director Gerd Nefzer

Selection of cinema films produced in Babelsberg

The film Metropolis by Fritz Lang , produced in Babelsberg in 1927, was the very first science fiction feature film . In the picture: Machine Maria , statue of the film character as an exhibit in the neighboring Babelsberg Film Park .

The year of production is given in brackets.

Advertisement for Quentin Tarantino's 2009 film Inglourious Basterds , which was produced in Babelsberg.
Main entrance of the film studio in 2015 with announced, current productions

Selection of television productions


  • Filmmuseum Potsdam / HFF (Hrsg.): 100 Years Studio Babelsberg - The Art of Filmmaking. teNeues-Verlag, 2012, ISBN 978-3-8327-9609-9 .
  • Filmmuseum Potsdam (Ed.): Babelsberg - Faces of a film city. Henschel, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-89487-508-9 .
  • Filmmuseum Potsdam / HFF (Hrsg.): Filmstadt Potsdam - Filming locations and stories hendrik Bäßler Verlag, Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3-930388-76-9
  • Wolfgang Berschein, Michaela Schubert: Potsdam-Babelsberg - the special travel guide. Babelsberg & Hollywood, villa colony, park, castle, media city. How it was and is. Wolbern-Verlag, ISBN 3-9808472-2-5 .
  • Uwe Fleischer, Helge Trimpert: How did you do it? Babelsberg cameramen open their bag of tricks. Schüren Verlag 2015, ISBN 978-3-89472-916-5
  • Annette Dorgerloh, Marcus Becker (Ed.): Everything just a backdrop ?! Film rooms from the Babelsberg dream factory. VDG Weimar 2015, ISBN 978-3-89739-845-0
  • Babelsberg. In: James Monaco, Hans-Michael Bock: Understanding Film. The encyclopedia. The most important technical terms for film and new media. Revised new edition. Rowohlt Taschenbuch, Reinbek bei Hamburg 2011, ISBN 978-3-499-62667-8 , p. 27.
  • Hans-Michael Bock : Berlin studios. A little lexicon . In: Uta Berg-Ganschow / Wolfgang Jacobsen (ed.): … Film… city… cinema… Berlin… Argon, Berlin-West 1987, ISBN 3-87024-105-5 .
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  • Wolfgang Jacobsen (Ed.): Babelsberg. The film studio . Argon, Berlin 1992 (3rd updated edition 1994, ISBN 3-87024-291-4 ).
  • Hanns-Georg Rodek : Peace to the villas, war to the palaces. A hundred years ago the first stone fell in the Babelsberg studio. The stars not only filmed there, they also lived across the street. In: Welt am Sonntag . February 12, 2012, p. 46 (online) .
  • Daniela Sannwald, Christina Tilmann (ed.): The women of Babelsberg. Life pictures from 100 years of film history . edition ebersbach, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-86915-059-8 .
  • Hans-Jürgen Tast (ed.): Anton Weber (1904–1979) - film architect at UFA. Schellerten, 2005, ISBN 3-88842-030-X .

Web links

Commons : Filmstudio Babelsberg  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Studio Babelsberg AG: Annual Report 2017 (short version) (PDF; 1.5 MB) Retrieved on July 19, 2018.
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  5. Potsdam Film Museum
  6. The clay cross | Retrieved July 19, 2018 .
  7. People on Sunday . Filmmuseum Potsdam, accessed on September 25, 2019 .
  8. ^ Wahl, Chris, 1974-, Schenk, Ralf, 1956-: 100 Years Studio Babelsberg: the art of filmmaking . Kempen, Niederrhein, OCLC 781437236 .
  9. Website of the Kulturhaus Babelsberg, entry “1. April 1938 " , Stadtnavigator Berlin, section" Nowawes (Babelsberg) " , see also the topographic maps Meßtischblatt 3644/1 Potsdam-Süd, 1912 and German Reich 1: 200,000 Potsdam (C), 1922
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  28. Focus: Film | News | Studio Babelsberg becomes a "dream factory". Retrieved July 19, 2018 .
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  37. Group structure - Studio Babelsberg AG
  38. Group structure - Babelsberg dream factory
  39. Coming Out, accessed on September 13, 2016
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  41. Chicken and Plums , Potsdam Latest News , July 29, 2010.
  42. ^ Anonymous , Berliner Morgenpost , April 29, 2010.
  43. Hansel and Gretel , Potsdamer Latest News , March 15, 2011.
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  53. Alisa - Follow your heart on
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Coordinates: 52 ° 23 ′ 13.1 ″  N , 13 ° 7 ′ 10.3 ″  E