Sky series “8 days”: Berlin as a movie set – in no other city are so many films made

Endtime drama “8 days”
:It had to be Berlin, absolutely

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    Stefan Strauss

Elaborate shooting: The media board has promoted "8 days" with 500 000 euros.

Elaborate shooting: The media board has promoted “8 days” with 500,000 euros.

Photo:

Sky

It was on the morning of 11 August 2017, when people around the Hausvogteiplatz in Mitte could get an impression of the approaching end of the world. It was a picture of horror. Tired and damaged, the people looked like they fled with suitcases and bags hurried through the street, looted shops, knocked over cars and garbage cans, everywhere was dirt and garbage. Heavily armed soldiers tried to maintain the usual order. But that was useless. There was chaos in the city.

The scenario on Hausvogteiplatz was only the backdrop for the end-time drama “8 Tage”, which premiered at the Berlinale. The pay station Sky shows the eight-part series directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky and Michael Krummenacher from today on television.

Sky series “8 days”: In many scenes of the end-time drama, the capital appears

The story tells a horror scenario. A huge asteroid rushing to Earth at 50,000 kilometers per hour, it will hit in the middle of Europe. People are fleeing to the east, they want to get out of the city, there they have no chance of survival. The series features well-known actors: Christiane Paul, Mark Waschke, Nora Waldsttten, Fabian Hinrichs and Devid Striesow.

And in many scenes of the end-time drama, the capital appears. It had to be Berlin, absolutely. During a lunch break during the shooting of Hausvogteiplatz in August 2017, the director and Oscar winner Stefan Ruzowitzky told us that Berlin is very important for this series. After all, it’s about political Berlin with its government buildings and ministries. Ruzowitzy said he likes the city’s backdrop, “this mix of historic and new buildings”.

“Berlin is an international brand like Paris or New York”

This is how many directors and producers think. In no other German city are so many television and cinema films shot as in Berlin. And there are more and more from year to year. “Berlin is an international brand like Paris or New York with international recognition value,” says the managing director of the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, Kirsten Niehuus. “In Berlin, you literally stumble upon history and stories every step of the way. Here are credible stark opposites united under many roofs: glamor and glamor on the one hand, drug swamp and crime on the other. Berlin is a living myth. “

And the city does a lot to uphold this myth and to make the Berlin-Brandenburg region a lucrative location for production companies – especially with money. The Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, a state-run film promotion company, has supported more than 3,000 film and television productions with 374 million euros over the past 15 years.

A city turns off:Berlin as a location for successful series

The last eight days: end-time scenario at the underground station Hausvogteiplatz.

The last eight days: end-time scenario at the underground station Hausvogteiplatz.

Photo:

Sky / New Super / Stephan Rabold

Small role: the author as an extra with angry people who need a visa.

Small role: the author as an extra with angry people who need a visa.

Photo:

Sky / New Super / Stephan Rabold

Elaborate shooting: The media board has promoted "8 days" with 500 000 euros.

Elaborate shooting: The media board has promoted “8 days” with 500,000 euros.

A family in a state of emergency: the daughter Leonie, played by Lena Klenke.

A family in a state of emergency: the daughter Leonie, played by Lena Klenke.

Photo:

Sky / New Super / Stephan Rabold

With child in the disaster: Nora Waldsttten as Marion.

With child in the disaster: Nora Waldsttten as Marion.

Photo:

Sky / New Super / Stephan Rabold

Escape on the train: Mark Waschke as a family man Uli.

Escape on the train: Mark Waschke as a family man Uli.

Photo:

Sky / New Super / Stephan Rabold

Enjoy: The series "Babylon Berlin", a filming location was the Delphi Weissensee.

Enjoy: The series “Babylon Berlin”, a filming location was the Delphi Weissensee.

Photo:

ddp / INTERTOPICS / LMKMEDIA Ltd.

New Content (3)

Charlottenburg in the 50s: The ZDF series “Kudamm 56”.

Photo:

imago / Reiner Zensen

Not squeamish: Fahri Yardim (r.) And Felix Kramer in "Dogs of Berlin".

Not squeamish: Fahri Yardim (r.) And Felix Kramer in “Dogs of Berlin”.

Clans and crime: "4 blocks" was created in 2016 in Kreuzberg and Neuklln.

Clans and crime: “4 blocks” was created in 2016 in Kreuzberg and Neuklln.

Photo:

Handout / 2017 Turner Broadcasting System Europe Limited & Wiedemann & Berg Television GmbH & Co./dpa

Last year, film productions received nearly 40 million euros. That was so much money like never before. The rules are clear: If successful, the producers have to pay back the money. And the entire funding must be spent on filming in the region.

And so the pictures of the city appear in several films and series funded by the Medienboard: “You are wanted!”, “Babylon Berlin”, “4 Blocks”, “Homeland”, “Berlin Station” as well as German productions like “Der Ballon” , “Fack Ju Gthe 3”, “Gundermann” and “System Sprenger”. In 2018 films such as “The Kangaroo Chronicles” by Dany Levis, Caroline Links “When Hitler stole the pink rabbit”, Philipp Stlzl’s “I’ve never been to New York” and Karoline Herfurth’s “Sweethearts” were promoted. With money from Berlin emerged series like “The New Time” by Lars Kraume and the third season of Babylon Berlin.

The most frequently shot is currently in Mitte and Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf

It seems as if filming is going on all the time in Berlin. The number of shooting days in the region has more than quintupled in the past 15 years. The Berlin Public Transport Authority granted 2642 Dreherlaubigungen last year. In 2012, there were just under 1000 citywide.

The most common is currently being filmed in the inner city districts Mitte and Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf. Brandenburg Gate, Victory Column, Government District, Central Station, Kurfrstendamm and side streets are still the most popular motives of filmmakers, according to traffic management. Almost everything is approved, what the production teams want. “Refusals are the absolute exception,” says Derk Ehlert of the Senate Traffic Administration.

The filmmakers should feel comfortable in the city – also because the film productions are welcome with their million-budget in the city. According to the Berlin Economic Administration, about 35,700 people are employed in more than 4,000 companies in the film industry in Berlin and Brandenburg. There are actors, technicians, craftsmen, experts for special effects, car rental companies, transport and catering companies as well as a number of extras. For the third season “Babylon Berlin” alone, the agency gives film faces 3000 extras, especially men between the ages of 18 and 30. The minimum salary is 90 euros per day. “Whether as a backdrop for major international film productions or neighborhood documentaries – Berlin as an authentic metropolis is in great demand,” says Economics Senator Ramona Pop (Greens). Berlin is at the top of the film and television locations in Germany.

The search for suitable film locations becomes more difficult in Berlin

But more and more residents react annoyed to the film shoots in their streets. Film production company employees report that residents complain more frequently because the film crews’ lorries block the parking lots in front of their house for days, run generators constantly, and even at the turn of the night, drivers have to drive their production cars to the new location. In some streets of Kreuzberg, Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg is constantly filmed a new film.

And so – with all the praise for the film metropolis Berlin – now also the Scene Finder, Location Scouts, a problem. “Finding suitable motifs is becoming increasingly difficult in Berlin,” says Tatjana Liebenow, location scout from Berlin. The freelancer looks especially for public service television productions such as the ZDF crime series “A strong team” matching locations. It also belongs to the Federal Association Locationscouts. She says that it has become more difficult in Berlin to find suitable locations for films that play around the post-war period or in the GDR. In the meantime, production companies are moving away to Eastern European neighboring countries, preferring to turn in Prague and Budapest.

“We need the streets of the city. Because without these locations, there would be no more films from Berlin “

Even empty factories and ruins are barely to be found in the region. And property managers reject filming in private homes more often than in the past. Police and prisons do not let film crews into their buildings anymore. The producers have to dodge. In the Netflix series “Dogs of Berlin”, the beer brush in Steglitz served as the headquarters of the State Criminal Police Office. And in the series “8 days” the reconstructed police station stands as a backdrop in a parking lot at Fritz-Reuter-Allee in Britz.

For city scouts, the city is still attractive, says Tatjana Liebenow. Popular filming locations are villas in Zehlendorf, the restaurant Borchardts in the French street and the hotel Waldorf Astoria in the city west. In Kreuzberg people like to shoot at the Kottbusser Tor and Hallesches Ufer. “We need the streets of the city. Because without these locations, there would be no more films from Berlin, “says Tatjana Liebenow.

But the location scouts also know that they can no longer offer the Kottbusser Tor to any film company. There was already too much shooting.