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Babelsberg Studio

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Entrance to the Babelsberg Studios
Entrance to the Babelsberg Studios

Babelsberg Film Studio (German: Filmstudio Babelsberg, FWBBG1), located in Potsdam-Babelsberg outside Berlin, Germany, is the oldest large-scale film studio in the world, producing films since 1912. Today it covers an area of about 25,000 square metres (270,000 sq ft) and thus is Europe's second largest film studio after Cinecittà in Rome, Italy.[1][2]

Hundreds of films, including Fritz Lang's Metropolis and Josef von Sternberg's The Blue Angel were filmed there. More recent productions include V for Vendetta, Captain America: Civil War, Æon Flux, The Bourne Ultimatum, Valkyrie, Inglourious Basterds, Cloud Atlas, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Hunger Games, and Isle of Dogs.

Today, Studio Babelsberg remains operational mainly for feature film productions. Furthermore, it acts as co-producer on international high budget productions.

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Movie set Berlin at Filmpark Babelsberg, adjacent to the studios
Movie set Berlin at Filmpark Babelsberg, adjacent to the studios
Babelsberg Studios in 1952.
Babelsberg Studios in 1952.

In 1911, the film production company Deutsche Bioscope built its first glasshouse film studio (early studios designed to take advantage of natural light) in Neubabelsberg. The company had been originally formed by Jules Greenbaum in 1899 and incorporated in 1902.[3][4] As his business increased, Greenbaum made a deal with the chemist Carl Moritz Schleussner of the photochemicals firm Schleussner AG in Frankfurt/Main. Carl Schleussner had been involved since 1896 in producing negative film stock for Röntgen photography soon after its discovery.[5] In February 1908 Carl Schleussner bought a majority share in Deutsche Bioscop as a film manufacturing, duplicating and sales operation, for a 2/3 share of 140,000 marks, with 1/3 provided by Jules Greenbaum & his brother Max. Ownership of Deutsche Bioscop was transferred to Schleussner AG and registered on 27 February 1908: Schleussner bought out the Greenbaums' remaining share of Deutsche Bioscop in 1909.[6]

The first filming in Babelsberg began as early as February 1912 for The Dance of Death by Danish director Urban Gad. In 1920 the Deutsche Bioscop Gesellschaft merged with Erich Pommer's Decla-Film GmbH to form „Decla Bioscop“. In 1928, Decla-Bioscop merged with Universum Film AG (Ufa) which had been founded in 1917. This company built the large studio (which is now known as the "Marlene Dietrich Halle") in 1926 for the major film production of Metropolis by Fritz Lang.

The first German sound stage in Babelsberg, the Tonkreuz, was built during 1929, to make use of the Tri-Ergon sound-on-film process to which Ufa acquired the rights. Ufa's first successful full-sound film Melodie des Herzens/Melody of the Heart with Willy Fritsch was in fact made in Hungary in 1929,[7] although this was followed in April 1930 by the premiere of The Blue Angel (which was made at Babelsberg)[8] by Josef von Sternberg, with Marlene Dietrich and Emil Jannings in the main roles.

From 1933 to 1945, around 1,000 feature films were made in the studios and on the studio lot. Under the direction of Hitler's propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels, the studio churned out hundreds of films including Leni Riefenstahl's openly propagandistic Triumph of the Will (1935). The virulently anti-Semitic propaganda film Jud Süss (The Jew Süss) (1940), was also made at Babelsberg.[9]

On May 17, 1946 the DEFA (Deutsche Film AG) was established, producing over 800 feature films, including 150 children's films. In addition, over 600 films were made for television from 1959 to 1990. The DEFA period was honored by a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York City in 2005.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Treuhand took over the responsibility for the privatisation of the former DEFA. In August 1992, the Treuhandanstalt sold the former DEFA film studios in Babelsberg to the French group Compagnie Générale des Eaux (later absorbed into Vivendi Universal). Over the following 12 years the company invested around €500 million updating the studio's infrastructure.

In July 2004, Vivendi sold Studio Babelsberg to the investment company FBB (Filmbetriebe Berlin Brandenburg GmbH), which has Carl Woebcken and Christoph Fisser as shareholders. In Spring of 2005, the restructured studio presented an initial public offering and began trading on the free market.

2007 was the most profitable year since the Studio's privatization in 1992 - 12 feature films were shot at Studio Babelsberg, among them Valkyrie with Tom Cruise, The International with Clive Owen, and The Reader with Kate Winslet.

In 2008 Studio Babelsberg and Hollywood producer Joel Silver formed a strategic alliance to produce feature films from the Dark Castle production slate at the world’s oldest film studio.

Recent co-productions of Studio Babelsberg include Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds (released 2009), Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer (2010), Brian De Palma's Passion (2012), and George Clooney's The Monuments Men (2014).

Notable films shot at Babelsberg Studios

The 1927 film Metropolis was made at Babelsberg. (Photo shows the statue of the film figure Maria in the Filmpark Babelsberg.)


See also


  1. ^ Studios - Luce Cinecittà
  2. ^ Studio Babelsberg Archived 2011-08-18 at the Wayback Machine. - "Mit der Erschließung des direkt in der Nachbarschaft befindlichen Filmgeländes mit den Studios Neue Film 1 und Neue Film 2 konnte Studio Babelsberg seine Studiokapazitäten verdoppeln und verfügt so über Europas größten zusammenhängenden Studiokomplex.", retrieved 3 December 2013 (German)
  3. ^ Bock & Bergfelder 2009, p. 166-167.
  4. ^ Hampicke, Evelyn (2015). "Jules Greenbaum". CineGraph - Lexikon zum deutschsprachigen Film (in German). Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  5. ^ Eisenbach, Ulrich, (2007).Schleussner in: Neue Deutsche Biographie 23, pp. 68-69 [Online edition (in German).
  6. ^ Hampicke 1996.
  7. ^ "Melodie des Herzens". (in English). Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  8. ^ "Der blaue Engel". (in English). Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  9. ^ Spiegel, 09/06/07
  10. ^ Alisa – Folge deinem Herzen
  11. ^ Kaum haben die Hexenjäger Hänsel und Gretel Babelsberg verlassen… MAZ /, retrieved 18. February 2013
  12. ^ TV-Drama – Nacht über Berlin,, retrieved 18. February 2013
  13. ^ Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten: Homeland-Serie in Babelsberg – Der Dreh beginnt, vom 2. June 2015, retrieved 6. August 2015
  14. ^ Märkische Allgemeine Zeitung: „Drehstart für »Berlin Station« – Nächster Coup für Studio Babelsberg“, 17. November 2015,retrieved 24. November 2015
  15. ^ Das bringt das Filmjahr 2017 für Babelsberg aus: Märkische Allgemeine Zeitung / 28. December 2016, retrieved 3. April 2017
  16. ^ Märkische Allgemeine Zeitung: „Drehstart für Krimiserie »Babylon Berlin« – Erste Klappe im Frühjahr“ www.maz-online 10. September 2015, retrieved 31. January 2016
  17. ^ Studio Babelsberg: References 10. September 2015, retrieved 31. January 2016


  • Bock, Hans-Michael; Bergfelder, Tim, eds. (2009). The Concise Cinegraph: Encyclopedia of German Cinema. Berghahn Books. ISBN 9780857455659.
  • Hampicke, Evelyn (1996). "'More than ten lines' Jules Greenbaum. A contribution against forgetting in film history.". Positionen deutscher Filmgeschichte (Positions of German film history) (Discourse-film-8) (in German). Schaudig, Michael (ed.). Munich: Discourse Filmverlag Schaudig & Single. pp. 23–36. ISBN 978-3926372079.
  • Hans-Jürgen Tast (ed.) Anton Weber (1904–1979) - Filmarchitekt bei der UFA (Schellerten 2005) ISBN 3-88842-030-X;

External links

This page was last edited on 21 July 2018, at 20:25
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