- Posted February 12, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
iReport at the movies
Beyond Hollywood: Babelsberg Celebrates 100 Years of Filmmaking
She says: 'I also visited the costume department, but didn't include shots of it in this short video. Studio Babelsberg's costume department has over 250,000 costumes. I viewed some of the main costumes Kate Winslet wore for her Oscar winning role in The Reader as well as the costumes worn by Jude Law in Enemy of the Gate, Diane Kruger in Inglorious Bastards and Tom Cruise in Valkyrie.'
- elchueco, CNN iReport producer
Studio Babelsberg, the world's oldest large scale movie studio -- located just outside of Berlin, in Postsdam, Germany -- is celebrating its 100th birthday at the Berlin International Film Festival. Babelsberg's first film, “Der Totentanz” (The Dance of the Dead), began filming February 12, 1912. The Berlin International Film Festival runs February 9-19, and it will be showcasing a look back at the Best of Babelsberg. Special retrospectives will also be taking place from Los Angeles to London.
While the American Universal Studios and Paramount Studios were also founded in 1912, Babelsberg is the senior by a couple months. Universal Studios will celebrate its 100th birthday on April 30, 2012 while Paramount will celebrate its 100th on May 8, 2012.
I visited Studio Babelsberg early last month to speak with the studio's spokesman, Eike Wolf. Cloud Atlas, starring Tom Hanks, had just wrapped when I was at the studio. Cloud Atlas was budgeted at around US$100 million, making it the most expensive German-produced film of all time.
Wolf explained that American producers love Studio Babelsberg's "old school Hollywood model." Producers have everything they need in one place. Studio Babelsberg has 270,000 square feet of stage space and a 36 acre back lot alongside massive art, costumes and props departments. In fact, except for one day filming in Berlin, Roland Emmerich's recent movie Anonymous (a Shakespeare drama) was entirely filmed on the Babelsberg lot. Emmerich, originally from Germany, has become one of America's highest grossing film producers. Studio Babelsberg continues to attract such Hollywood heavyweights. Clive Owen created a life-size replica of New York's Guggenheim Museum on Babelsberg's lot, for his movie The International. Simiilarly, Tarentino constructed a full sized Parisian cinema on the lot for Inglorious Basterds.
Other international movies produced or co-produced by Studio Babelsberg include Bourne Supremacy, The Reader, Inglorious Basterds, Three Musketeers, Anonymous, Around the World in 80 Days, Ghost Writer and The Pianist.
In this iReport, Eike Wolf speaks about Studio Babelsberg's incredible 100 year history (including its connection to Alfred Hitchcock) and he takes me around the studio lot to show me a bit of what makes such a large studio tick, including a look inside the world's largest prop room!
Special thanks to Eike Wolf for lot filming permission and for taking the time for this interview.
For more info about The Berlin International Film festival, Studio Babelsberg, Filmmuseum Potsdam and Potsdam: