Friedhelm Schatz: Dietrich, Garbo, Rühmann & Co. – The spirit of Babelsberg is alive

Dreams have been playing the leading role in Babelsberg since 1911. More than 3,000 films for cinema and TV have al­­­ready been produced in the area of Eu­­­­rope’s biggest and oldest media grounds, located between the Wannsee of Berlin and the Sanssouci Palace. Here, Mar­lene Dietrich filmed “The Blue Angel”, laying the foundation of her worldwide fame. Stars like Greta Garbo, Heinz Rüh­­mann and Hans Albers were on camera in Babelsberg. Fritz Lang wrote movie history with “Metropolis”. – They all loved the atmosphere, the charm and the flair of Babelsberg.


Today the location represents a modern media city with about 130 companies whose business areas reflect the entire range of today’s media landscape. And by pro­viding jobs for about 2,500 permanent staff members and freelancers, Babels­berg is one of the biggest employers in the region of Berlin-Brandenburg. Be it traditional handicraft or the latest tech­­niques and technologies – they all have their place and form the basis of various networks.

The media city also comprises a public service broadcasting institution, the radio station “Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg”, and a long-established and dedicated training centre for young film makers and media workers, the Film and Television Academy (HFF) “Konrad Wolf”, as well as the German Film Orchestra Babels­­berg and “Radio Teddy”.

In the past few years, famous Hollywood productions were filmed in the film stu­­dios of Babelsberg. The Wa­­chowski brothers shot the film “Ninja Assassin”. Clive Owen was there to play in “The Inter­­na­tional”, and Bryan Singer produced the film “Val­­kyrie” with Tom Cruise. “The Reader” with Kate Winslet and Ralph Fiennes was made in Babelsberg as well as Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglorious Basterds”. Most re­­cently, Roman Polanski’s political thriller “The Ghost” has been worked on in the studios.


German TV series are also produced, in addition to big Hol­­ly­­wood movies. One example is Ger­­many’s most
successful daily soap “Gute Zeiten – Schlechte Zeiten” made by Grun­­dy UFA TV-Produktions GmbH since 1992.

The Filmpark Babelsberg has seen itself as the media city’s event platform since 1993. By focusing on the great tradition, the opportunities of the presence and the future of film and television, it en­­thrals hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.

The theme park is considered a touristic highlight of the region. Everything that has to do with filmmaking is featured here for the vi­­s­itors.

Every year, between Easter and Hallo­ween, the Filmpark Babelsberg enables an ex­­­clusive look into the fascina­­ting world of cinema magic, tele­­vision hits, live radio, stars and star­­lets. Be­­ing an employer for about 100 em­­­­­­­ployees and having eight trainee po­­si­­tions, the Filmpark Babels­­berg is a strong economic power in Potsdam with a social commitment.

The field Special Events & Catering cre­­ates unique worlds of experience where events are placed in cinematic surround­­ings. Be it a glamorous gala night in the style of an Academy Award ceremony, pro­­duct pres­­entations in the scen­­ery of sumptuous film productions, conferences far beyond tra­ditional congress centres, incentives which are integrated in spectacular adventures in an efficient and re­­sult-oriented way or the small company party as a goody for the employees – every event is planned in­­­di­­vidually and put into action with great at­­­­­­tention to detail, with the “little extra far be­­yond the rou­­tine”. The “Metropolis Halle®” is a new multi-func­­tio­­nal studio, suitable for TV, with an immediate connection to Filmpark Babels­­berg. It was opened on 10 Octo­­ber 2008 and it is the first loca­­tion in the media city which can be used for major events of na­­­tional and international in­­ter­­est, like conven­­­tions, film premieres, a­­­­ward ceremonies and TV and show pro­­ductions. Germany’s most impor­­tant media award, BAMBI, was presented in the Metro­­polis Halle® in 2009 and 2010.
Friedhelm Schatz, managing director of the Filmpark Babelsberg GmbH, and his partner Ekkehard Streletzki did not only take over the company Filmpark from Vivendi in 2003, but also 24 hectares of the media city altogether. While Film­­park Babelsberg uses little more than ten hectares, the re­­maining area gives room for development.


“The basic concept of the development has been finalized. Studio Babelsberg, HFF, RBB, UFA, many other companies as well as the Filmpark and the
Metro­­polis Halle® are the cornerstones of the future. Now we have to carefully develop further ideas, based on our partner com­­panies’ and our own plans and projects, to close the gaps. I think, a lot has been achieved
with the Metropolis Halle®, the
exterior decoration ‘neighbourhood of Berlin’ for the TV soap opera ‘Gute Zeiten – Schlechte Zeiten’, the Guido Seeber House and the Frö­­bel-Kinder­gar­­ten at the Filmpark, but many projects are still ahead of us”, says Friedhelm Schatz.

About 80,000 square metres of land in the media city are available for new companies.
Fried­­helm Schatz, who among others, roused manor “Krongut Bornstedt” from its slumber, established the western town Eldorado Templin, founded Germany’s first radio sta­­tion for children, Radio Teddy, and who has now also taken over the Ex­­plo­­ratorium Potsdam, has an op­­timistic view of the future of Babelsberg: “Already today, the media city of Babels­­­­berg is a wonderful place to work, teach and learn, to celebrate. Here you can have fun and be creative. We know that our guests from around the world feel at home here. We will continue working on this and personally, I hope we will never be finished completely, so it doesn’t get boring.”

Foto-Joachim-Liebe-KopieIn the 1960s the author was trained as a photographer in Celle. His daily routine included festivities and family events of all kinds. In 1973 he became an intern at film laboratory of the Bavaria-Studios in Munich. When he left the Bavaria-Studios in 1987, he was a line producer with a production budget of 80 million euros. Since 1993 he has been building on the stage of his dreams – the Filmpark Babelsberg.