From our correspondent, Sarah Horton, in Berlin.
2011 was a good year for Berlin and Studio Babelsberg with two major productions taking up stages and giving employment to local crews for most of the year. ‘Hansel and Gretel’, hosted by Stephen Scott in the Art Dept shot up until May, to be followed a few months later by ‘Cloud Atlas’, a complex tale set over several hundred years and ending in the future, based on the successful novel by David Mitchell.
This was a first of its kind, in that it featured two entirely separate units both led by international directors – Tom Tykwer (Perfume, The International) and the by now familiar Wachowskis (Matrix, V for Vendetta , Speed Racer) who just love shooting movies in Berlin and keep coming back for more. Like the proverbial Ark, there were two of everything – two Art Depts., two Construction teams, two Camera depts, two Production teams and so on., Tykwer concentrated on the locations while the Wachowskis remianed mostly in the studio apart from a brief foray to Mallorca. An all- star cast of Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and Hugh Grant amongst others promise to make this film one to watch when it is released in October this year.
After so much action in 2011, the mood was high for a busy 2012; which so far, has unfortunately failed to deliver. The Studios have been quiet after the abrupt and somewhat mysterious departure in February of ‘The Fast and the Furious 6’ for an Olympic-bound London.
Since then, Babelsberg has been celebrating its 100th anniversary this year with several spectacular events held during the Berlinale Film Festival including an evening hosted by Art Dept Studio Babelsberg, the sister company of the studios, for all Art, Props and Construction colleagues on the 24th floor of the Kohloff Tower at Potsdamer Platz. Many familiar faces and much champagne made for a wonderful evening and thanks go to CEO Michael Düwel and his team for their generosity.