Interview with Stefan Arndt and Burkhard Kieker
Mr Kieker, the city has a starring role in "Babylon Berlin". What makes Berlin such a special location?
You only have to walk a couple of feet in any direction in Berlin to see that it's full of history. Squares, buildings, and streets where history really happened. People who come to the city really sense this, for example, when they cross Glienicke Bridge, where spies were once exchanged, or walk the former Tempelhof Airport, the landing site of the Berlin Airlift. This atmosphere is also felt by people who watch movies and TV series shot in Berlin.
Mr Arndt, your new series has Berlin in the title. What is the significance of the city as a location?
TV series normally take place inside, in offices, apartments, etc. and might only spend one minute per episode outdoors. In "Babylon Berlin", our cast was out and about all over Berlin. More than 300 locations were used to take audiences to the Berlin of the 1920s.
What makes Berlin so special in the 1920s?
That's when everything that shapes our lives in today's Berlin got its start: democracy, capitalism, emancipation, drugs, modern fashion, the East-West conflict. Everything was changing, and now we're wondering if that chaos might return.
In the 1920s everything that shapes our lives in today's Berlin got its start: democracy, capitalism, emancipation, drugs, modern fashion, the East-West conflict. Everything was changing, and now we're wondering if that chaos might return .
Mr. Kieker, the 1920s, Berlin in film, and film tourism. There's hardly a better combination for city marketing, right?
The 1920s were a chaotic period of massive change for the city. Even if Berlin no longer looks like it did a century ago, traces of this period can be found everywhere. For example, in the Mirror Room at Clärchens Ballhaus. Since the latest trend is for people to travel to film locations, we expect the series to bring a lot of new visitors to Berlin.
How does the city's tourism benefit from films shot in Berlin?
Our figures tell us that tourists inspired to visit Berlin after seeing the city in movies spend €130 million a year in the city. But even more importantly, the impact of productions like "Babylon Berlin" on the city's global image and recognition value is priceless. Our support is therefore a worthwhile investment for the city.
Mr Arndt, to close, what do you especially remember about shooting in Berlin?
Staff at the Russian Embassy could have made our shooting nearly impossible for weeks because of their long-standing dedicated parking spots on the street, but we quickly found a solution thanks to the Berlin Senate and film-loving Russians. Berlin loves film!