The German capital is making its way to the TV sets of viewers in Arab countries
Berlin at prime time: Arabic TV series puts German capital in starring role
Berlin, 22 April 2015 In Berlin, one of the most successful production companies in the Arabic-speaking world is filming a 30-part TV series in Berlin, named “Memory of a Paper” (“Zakira Min Waraq” in Arabic). This could have a decisive impact on tourism to Berlin in the years to come.
Burkhard Kieker, CEO of visitBerlin, remarks: “visitBerlin has been able to convince a major production company from Kuwait to film a series here in Berlin. As it will be aired during prime time in Ramadan, we can expect this to have a tremendous advertising effect for our city.”
The film project is unique because it is one of the most elaborate productions of an Arab film team ever made abroad. No Arab production in Europe has previously lasted more than a week; this series is being filmed in Berlin for a total of seven weeks.
The series (30 episodes of 45 minutes each) will be broadcast during Ramadan from 18 June to 16 July 2015, the prime TV viewing season in the Arab world with the highest viewership numbers. The series is being made by Sabbah Pictures from Dubai in cooperation with Bridge Media, which is responsible for the production in Germany. The series will run every day of the holy season and has so far already been sold to four Arab TV stations, including the market leader MBC. As a result, 220 million viewers in the Gulf States and other Arab countries will be reached by the series.
Story: The series will focus on the lives of Arab students in Berlin and how cultures come together. A group of Kuwaiti students, studying at the Humboldt University, gains experience with the foreign culture, lifestyle and nightlife of Berlin. 50 per cent of the scenes were filmed in Berlin’s cityscape. The series features twelve Kuwaiti film stars, each with large social media fan bases, including Shojoon Al Hajri (1.7 million Instagram followers), Fatma Alsafi (1.7 million) and Somoud Al Kandari (1.6 million).
The filming has been taking place since 9 March at various well-known sights around the city, including the Brandenburg Gate and the Gendarmenmarkt, as well as the Humboldt University and the Vivantes Hospital. The city appears in the first 28 episodes of the 30-episode series. Filming is expected to wrap up in Berlin by 26 April.
The Arab Gulf states are an important growth market for Berlin’s tourism. 2014 saw a 25 per cent jump in the number of overnight stays made by guests from the Arabic-speaking countries. In addition to lifestyle and family, many guests from the Gulf States come to Berlin for health care. Information in Arabic about tourism in Berlin is available at visitBerlin.de/ar and health.visitBerlin.com.