Black Forest Studios

Germany – a Country for Cineastes

Every year, the most famous film awards, the annual Academy Awards, are eagerly awaited and much discussed worldwide. This year, however, they are likely to have attracted even more interest in Germany and especially in Southern Germany, namely the Black Forest. Why is that so?  

Of course, first of all, not every year, a German film is nominated for 9 awards! In fact, only 4 times in the history of the Academy Awards, a German film won an award. The first in 1980, when director Volker Schlöndorff's adaptation of Günter Grass' novel "The Tin Drum” (“Die Blechtrommel”)" won the award for Best Foreign Language Film. It was followed by "Nowhere in Africa" (“Nirgendwo in Afrika”) in 2003 and "The Lives of Others" (“Das Leben der Anderen”) in 2007.

And now, in 2023, director Edward Berger’s first German film adaption of “All quiet on the Western Front” (“Im Westen nichts Neues”), based on the anti-war novel written by the German author Erich Maria Remarque in 1928, was nominated for nine Oscars, including also the category "Best Film", a first for a German film. In the end, “All quiet on the Western Front” won 4 Oscars (in the categories International Feature Film, Music, Cinematography and Production Design) and therefore more than any other German film before. Previously, the film had already won the category "Best Film" at the British Academy Film Awards.

This success brought the German film industry into limelight. An industry that is closely linked to Berlin, where in the Babelsberg studios, the world’s oldest film studio, classic movies such as “Metropolis” by Fritz Lang, but also modern blockbusters like “The Bourne Ultimatum”, “Bridge of Spies”, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay” or “The Monuments Men” were shot.

But Germany’s vibrant film industry is not only active in Berlin. The winner in this year’s Academy Awards in the category “Documentary Feature Film” was the documentary "Navalny," which tells the story of the poisoning of the Russian Putin critic Alexei Nawalny and was produced in the “Black Forest Studios”, a film studio near Freiburg in Germany’s South-West. Other busy film studios can for example be found in Munich, Frankfurt am Main and in the region of Cologne. Even though Hollywood and Bollywood still have a far bigger output, the recent success at the Academy Awards demonstrates that the German studios are becoming more and more competitive in terms of quality.

Germany is also a country of cineastes. According to official statistics, more than 1,700 movie theaters existed in Germany in 2022. And even during hard times, the German cineastes remain loyal to their favorite movie theaters. When the Friedrichsbau Kino, a small independent arthouse movie theater in Freiburg announced at the beginning of this year that it would have to close for economic reasons, approximately 37,000 people filed a petition and a large sum was donated to save the historic movie theater.


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