Film in Hamburg
Water is breaking against the quay. Gathering the last of his strength, a cloaked man pulls himself onto the banks of the industrial port. On the horizon behind his back: the HafenCity. The sun is about to rise above the Elbe, a giant container ship is making its way through the canal. The man is on his way to the central train station. He is under suspicion of being a terrorist.
These are the first scenes of A most wanted man, the international spy thriller that was filmed in Hamburg in 2013 – one out of many films to be produced in Hamburg in recent years. “I love Hamburg,” says director Anton Corbijn: “Port cities are interesting because a lot of influences come through the waterways. For the audience, Hamburg is a virgin territory – unlike Paris, New York, Rome or Amsterdam, cities that everyone has a mental picture of.”
Film Location Hamburg
Around 120 national and international film projects are produced in Hamburg each year, among them movies and television films, series and mini-series, as well as documentaries and short films. The most popular locations include the Fischmarkt square on the Elbe, the historic Speicherstadt warehouse district, the St Pauli Landungsbrücken, and of course the Reeperbahn – the “sinful mile”. 1,300 film businesses are based in Hamburg, among them established production companies such as Wüste Film, Relevant Film, Josefine Film, Network Movie and Studio Hamburg Produktion, which have been producing quality films for television and cinema for many years. Northern Germany is also home to numerous young producers and directors, and the initiative Hamburg lebt Kino provides a networking platform for up-and-coming film businesses such as Detailfilm, Tamtam Film and Junafilm, which, with its film Tore tanzt, was the only German company to be invited to the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. Hamburg is also becoming ever more important in the realms of animation and cartoon films, largely owing to the excellent productions of companies such as Trikk17, Animationsfabrik and Ulysses Filmproduktion.
Productions from Hamburg continue to win awards. In 2004, director Fatih Akin received the Berlinale’s “Goldener Bär” for his film “Head-On”. Two Hamburg-based producers of the German-Austrian film “The Counterfeiters” were bestowed with an Oscar at the Academy Awards, and Max Zähle (Raju) and Florian Baxmeyer (The red jacket), both graduates of the Hamburg Media School, were each honoured with a Student Academy Award. The documentary "Songs of war" as well as the mini-series "Generation war" have both received Emmy Awards. Ari Folman’s animation drama "The congress" was voted best animated feature film at the European Film Awards.
The City's Film Festivals
Hamburg’s vibrant, diverse film scene is also showcased at numerous film festivals that are held in Hamburg each year. With more than 140 screenings per festival, the Filmfest Hamburg draws more than 40,000 visitors every year. With its Douglas Sirk Award, the festival honours personalities who have rendered outstanding services to film culture and the film industry. The Hamburg International Short Film Festival and the Hamburg International Queer Film Festival are two of Europe's most important festivals in their respective fields. Further festivals in Hamburg include the Hamburg Documentary Film Festival, the Unerhoert Music Film Festival, the CineFest and many others. Nearly 30 movie theatres, including the Abaton, Zeise and Metropolis cinemas, screen a wide range of films, ranging from international blockbusters to regional art-house cinema. Open-air programmes and initiatives such as A Wall is a Screen and Flexibles Flimmern screen films outside the theatre and on public walls in Hamburg and around the world.
Contact: Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein
The Film Fund Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein (FFHSH) is the first contact for all aspects of film work in Northern Germany. It supports film and TV productions of all genres and lengths and also offers a wide range of services for film productions in the city. With initiatives such as Hamburg Loves movie it cooperates with Hamburg Tourism for a film friendly Hanseatic city. With the Danish-German Co-Production Development Initiative and the Producers Lab Hamburg FFHSH relies on international networking and helps local production companies to be co-productions.
Filmfestivals in Hamburg
07th - 10th November 2018
The Unerhoert festival was launched in 2007 as a platform for music documentaries, feature films and biopics of all music genres. The festival programme focusses on musicians and their bands, music festivals, and artistic approaches to works of Music.
8th - 10th November 2019
“Klappe Auf!” is organised by people with and without disabilities, who jointly develop the concept, choose the films and present them at the festival. Based on the idea of inclusion, the festival is barrier-free in every respect: all of the screened films are provided with subtitles and audio descriptions and are accompanied by sign language interpreting.
17th - 25th November 2018
Presenting treasures of the German film heritage, the CineFest is a forum for filmmakers, film historians, archivists and technicians. The three-day event in Hamburg also includes the International Film History Conference. The festival is organised by CineGraph Hamburg e.V. and the Federal Film Archive in Berlin in cooperation with numerous national and international institutions.
13th - 14th December 2018
From primary school cartoon films and feature films by independent filmmakers to experimental films by university students: this festival spans the entire spectrum of young talent from Hamburg. The programme is divided into several categories. The festival is organised by jaf e.V., a Hamburg-based media education organisation, and the JIZ youth information centre in collaboration with the Hamburg Institute for Teacher Training and School Development.
The Hamburg Documentary Film Festival has been providing a platform for international and regional productions since 2004. The festival features a broad range of documentary productions, including low-budget films. Further programme items includes the “International Competition” and “Retrospective” categories, as well as the socio-critical “direkt” series.
The Japan Film Festival Hamburg presents contemporary Japanese productions across all genres – from sophisticated art-house films and quirky genre films to colourful anime and light comedy. The screened films and the fringe programme reflect the diversity of the Japanese film sector and foster intercultural exchange. The festival is hosted by Nihon Media e.V.
4th - 10th June 2019
The Hamburg International Short Film Festival is one of Germany’s biggest short film festivals. It presents screenings of short film productions from all over the world. Categories include e.g. “German Competition” and “No Budget”. The festival is hosted by the Hamburg KurzFilmAgentur (KFA).
The Mo & Friese Children’s Short Film Festival is one of the few children’s film festivals in Germany that is dedicated solely to short films. The programme caters for children between four and 14 years of age. It is hosted by the Hamburg KurzFilmAgentur (KFA) and is held within the framework of the Hamburg International Short Film Festival.
26th September- 5th October 2019
Each year, the Filmfest Hamburg draws films and their makers from around the globe to Hamburg. Regional, national and international films are presented across different categories. As part of the festival, the Douglas Sirk Prize is awarded to outstanding personalities who have contributed to the development of film culture.
This festival presents children’s and youth films from the areas of feature film, animation and documentary to a young, enthusiastic audience. The festival addresses children between seven and 14 years of age and includes various side programmes such as film sponsorships for schools, as well as workshops and seminars.
16th - 21st October 2018
This lesbian & gay film festival presents current national and international film productions, providing a varied and nuanced picture of queer life. The Hamburg International Queer Film Festival was founded in 1995 and is organised by Querbild e.V.