Why did Prague and Malta replace Kiel?

Kiel / Munich. The camera travels through the cobbled streets and over the facades of the Gründerzeit. You see war damage and ruined construction, glide over imaginary fjords, vast shipyards and winding docks. He looks vaguely familiar in Navy Aura – but Kel?

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Large parts of the Sky TV series “Das Boot” are also shown there, and the actors and crew are well known in the German-speaking film scene, whose third season (directors: Dennis Gansel, Hans Steinbichler) is currently on. There, Kaiser Wilhelm II built the Imperial War Harbor. This is where the Reichswehr U-boat fleet was stationed during World War II. Whereas in the third season of “Das Boot”, U-949 and its young crew set out on an expedition to the Southern Hemisphere and end up in the middle of the Battle of the Atlantic.

TV series “Das Boot”: the filming location should convey a historical sense of Kiel

It was started by the production company “Bavaria Fiction” and oversaw the first three seasons of the award-winning “Das Boot,” says Moritz Poulter, who directed the Submarines series based on the Academy Award-nominated and Golden Globe-nominated film by Wolfgang Petersen (1981). Meanwhile, he has established his own production company “Windlight Pictures” under the British ITV umbrella.

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“The viewer must feel that they are in this city that could be in the north of Germany and at this particular historical time.” For the series “Das Boot”, not a single shot was shot in Kiel itself – most of the film’s scenes were filmed in Prague at the famous Barrandov Studios, which was also the location of such Hollywood films as Barbra Streisand’s “Yentl” or “Mission Impossible” with Tom Cruise. Malta was the filming location for the outdoor TV series “Das Boot”.

Polter on the set of ‘Das Boot’: Cale didn’t pass by

The fact that filmmakers are using locations other than the original U-boat story is by no means unusual and has good reason: “We were looking for locations that looked historical,” says Poulter. “Today Kiel would not have passed as an original location during World War II. It is about bringing the real places to the state they need to create a real look and feel.”

Petersen’s classic “Das Boot” was filmed in France and on Lake Constance, not in Kiel. Prague is where the producer finds what the successful chain needs: not completely renovated and overpriced with modern architecture. Also for the scenes of “Das Boot” in Lisbon, where the second plot line of the third season plays with the plot story, one avoided and made Malta the location. And even for the legendary mould, director Wolfgang Petersen moved to La Rochelle and Lake Constance – and above all to the Bavaria studios, where, according to size, the interior of the fishing submarine, corresponding to the ship of the Labo Museum, was duplicated.

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Money also plays a role in deciding on the location for the filming of “Das Boot”: “In Germany, with the exception of the German Motion Picture Fund, there is also funding from commissions, and for this you usually need a longer lead time,” says Moritz Poulter. It’s often less complicated on the outside, which is good for the tight timing of series filming. “

The exception is the hit series Sky and ARD “Babylon Berlin”, which takes place in Berlin during the Weimar period – it was created exclusively in Germany. Moritz Poulter also sees it differently for a series with a current background: “So shooting in Germany makes perfect sense, especially if it’s backed by the local finance scene.”

Filming takes place at Kiel Dock at a brewery

For the submarine mooring at Das Pot, a former brewery near Prague was flooded and the wave machine started, and the pier and plate piles were rebuilt based on old photos from Kiel. Kiel Fjord Pictures is a digital visual effects software. What is important is what characterizes time and that the viewer is able to recognize it.

A research team searched online archives for ancient perspectives that could be used as a template for the film’s preparation, collecting and comparing images of shipyards, submarines and the bombed city of Kiel. A type of jigsaw puzzle that results in a typical perfect picture.

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Filming days allow money to flow into the country

If funded institutions in Germany give money to produce a film, this is also subject to conditions. Among other things, the fact that some filming days are also in the financing area. This amount is spent one and a half times of the total funding amount for the current year in the funding area. Financed by Moin in Hamburg and/or Schleswig-Holstein.

When shooting a movie like this, the state and societies benefit from the so-called regional influence. It shows what has a direct economic impact. And how money flows to Schleswig-Holstein or Hamburg, from catering to film technology, from hotels to crafts. The number of shooting days is often contractually specified.

How the filmmakers treat the material in the editing room is therefore part of artistic freedom. In any case, places in feature films are rarely seen face to face; The image is created from static pieces from different locations or is isolated – depending on what the main story requires in terms of characteristics or mood.

Of course, the whole thing should be as historically true as possible. “For example, we have text-checking by historians to avoid historical errors,” explains Moritz Poulter. And in order to sail, the film team consulted former submarine captain Jürgen Weber.

“Doing this kind of dating is very expensive,” the producer explains. Searching, removing signs, adjusting street lighting – all this costs money. So the most difficult thing was the design of the “Das Boot” port facility, where the submarines are located. “We mainly need vacant buildings. That is why historical series are often shot in countries where this history can still be found to some extent.”

Model of the TV series “Das Boot”

Steven Spielberg was a role model for “Das Boot” initiator Moritz Poulter. The submarine itself was recreated for expansion in the film studio, as did Petersen. “So that the work on board is as original as possible and is remarkably narrow. Fictional literature must be eye-catching in order to appeal to a wide audience — even if it is at war,” says Moritz Poulter. Between fantasy and originality.

The measure of all things is for Paul Steven Spielberg’s war mini-series “Band of Brothers” (2001): “It’s incredibly captivating. And that sounds good without exaggerating the atrocities.”

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