Bavaria Studios — often described as the heart of the Bavaria Film group — may be one of Europe’s largest and most state-ofthe-art film and television production facilities, but it also boasts an illustrious past that long ago cemented its place in cinematic history.
Film pioneer Peter Ostermayr founded the studios, originally known as Münchener Lichtspielkunst, in 1919. Six years later, a young Alfred Hitchcock arrived at the site in Grünwald, south of Munich, to shoot his first film, “The Pleasure Garden.”
It was renamed Bavaria Film in 1932 by new owners. A decade later, Germany’s Nazi government merged it into the UFA-Film group along with several other companies. Productions continued at the studios in the post-war era and Bavaria was eventually reprivatized in 1956.
A number of high-profile U.S. pics shot there during that time, including Stanley Kubrick’s “Paths of Glory” with Kirk Douglas in 1957. Douglas returned the following year with Tony Curtis for Richard Fleischer’s “The Vikings.”
The 1960s saw such classics as Billy Wilder’s “One, Two, Three,” starring James Cagney, and John Sturges’ “The Great Escape” with an all-star cast including Steve McQueen. Jerzy Skolimowski’s cult coming-of-age drama “Deep End,” “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” starring Gene Wilder, and Bob Fosse’s “Cabaret,” starring Liza Minnelli, followed in the early 1970s.
These days the company’s soundstages are usually occupied with TV productions from most of Germany’s major broadcasters. Bavaria Studios is equipped with 12 soundstages, the largest measuring more than 3,150 square meters (approximately 34,000 sq. ft.).
Film production continues, however.
Bora Dagtekin lensed his 2017 box office smash “Fack ju Göhte 3” at the studios and Tim Fehlbaum recently used the facilities for his upcoming sci-fi thriller “Haven: Above Sky,” whose producers include Roland Emmerich.
Bavaria also operates post-production and vfx unit D-Facto Motion; FTA, one of Europe’s largest costume and prop departments; the Bavaria Studios Art Department and affiliated facilities across the country.