Location Managers Guild International

Summer 2021

The Location Managers Guild International (LMGI) is the largest organization of Location Managers and Location Scouts in the motion picture, television, commercial and print production industries. Their membership plays a vital role in the creativ

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LMGI COMPASS | Summer 2021 • 35 THE BABYLON BERLIN LOCATION TEAM David Pieper/LMGI LM (S1-S4) Mario Wi« mann/LMGI KALM (S1-S4) Dimitri Serovatski KALM (S1-S4) Steve Sautho‚ /LMGI KALM (S1-S3) Steve Wilks LC (S1-S3) Anna Lisa Kunkel LC (S4) Daniel Thomas ALM (S4) Julian Feuerstacke ALM (S4) Nick Hertwig Scout (S1-S4) Stefan Wöhleke Scout (S2-S4) Enzo Simon Set Manager (S1-S3) Badr Zouhir Set Manager (S4) Leo Hadrich Set Manager (S4) Philip Gritzka LM NRW (S1-S4) Frank Meter Scout NRW (S1-S4) had to fi ght to change a general fi lm ban into a permit for fi lming. That was rather annoying because there were no objective reasons for the rejection, but it still dragged on for almost half a year. In the end, there was a compromise. We had restrictions. For example: Actors were not allowed to smoke in the scene and we should be particularly quiet and only stay in certain areas. Because this location was so complicated and diffi cult, I went to the location myself in the morning and looked after it. At around 6 a.m., people with beer barrels passed me and went into the town hall—not in our shooting area, but also not far away either. Other people were carrying a music system with large speakers. Now I was really awake and had great ambitions an hour before crew call to fi nd out what was going on at the "sensitive" place. The management of the town hall, which gave us such a hard time, had simply not seen it as worth mentioning that a big carnival event takes place in the town hall parallel to our shooting. All Berlin "Karnevallsvereine" in full disguise and very drunk stormed into the town hall, danced to music in the main hall and were partying. This all happened in the morning and next to us, only separated by a door. There was real chaos in the front house. Completely drunk people in costumes staggered into the set on their way to the toilet. It was basically so blatant and without warning that I was speechless. We had previously warned our team to this sensitive location with all the restrictions, and we were in the middle of this situation ... I still have to laugh about it. How did you become a location manager? David: I wouldn't say it was by accident but also defi nitely not as a plan. I moved from this very small city to Berlin to study, and I fi nanced my studies as a driver. Mostly, I worked on music videos and advertising projects. That was also quite exciting and challenging. I had no idea about Berlin, where which street or which building is located. Navigation systems did not yet exist—just the good old city map that I've learned to love. That was the time when cellphones were just starting to hit the market. Somehow I managed it and was called by Klaus Grosse Darrelmann/ LMGI asking if I could help him with an advertisement. It was nothing less than Prada Perfume, directed by Jordan and Ridley Scott. This was the beginning of a great and long-lasting friendship that still exists with Klaus. It was also my fi rst contact with Studio Babelsberg and Markus Bensch/LMGI/AMPAS. That time was great as a location assistant, I was young, had ambitions and had the privilege to be part of projects like Valkyrie and Inglourious Basterds, followed by other projects like Ninja Assassin and Unfi nished Business. The most defi ning one was Cloud Atlas, my fi rst contact with director Tom Tykwer and production designer Uli Hanisch. A few years later, I got my fi rst offer as a location manager for a feature fi lm, Hologram for the King, directed by Tom Tykwer, production design by Uli Hanisch, line producer Marcus Loges. The leading actor was Tom Hanks. The collaboration with Tom, Uli and Marcus continues today. Mario: I wanted to work in fi lm and got lucky, even though I took a little detour. When I fi nished school and a year of social work (you had to choose at that time if you wanted to go to the military or do social work). I bought a ticket at an online auction for the 25th anniversary party tour of road movies, which was the production company of Wim Wenders. During that trip, I was offered an internship. I also met Klaus Grosse Darrelmann/LMGI. I did a couple of internships but decided to go to university and put the fi lm career on hold. After my graduation, I came to Berlin just knowing that I wanted to work in fi lm. Coincidentally, Klaus had placed an online offer looking for location set PAs for Valkyrie. I got the job and it was then that I fi rst met David. We worked up the ranks and David was actually the fi rst to offer me a job as assistant location manager when he became location manager. I've always been happy to work for him since. AEG Tunnel. Photo courtesy of Mario Wittmann

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