Bavaria Filmstadt

bavaria-fimstadt-bootGREY SUBMARINE: Me in front of
a model of Das Boot (top), and
inside the submarine set (below).

Bavaria Filmstadt: Defiant Gauls, a luck-dragon, a gay starship and a doomed submarine. What’s the common denominator here?
They all feature on a tour of Bavaria Filmstadt, Munich’s own "mini-Hollywood".

The studio centre churns out dozens of productions annually for Germany’s television and cinema-going audience.
Some films made here like The NeverEnding Story and The Boat have cracked it big internationally.

You can go behind the scenes on a 90min guided tour through the studios.
What I liked about this tour was its interactivity – volunteers can perform in a few short skits which are cut into a mini-film and shown at the end of circuit.

On top of that there’s a 4D "Erlebniskino"experience cinema, essentially a 3D cinema with added wind and water effects.

The highlight, though, has got to be the stunt show, which lasts for about 45min and takes place in a big hall opposite the on-site McDonald's.

There’s a car chase, people catching on fire and even a flimsy plot about New York City cops chasing down a couple of gangsters.

Get set for the tour

bavaria-filmstadt-neverending-storyREACH THE STARS: On board Falkor the luck-dragon. Pic: Bavaria Fimstadt

Many sets from the tour won’t ring bells unless you’re into German TV and cinema, but they’re still fun to check out.

Included are sets from:

* The Boat
(German: Das Boot) (1981): The gritty story of a World War Two U-Boat crew, often considered the best German film ever made.
You can see several models of the submarine and walk through the cramped passageway where the interior shots were done.

*The NeverEndingStory (1984): Kids who are way too young to remember this movie can jump aboard Falkor the luck-dragon and see themselves on a zooming through the air thanks to the magic of blue screen. FYI, a remake of this film was scheduled for 2012.

bavaria filmstadt stunt showBURNING MAN: Things heat up
during the stunt show.
Pic: Bavaria Fimstadt

*Asterix and Obelix vs Caesar (1999) – Based on the classic comics, this film packed 'em in cinemas all over Europe. You can walk through the Gauls' village and see an arena-style set.

*(T)Raumschiff Surprise – Periode 1
(2004) – A Star Trek send-up featuring a trio of camp crew members. Tour volunteers can recreate the comic scenes.

*The Baader Meinhof Komplex (2008) – A bloody big-screen recount of West Germany’s Red Army Faction (RAF) terrorist group.

* Sets from soapies Sturm der Liebe (Storm of Love) and Marienhof.
These are the German-language equivalents of Days of Our Lives and the like.

The Bavaria Filmstadt is all rather pricey, but I recommend this one for film buffs and people travelling with kids.

The details

Here's the Filmstadt on the
As you can see, it's quite a
ways from the city centre and
is surrounded by woodlands. It's
quite close to the
Isar River, Munich Zoo and
Flaucher beer garden

Location: Bavariafilmplatz 7, in the suburb of Geiselgasteig. Bavaria Filmstadt is about 14kms south of the city centre.
Phone: 89 64 99 20 00
Mid-March to early November 9am to 4pm, November to March 10am to 3pm. Call ahead to check times for tours in English and French (they're always changing).
The tour alone costs €11, children aged six to 14, €8. Throw in the stunt show and 4D cinema and it’s €21 for adults and €18 for kids.

Directions: Take any S-Bahn to Rosenheimer Platz. Then go up to ground level and jump on tram No. 25 in the direction of Grünwald and get off at Bavariafilmplatz.
From there it’s still about 10min walk, follow the signs. Give yourself at least 45min to get there from the city centre.

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