Uni will plant production flag in Berlin


COLOGNE, Germany -- Universal Pictures is setting up a German production base, creating a division located in Berlin that will focus on local-language features.

"In the future, Universal will work as a truly global company," Universal co-chairman David Linde told German trade Blickpunkt:Film. "We're beginning to invest a lot of money in production outside the U.S., and Germany is one of country's we're focusing on."

Linde will provide details of Universal's German strategy at the Berlin International Film Festival, which kicks off Feb. 7. Linde will also announce the local person who will head the new division.

Universal had been circling German mini-major Constantin Film, producer of such films as "Downfall" and "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer." Linde confirmed the studio had been in talks with the Munich-based company but decided to go it alone. He said because Constantin is a publicly traded company, any takeover attempt would have been long and complicated.

Universal is now the second major to storm Berlin. Earlier this month, Sony Pictures announced plans for its own Berlin-based unit, which will act as its European production headquarters. Maike Haas, Sony's new vp international production Europe, will run the operation, focusing on German-language and pan-European projects.