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Old Is Gold

This state in Germany is better known for its cities like Dusseldorf and Cologne, and offers fairytale castles, old-world cityscapes and beautiful landscapes for filmmakers scouting for fresh locations

North Rhine-Westphalia, economically the most developed state in Germany, expresses itself through its pristine architecture, diverse culture and picturesque cityscapes. Situated deep in the west, it is an epitome of German architecture with Gothic, Art Nouveau and modern buildings beautifully juxtaposed.

Düsseldorf is the capital, while Cologne is the largest city. The capital, renowned for its fashion extravaganzas and trade fairs, is an important business centre. At sundown, the promenade beside the Rhine River is postcard-perfect. Altstadt, literally the ‘old town’, is one of the 49 boroughs of the city. Decked up in immaculate edifices, it is known as the longest bar in the world, as it is home to more than 300 bars and discotheques.

Other notable places within the city’s boundary are Schloss Benrath, a Rococo-style castle; the Düsseldorf-Hafen, a new district; Königsallee, an urban boulevard lined with high-end boutiques; and Kaiserswerth with ruined castles.

Cologne is noted for its Gothic architecture, much of it reconstructed post-World War II. The robust list of landmarks includes churches and cathedrals – Cologne Cathedral, Great St Martin Church and St Severin Church – and medieval houses like the oldest city hall. Of the 12 medieval gates, three of them are now boulevards swarmed by day-trippers. Cologne is also known for its skyscrapers, which adds a slice of modernity to an otherwise old setting.

Aachen is an ancient town historically recognised as a ‘spa town’. Also, the coronation of the King of Germany took place in this town. Sights worth seeing are the Aachen Cathedral, a perfect example of amalgamation of various styles of architecture, the 14th century city hall and Baroque-style monasteries. The two city gates are other attractions.

True to its moniker, Green Metropolis, Dortmund is a getaway huddled in greenery. Nearly half the area is covered by parks, gardens, agricultural space and forest. Alleyways are covered with trees, which makes for an amazing film backdrop. Another city in the green belt is Wuppertal. Münster, on the other hand, is an independent city known for its umpteen historical attractions.

While these are just a few cities, North Rhine-Westphalia has a whole lot of other towns and settlements that brag about its ethnicity. And all of them are equally adept in playing a paramount role in a film. These destinations are made even more striking by the availability of production support and free services offered by the film commission, Filmstiftung North Rhine-Westphalia.


The Film Commission is open to local and foreign producers who want to film and work in North Rhine-Westphalia. It’s also a consulting partner for authorities and agencies which wish to strengthen their involvement with film and broadcasting producers.

The Film Commission North Rhine-Westphalia supports and advises both local and foreign producers in their search for locations, studios, technical film services and professionals working in the industry. It also assists in establishing contacts with authorities and acquiring film permits.


Support is available for the development and/or production of feature-length cinema films, short films and a range of projects, from productions costing millions to low-budget productions.

From the very beginning, Filmstiftung discusses with producers the possibilities of shooting films in North Rhine-Westphalia. Consulting the applicants and monitoring productions are as much a part of the day-to-day activities as is financial support.

A producer who manages to convince the commission with his or her script and financing concept receives the support. The heart of the support is the so-called ‘North Rhine-Westphalia effect’: Producers must spend at least 1.50 euro in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia for every euro granted by the Filmstiftung in the course of production. This condition brings a growing amount of investment capital to the film industry in the region of North Rhine-Westphalia. Over the 19 years since its inception, the Filmstiftung has supported more than 1,400 films with a budget of over 480 million euro, according to this principle.

Who can obtain support?

Producers are eligible to apply. Their place of residence does not necessarily have to be in North Rhine-Westphalia or in Germany.

How are films supported?

Applications must be submitted 11-fold, together with 11 copies of the script.

The jury of the Film Funding Committee makes decisions (at sessions that are usually held every two months) based on recommendations by the Chief Executive Officer.

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