Malte Grunert is the Managing Director of Amusement Park Films in Germany. After attending law school, Malte began working in the industry by producing documentaries in Munich. For many years he produced television at various companies including Bavaria Film and CLT UFA. From 2006 until 2009, he was head of the feature division at Studio Hamburg. He founded Amusement Park in 2009, in 2015 Daniel Brühl joined the company as a partner. Malte produced and co-produced 13 feature films to date, 6 of which were co-productions with the UK. Among them films like PERFECT SENSE, starring Ewan McGregor and Eva Green and directed by David Mackenzie who also directed YOU INSTEAD, another film he co-produced.
Most recently Malte Grunert produced A MOST WANTED MAN, based on the John le Carré novel and directed by Anton Corbijn starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Willem Dafoe and Rachel McAdams in the lead roles. He also co-produced MR TURNER by Mike Leigh, which premiered in competition for the Palme d’Or at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. Currently on release are the British/German co-production REMAINDER directed by Omer Fast which played in Panorama at the Berlin Film Festival 2016 and LAND OF MINE, a Danish/ German co-production directed by Martin Zandvliet that premiered at Toronto Film Festival 2015.
Amusement Park is based in Berlin and Hamburg and aims to creates quality projects with commercial appeal for an international audience. The company makes films in both English and German. The current development slate includes new projects from directors David Mackenzie (HELL OR HIGH WATER, STARRED UP), Martin Zandvliet (LAND OF MINE), as well as writers Purvis & Wade (SPECTRE, SKYFALL) and Bill Nicholson (EVEREST, GLADIATOR).
Why do you choose to offer your time to support participants on the Inside Pictures programme?
I very much enjoy the sharing and the exchange that happens in the sessions. Inside Pictures in particular brings together groups of a certain experience, which makes for a lively and informative session. Also, in general, I think it’s good to not be stingy with information or experiences, there is no merit or advantage in keeping “secrets”.
How do you think the programme benefits the wider industry?
Understanding challenges and being up do date on possibilities and limitations in an ever changing landscape will hopefully help reduce the amount of frustrating experiences. Getting films or TV series off the ground is complicated enough without running down foreseeable dead ends and wasting energy on that. Energy better focussed will hopefully make for better and more successful films.
What do you think are the biggest challenges producers are currently facing?
Probably casting on a level that will get your projects financed. Outside of the big brands and sequels, films and series are always like prototypes. In a landscape where there is such a huge competition for an audiences’ attention, it is key to give you project a noticeable profile. Attaching talent is the way to do so. While there might be lesser films than 10 years ago, there are obviously thousands of hours of high end television trying to do the same.
You are co-producing a lot with the UK. Can you tell us a little about your experience in financing films across the channel, what are the upsides, what are the challenges?
I always saw Amusement Park as a company that worked internationally and happened to be located in Berlin. Working internationally obviously means working in the English language so most of the sources of finance are not located in the same place that my office is, but are either UK or US based. I don’t think there are any particular challenges in working with the UK that wouldn’t be present in working with any other country, all will have specific terms of trade that need to be respected. What is sometimes a challenge is to always marry the different terms of trade. Compared to the US the UK shares a business culture and business manners with most of Europe and I think especially Germany, which makes it an easier collaboration than others.
Last year actor Daniel Brühl joined your company, can you tell us a little bit more about this collaboration? How does Daniel get involved in your projects?
Daniel joined as a partner because we both share the same taste and enthusiasm for films, genres, directors and stories. The idea is to grow the company by growing the number of project we develop. Daniel is obviously not exclusive as an actor, neither are the projects developed by the company exclusive for him to pick great parts from. In working together we are combining both our networks and the access that comes with them to find more and better projects and produce them. It is of course also the intention to develop projects that might be interesting for Daniel to act in or possibly direct. It will be a process over the next few years to get there, but if feels as if we are off to a great start.