Martin Moszkowicz reflects on the history of Constantin’s cinema

Martin Moszkowicz reflects on the history of Constantin’s cinema

In his more than three decades at Constantin Film, Martin Moszkowicz has overseen the production of hundreds of films, including blockbusters such as “Downfall,” “The Baader Meinhof Complex,” the wildly popular “Fack Ju Goehte” films, and the hit Franchise. “Resident Evil”.

This year’s CinemaCon honors Constantin’s longtime CEO for his work and continued success at the global box office.

speaking to VarietyMoszkowicz reviews his career and discusses Constantin’s current challenges, his diverse programming, his new productions, and the expansion of his film and television activities.

Moszkowicz has spearheaded Germany’s most successful production and distribution group since 2014. While Germany remains its main market, Constantin has had a global perspective since its inception, and it was partly due to Moszkowicz’s international experience that it landed its first work in the company.

The late Bernd Eichinger, Constantin’s revered founder and managing director, recruited Moszkowicz in 1990. At the time, Moszkowicz ran a small production company and produced films around the world. When he joined Constantin, he brought what would be his first project at the company: Andrew Birkin’s romantic drama “Salt on Our Skin,” starring Greta Scacchi and Vincent D’Onofrio. Shot in Scotland, France, North America and the Caribbean, it was typical of the type of films Moszkowicz was producing at the time.

That experience made him an ideal candidate for Constantin, which focused on both German and international productions, including such classics as “The Name of the Rose” and “The Neverending Story.”

Eichinger had decided to move to Los Angeles and asked Moszkowicz to come on board as head of production. “I was looking for someone with an international background, who had an idea of ​​the scope of the films that Constantin was famous for, but who also made films in German, which was still the backbone of the company, even though we had these big international projects. movies,” Moszkowicz recalls. “However, everything changed pretty quickly because Bernd, as he said many times, hated Los Angeles and really didn’t want to stay there.”

In the end, it was Moszkowicz who went to California in the 1990s to build Constantin’s Los Angeles office with the team, while Eichinger focused more on Europe.

More than three decades later, Moszkowicz still visits the Los Angeles office regularly, but the company is a far cry from the Constantin of yesteryear.

“It was a family business, it was run as an Italian mafia chapter of the family business,” says Moszkowicz with a laugh. “We had a great amount of fun. It was a very Bernd-centric company.

“In fact, I was the second producer to join the company. Today, we have more than 50 producers working at Constantin.”

In fact, the company has grown from 35 employees at the time to about 800 today.

It was Constantin’s public offering of shares in 1999 that transformed it from a dynamic small company into a business group. “I’m still trying to figure out if that was a good thing or a bad thing,” jokes Moszkowicz. There weren’t many options if the company wanted to remain independent during the IPO boom of the time, he adds.

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“Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City” will hit screens in 2021. The next one is headed to Netflix.
Shane Mahood/Screen Gems/Everett Collection

A decade later, Constantin became part of the Swiss media giant Highlight Communications, which still owns 100% of the company.

Despite its growth, Constantin’s DNA has remained unchanged and continues to focus on films for both the German market and global audiences.

“No one else in Germany is doing that and very, very few companies in Europe are doing it. It is one of the great things that separates us from all our competitors. That is something that has remained the same. Bernd always saw the producer at the center of any show and that is part of our mission statement: We are a producer-oriented company.”

Constantin has also remained a very strong and stable company, he adds, and that strength has helped the company weather major storms, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing geopolitical upheavals.

“Obviously there are some things you can’t change. The theater business for the last two years has been incredibly difficult, if not impossible. Fortunately, our production business has been booming at the same time.”

The company has also experienced a brisk business in license trading, which has helped it through tough times.

“Fortunately we have rights, we have something that we can still monetize and we can still sell. Many of the new business models, especially with streamers, are based on the concept that the producer or the production company does not keep anything and that is almost never negotiable. If we had done that 10, 20 or 30 years ago, we would not exist today because we would not have been able to survive this crisis.”

After the pandemic seemed to be abating, the invasion of Ukraine began. Apart from the immense human tragedy, the war has had “an enormous effect on us because it basically means that you can no longer access another big theatrical market. On a purely commercial level, it means that Russia is no longer a market. You add that with China, which is so hard to get into with international movies these days, and two of the main theatrical pillars of the business are gone at the moment, and that’s a challenge. But the movie business, probably more than any other business, has been able to adapt to all of these challenges over the years.”

Flexibility, Moszkowicz stresses, is essential for navigating stormy waters.

Constantin is now gearing up for what he describes as one of the company’s best slates in years, beginning in May with Leander Haussmann’s Cold War film “A Stasi Comedy” and the animated “Mia and Me: The Hero.” of Centopia”. Other releases include Anika Decker’s “Love Thing”; Ed Herzog’s Bavarian crime comedy “Guglhupf Squadron”; “After Ever Happy,” Castille Landon’s latest installment in the “After” film series; and “Freibad” by Doris Dörrie.

The company’s upcoming productions include Paul WS Anderson’s fantasy adventure “In the Lost Lands,” based on a story by George RR Martin; and Landon’s MMA love story “Perfect Addiction.”

Also scheduled for production this year is “Hagen von Tronje” by Cyrill Boss and Philipp Stennert, a revisionist version of the Nibelungen saga based on Wolfgang Hohlbein’s bestseller. It’s “one of the biggest film projects we’ve ever put together,” Moszkowicz says, adding that it’s planned as a feature film and a six-part TV series.

Another major television production is Netflix’s new “Resident Evil” live-action series from showrunner Andrew Dabb, set to premiere in July.

In the past year, the company expanded its film and television operations with several new subsidiaries and divisions, including Los Angeles-based Upgrade Productions, a partnership with Matt Brodlie, Jonathan Kier and BRON Studios that is developing and producing films and series in local language for global audiences.

In Vienna, Constantin partnered with former Tele München Group boss Herbert G. Kloiber in the joint venture High End Productions to similarly develop and produce premium European scripted series for the international market. Projects in the works include Roland Emmerich’s “Those About to Die,” which explores the wild games and spectator sports of ancient Rome; and, by writer William Boyd (“Spy City”), “Maximilian and Carlota,” about the life of Emperor Maximilian of Mexico and his wife, Charlotte of Belgium.

The company also established Constantin Dokumentation, which brings together its documentary production activities under one roof. The movement followed the success of titles such as “The Hidden Life of Trees”. Constantin’s continued growth is further solidifying its international base and expanding the legacy and vision of its founder. For Moszkowicz, the company’s continued success has largely been a team effort.

“I’m really proud to be a part of this journey, and thanks to a wonderful team and the best people you can have in this business.”

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