ASK YOUR LOCAL FIXER...
Here I have collected the frequently asked questions of my clients for your reference. Let me know how I can support you...and what additional topic you are missing in this "F.A.Q"
LARS VON LENNEP
"FIXER – THE UNSUNG HEROS" Respect to all my fixer collegues out there in MENA. Aljazeera did a tv reportage piece telling the story of some fixers working in the Middle East and assisting international correspondents, but never receive a credit
- DO I NEED ENTRY VISA FOR ME/MY STAFF AND A CARNET FOR THE KIT ?
Germany as well Austria are part of the European Union and members of the "Schengen" area meaning both countries don't have their own entry requirements but the EU/Schengen area entry requirements apply. Citizen of EU member countries can travel, move, work and stay in Germany and Austria as they like it. For citizens of many countries outside the EU, the European government has installed a visa free entry for up to 90 days. A carnet is recommended for all equipment that is brought from outside the EU to the EU.
- AS I NEED A PRESS OR A WORKING VISA, WHAT IS THE PROCESS ? CAN YOU ASSIST ME ?
If you or a member of your production crew isn't citizen of one of the countries that have contracted visa free entry to European Union, you will need to ask for a visa at the (German or Austrian) embassy in your home town before you start your travel. At embassy, they may ask your for a letter of assigment from your production company and maybe for an invitation letter from a company in EU. If needed so, I can issue such letter to your staff member as Lars von Lennep is a company enlisted in Germany.
- WHAT AIRPORTS DO YOU RECOMMENDED ? WHAT IS BEST WAY FOR TEAM TRAVELS INSIDE GERMANY ?
The main international airports with extensive intercontinental connections are Frankfurt (FRA), Düsseldorf (DUS) and Munich (MUC) for Germany; Vienna (VIE) for Austria. Some airports including Berlin (TXL) and Hamburg (HAM) offer a smaller range of international connections. When filming in the West of Germany (like the city Cologne), you can arrive via DUS, FRA or Amsterdam (AMS) in Netherlands. Travelling inside the country can be made easily by our 9 seater production van or via ICE high speed train. However the travel distance between (e.g.) Berlin and Cologne or Munich and Berlin will be around 5 to 6 hours and this will need you to schedule a travel day for the crew.
- WHAT IS THE BEST FILMING SEASON ?
Depends on the mood you need for your story. The weather conditions in Central Europe are usually very calm. From april to september the day light hours are longest. In december most of the city centers are decorated for x-mas season, and from mid of december onwarts more and more people take a time off. Finding additional local crew is difficult than and more expensive. Due to increased season tourism, rental cars and hotel rooms are more expensive too. In february you'll need to expect snow fall that may slow down the production schedule.
- WILL MY U.S. CELL PHONE WORK IN EUROPE ?
Yes it will – I never met a crew that had issues with that. Usually you can login to a partner provider right after landing. Due to expensive roaming fees, getting a local SIM card can be a good idea. I can get one for you.
- DO YOU SUGGEST BRINGING A SPECIFIC CREDIT CARD ?
MASTER and VISA are widely accepted by supermarkets, fuel stations, hotels and transportation companies. The acceptance of AMEX is smaller. ATM cash points can be found easily. This is important as you should always have some cash with you. Smaller shops and restaurants usually only accept cash or local banking cards.
- CAN I BRING MY CAMERA DRONE ?
As long you are from the EU: Yes; because the drone operation laws are similar all over the European Union. The drone itself needs to be registered by a local EU authority and the pilot needs to have a EU license and a damage covering insurance. As local fixer, I need copies from this certificates to ask for droning permission at the property owners in Germany. Sometimes, private locations will ask for a damage cover insurance that is including rescue costs. If your drone is registered outside the EU, an operation is not possible. Than it's more handy contracting a local drone pilot. I will help you with that, too.
- WHAT POWER SOCKETS DO YOU HAVE ? SHALL I BRING ADAPTERS ?
Please bring all adapters you need with you ! The power circuit here is 230V/60Hz using Central European socket design. Adapters to connect plugs from US, UK or JAP to local European sockets are difficult and expensive to buy in Europe, but easy and cheap to get in your home country. Usually I can provide you with an adapter as emergency aid, but i don't have a big warehouse of them.
- CAN I RECEIVE FILM FINANCING OR FILM FUNDS MONEY FOR MY SHOOT ?
99,9% no. More or less all film financing and supporting programs in Germany are given as economic development to the local film industry, Anyway...as a minimum requirement you'll need a distribution contract and local co-producer (receiving a part of the distribution income) plus all the financing you will receive from Germany must be spend in Germany with a specific percentage on top. The film funds supporting requirements read on paper very fair but In the reality, nearly all of the funds money is given to local producers that are working since many years with the funding system. Newcomers as well foreign film makers don't have a realistic chance participating from this funding system.
- HOW IS THE MEDICAL SYSTEM WORKING ?
You'll need to get an international health insurance of your choice from the company of your choice to cover healthcare costs as well transport costs back to your hometown. Medical treatment must be paid in advance by your credit card.
- CAN YOU ASSIST ME WITH KIT RENTAL PRICES OR GENERAL COSTS FOR MY BUDGETING ?
Yes, of course. In general, the prices here are not very different from the prices in UK or the US. Hotel nights and restaurant prices are a bit lower in Germany. Rental car costs and kit rental are similar. If you are in need for additional local crew, staff often must be employed by a local company and you need to calculate +25% on their rates for the legally required insurances.
- WHERE CAN I FIND UPLINK FACILITIES IN GERMANY ?
In all the big cities I can establish several uplink options for you – fiber glass, sat feed, ATM or a combination of this transmitting ways. As well you can have Sat/Easy Link van at the spot. I will take care for all the bookings.
- WHERE CAN I FIND COVID-19 FILMING GUIDELINES ?
Please refer to SARS-CoV-2 Safety Guidelines issued by the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs that can be found HERE
© 2020 Zauberwald Film- und Medienproduktion e.K.
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