Iron Sky Goes Germany: Location Reconnaissance in Frankfurt

January 17th, 2010 by Janos Honkonen

As the previous blog post revealed to you, the Energia team is currently in Germany to meet the local (wo)manpower and handle various things having to do with the movie project. After finding out what the art department had been up to we headed off to Frankfurt to spend the next few days checking out the future shooting locations, ie. doing recce.

So, this is how things more or less works with us: the German art department checked out the storyboards and the concept art of the film, came up with their ideas about the sets and checked the demands our illustrious director Timo and director or photography Mika had for the locations. After that they hired a location scout, whose task it was to find the actual physical locations that matched the demands as well as possible.

(Flickr photoset from the trip)

Farm Life

Timo is planning on buying some cheese, and judging by his expression our director of photography is pondering whether it's "shoes first, pants after" or the other way around.

What we did from Wednesday to Saturday was to go around the locations our scout Regina Kaczmarek had found, after which Timo and Mika checked them out together with our production designer Ulrika. Timo made sure that the look and the feel was correct for the scene he had envisioned and Mika was there to determine how the scene could be filmed in the real life, where the camera would go, which locations required chroma (a fancy word for a green screen) and so on.

Around the Skyscrapers

Skyscrapers in downtown Frankfurt.

This part of the trip was sort of surreal, but very enjoyable for me as a whole. The surreal thing was that we basically spent 12 hours on the road, sitting in a car and occasionally jumping out to visit some really weird or cool place. A good example was our first stop, a very interesting communal antroposophic biofarm called Dottenfelderhof. It was basically a collective of several families, who were into hardcore farming, cheesemaking, baking, animal husbandry and things like that.

Farm Life

Fresh bread, straight from the oven.

Some of the other locations couldn’t have been further away from the first one. We visited really hardcore iron railway bridges, got on top of skyscrapers to see the massive view all around Frankfurt, skulked around an abandoned paper factory, drew long stares from guards in rather luxurious lobbies of large office buildings, screwed around in the news studio of a regional German television station and went for a trip to old and abandoned military tunnels that apparently stretched kilometers inside the Earth. One of my hobbies is urban exploration, so especially the tunnels and the abandoned factories made me want to call for a break, so I could spend a hour or two just inspecting them.

Military Tunnels

Deep inside a mountain.

On the Roof of a Skyscraper

Top of the world, on the roof of one of Frankfurt's skyscrapers.

A TV Studio

In a local TV studio. I think we got the lighting covered.

The last location of the trip was in many ways the most interesting of all: our potential new studio. It will be the place where the larger sets will be built in and where we will do all the difficult shots that require lots of green screen, constructed sets and controlled environments. What we got was three enormous hangars for the sets, a couple of smaller (relatively) halls which will be the set builders’ workshops, plus a big bunch of offices and such.


Yeah, guys, I don't think we are in Samuli's parents' basement anymore.

If all this sounds really glorious, you haven’t thought about the basics, which boils to this: we spent 12 hours in a day in the same car with the same people, who in this case happened to include Timo and Samuli. Then consider that one of Samuli’s maxims for humour is that “up in the ass of Timo” has to be incorporated in as many jokes as possible. Or situations. Or just repeated out aloud. So yeah, the humor in the car started of as loud, drifted off into hysteria and plunged into murky depths of retardedness. I’m honestly surprised our German hosts didn’t just strangle us and leave us at the roadside, but maybe we were saved by the language gap.

Morons on the Road

The mood in the car got a bit... restless in the end of the evening.

A Light Snack

A light snack, German style. This is us having lunch in a local restaurant in Frankfurt, full of older people eating dishes that were basically "sausages with a side order of meat". The food was delicious!

All right, next we’ll be returning back to Berlin to see some of our actors try out their costumes, and for several full days of casting new faces for the movie! Stay tuned to more blog posts on the road, don’t forget to check our Flickr for more photos and if you want to see links to new posts right in your Facebook feed, join as a reader of Beyond the Iron Sky in Networkedblogs!


Energia mobile office on the train - working high speed throughout Germany!

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11 Responses to “Iron Sky Goes Germany: Location Reconnaissance in Frankfurt”

  1. Angela says:

    Woohoo, cannot have enough of these blog posts.. keep them coming! And once more, thank you for sharing! “sausages with a side order of meat”… lol… :)

  2. Bagushii says:

    I see Apfelwein and grüne Sosse there, awesome! You def picked the right city for the shootings! On the Taunus ‘mountains’ theres a pretty cool old military tower as well if you didn’t check it out already, on Feldberg.

  3. Regina says:

    He Janos, thanks for sharing the information. great and have a good day
    g. regina

  4. And thanks to Janos and his twitchy trigger finger I don’t think we don’t need to worry about illustrating blog articles ever again :)

    Awesome pictorials!

  5. Der Björn says:

    Really does look like a fabulous reconnaissance trip :D

    While you’re at it, there is this huge abandoned american cold war army facility in the Odenwald forest in southern Hesse, about 70 kilometres south east of Frankfurt.
    It might not be soooo legal to scout around there, because I’ve heard it’s a tyre depot nowadays, but however, it looks like this from above:,+Odenwaldkreis,+Hessen&ll=49.747251,9.073935&spn=0.012506,0.027595&z=15

  6. Yes, Janos, welcome to the murky depths of retardedness. Now you know what you’ve become a part of.

  7. peter says:

    great pics, and welcome to germany: exactly it’s the right language to label big machines^^ but only in connection with a film in finnish… and black humor

  8. Hailey Metia says:

    It’s easier to keep out of the conversation and not take the chance of being misunderstood.

  9. [...] and the job started with a bang by a trip to Germany where we went to visit the art department, did some location scouting around Frankfurt and met with some of the actors in costume fitting and casting sessions. Because [...]

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