Film Attractions in Munich: The Film Capital You Didn’t Know Existed

Travel Journalism, Summer 2018

MUNICH– Cannes Film Festival is housed in France, but a true movie aficionado would be remiss to ignore the underutilized film treasures a mere country over. The city of Munich has started to be regarded as the capital of German film by German citizens, due to its growth in film production not having been affected by split-Germany, as it was in Berlin. However, this title is not just due to an increase in production, rather an increase of tourist attractions as well. Here are the top three tourist attractions any certified movie buff cannot miss when in Munich.

“Sneak Preview Night” at the CINEMA Filmtheater Munich

Nymphenburger Str. 31

Movie Theater Marquee reading "Cinema: Original Versions"

When you visit the website for the Sneak Preview Night, the first words one sees is “Friday night special for true movie freaks,” and no truer words could describe CINEMA Filmtheater. The Sneak Preview, which begins at 10:45 PM every Friday night, allows viewers to enjoy a film before its German theatrical release. The catch? The theater does not release the title of the film prior to the screening.

“Sneak Preview is pretty popular,” said projectionist Shiloh Wilson. “Our theater is one of the first that started doing this regularly, and I think it’s always exciting for customers, because they don’t know what is coming.”

On a Friday night in May, Wilson stood in the intricately mirrored lobby of the theater forty-five minutes before the opening of the Sneak Preview, and patrons had already started to gather in preparation. Do not associate German movie theaters with the get-in-get-out past-time of the United States; the lobby is arrayed with tables and areas to socialize before the movie begins.

Motioning to the patrons, Wilson elaborated on the success of Sneak Preview. “It’s often larger films, and one sees them before everyone else,” said Wilson. “Movie fans really love that.”

If you cannot stomach spending a night in Germany watching an English or American film – the only films shown at Screen Preview ­­– do not give up on CINEMA just yet. According to Wilson, the theater shows German films every other Wednesday.

Filmmuseum München

Sankt-Jakobs-Platz 1, 80331 München

The Münchner Stadtmuseum is already a TripAdvisor “Top 100 Things to do in Munich” destination, but the Munich Film Museum housed inside of this museum is a special place in the heart of the film capital. The name “museum” might turn the more entertainment focused tourist away from this must-visit attraction, but patrons at the Sneak Preview night assured me that the nomenclature was misleading.

“It is a great place to see movies,” said movie-frequenter Siri Widmann. She first informed me of the Film Museum while waiting in the lobby of CINEMA Filmtheater Munich for Sneak Preview. “It is very pretty.”

The museum houses an archive-based theater, regularly plays films remastered to their original language and format, often with a live music accompaniment. The films shown are done in a collaborative effort with Edition Filmmuseum, an extension of the museum which works to release its archives in DVD format.

“They always have good movies,” promised Widmann. “It is always a good mix of German movies and English movies, so it is a good alternative if you are looking for German movies as well.” 

The Film Museum also houses special showings for Munich’s film festivals. If you happen to be in the city during the Munich Film Fest, DOK.fest, or the International Film Festival, be sure to stop by the Film Museum to enjoy the next potentially award-winning film.

Bavaria Filmstadt

Bavariafilmpl. 7, 82031 Grünwald

Photo of street corner in Bavaria Filmstadt
Source: Wiki Commons

Even though Munich celebrates their rich film culture in museums and specialty theaters, the Bavaria Fiilmstadt represents the pinnacle of Bavarian film evolution. Luckily for the movie-obsessed tourist, these studios are not only open to the public, but have exhibits specifically designed for tourists to spend up to an entire day gorging on German movie endeavors.

Press consultant Carina Thomann describes the attraction as “a popular tourist destination for all film lovers and those interested in film production.” For those who may have an interest in international film, the Bavaria Filmstadt offers guided tours every day.

“The guided tour introduces visitors to background info on national as well as international TV and film productions,” said Thomann. “Alongside one of our kind and open-minded tour guides, you’ll experience original film sets of well-known and fascinating movies, (partially) produced here at the media center.”

In you’re interested in a more interactive educational approach to the tour, the studio also allows visitors to engage with the adventure-world “Bulleyversum.” This approach to touring gives context to the sets and the films through the virtual game. The studio also offers a 4D cinema ride to go along with this virtual world.

Munich continues to be in competition with other cities in Europe, such as London or even Berlin in its own backyard. However, when it comes to ways to celebrate films and film culture, Munich is overflowing with destinations and activities for tourists. If movies are of any interest at all, the capital of Bavaria has truly become a must-visit city.

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