• Lisa Blumenberg © Andreas Schlieter
    The Baton


Lisa Blumenberg © Andreas Schlieter

“For me, the role of a producer is like a conductor with a big orchestra,” says Lisa Blumenberg who has worked for the Studio Hamburg Production Group since 1996. “You also get to work with great soloists and, together, one is able to create something that would probably not have been possible as an individual.”

“Quite a few people can’t really imagine what it means to be a producer because the profession is so comprehensive,” she explains. “The job ranges from having that original idea, which could be just floating around in my head or a writer’s, and then working on it with a lot of great people who bring in their own creativity, as well as being responsible for the financial side and accompanying the project and steering it right through to the end.”

In the 25 years at her “homebase” of Studio Hamburg Production Group, Blumenberg has been involved in overseeing numerous TV productions which have received critical acclaim as well as finding favour with TV audiences. They have included Claudia Garde’s TV film DIE FRAU AM ENDE DER STRASSE which was presented with the VFF TV Producers Award, the bestseller adaptation Neue VAHR SÜD which garnered, among others, the Grimme Prize, German Comedy Award and Bavarian Television Award, and, most recently, the international TV series BAD BANKS which received the German Television Award, Grimme Prize and a nomination for the International Emmy, among many distinctions.

“From the outset, I have always been interested in complex and ambivalent female characters and often put them in the centre of the stories,” Blumenberg explains. “You can see that just in the titles of some of my productions like DIE FRAU AM ENDE DER STRASSE or DIE FREMDE FRAU as well as with the female protagonists in BAD BANKS.”

“It’s the stories, characters or particular settings that interest me, are unfamiliar to me or make me curious - that’s what motivates me to embark on developing a project rather than wanting to follow specific themes.” And so it was, for example, with the BAD BANKS series.

The seeds for this project were sown back in 2008 during the financial crisis where governments around the globe were having to bail out the banks.“This world of banks was completely unknown to me, but I was curious to know more about the people who work there and what drives them,” Blumenberg notes.

The series – whose first season, directed by Christian Schwochow, aired in February 2018, with the second season, directed by Christian Zübert, following in February 2020 – marked a new chapter in the history of Studio Hamburg Production Group and its subsidiary LETTERBOX FILMPRODUKTION.

The move to become a player on the international TV market – in this case, with Luxembourg’s Iris Productions - was quite a new experience for Blumenberg who has focused until then on TV productions for the domestic German market, although LETTERBOX had previously made a foray into international feature film production with Bille August’s 2013 film NIGHT TRAIN TO LISBON.

Her next project after BAD BANKS, Maria Schrader’s sci-fi romantic comedy I’M YOUR MAN, has become, in her own words, “a very important milestone in my filmography.”

“From the very beginning, we had a great stroke of luck in the constellation with the broadcaster SWR and having Maria Schrader as director with co-writer Jan Schomburg,” Blumenberg recalls. “The collaboration was already a delight during the development stage and it has been so wonderful to see how much the film is appreciated.”

“What really fascinated me about this story was the concept of love between a human and a machine and the idea of a perfect, but artificial partner,” Blumenberg says. “The story poses such questions as what actually makes us humans and what really is love? Maria and Jan present all of this in such a humorous way with elements of the screwball comedy and yet, at the same time, retain a sense of profundity.”  

Martin Blaney