Producer Gabriela Bacher has been appointed as the managing director of the soon-to-be founded Studio Babelsberg Motion Pictures GmbH with responsibility for all media activities in Potsdam/Babelsberg and Los Angeles.

Reporting directly to Vivendi Germany boss Thierry Potok, she will also take over the running of the studios from Gerhard Bergfried who had stepped into the breach following the tragic death of Rainer Schaper last March (Screen Daily, March 2001). Bergfried will now concentrate his energies again on the area of production services at Studio Babelsberg.

Hailing from Vienna, Bacher worked with such directors as Axel Corti, Xaver Schwarzenberg, Volker Schloendorff and Rebecca Horn in the 1980's and 90's before serving as vice president of creative affairs for the KirchGroup subsidiary ITTC in Los Angeles from 1992-1995 and co-producing with such partners as Paramount, TNT, Hallmark Entertainment, CBS and Warner Brothers.

In 1995, she became senior vice president of production for Constantin Film with responsibility for international co-productions, including Smilla's Sense Of Snow and Prince Valiant. This was followed in 1998 by her setting up her own production company Primary Pictures in Los Angeles which is currently developing Leni Riefenstahl, with co-producer Jodie Foster in the title role, and Mesrine, a gangster story about France's No. 1 enemy of the state from the 1970's.

The new structure of Studio Babelsberg Motion Pictures GmbH will also serve as the mother company for the sales arm Babelsberg Film- und Fernsehvertriebs GmbH, UFA Babelsberg GmbH and Studio Babelsberg GmbH.