Much has happened in Berlin in the decade between the release of Tom Tykwer's Run Lola Run, which exploded onto the European film-making scene in the late 1990s, and his latest film, The International, which opened this month's Berlinale.
'Berlin is completely up there with any other big film city in terms of production craft. Anything you want to set up here is equal to London, New York or Los Angeles,' enthuses Tykwer. 'You have brilliant stages here in Babelsberg, and they even found a space large enough for us to build the Guggenheim museum inside.'
While there was some location work in Milan, Istanbul and New York on The International, Tykwer was adamant the film's pre-production, production and post-production be concentrated in Berlin.
'It has become important for me that my working and personal lives can co-exist,' says the Berlin-based film-maker. 'It even helps the movie if you are being reminded of the usual and unusual events of daily life on an everyday basis.'
Since the international success of Run Lola Run in 1998 (it was his third feature following Deadly Maria and Wintersleepers), Tykwer has moved between large-scale English-language productions such as Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer and now The International, and more personal endeavours such as a portion of the omnibus film Germany '09, a project he initiated.
This winter Tykwer has been collaborating with the young Ghanaian-Kenyan director Hawa Essuman on the low-budget film Soul Boy, set in the Nairobi slum of Kibera in Kenya, as part of a project to support arts and education for children in African slums.
'It is as far away as could be possible from a project like The International,' he observes. 'Creatively, it was exciting and underlines my personal interest in the film medium itself because it has so many ways of presenting itself. Doing short films is something (DoP) Frank (Griebe) and I have always liked because it gives you an opportunity to experiment with different ways of film-making.'
The film-maker is now developing 'a really fascinating and ultra-demanding concept' with Andy and Larry Wachowski to adapt Cloud Atlas, the 2004 Booker Prize-shortlisted novel by UK author David Mitchell. The scope of the novel is enormous - the action roams from the remote South Pacific in the 19th century to a distant, post-apocalyptic future. Tykwer says Cloud Atlas may be made as a co-production with his Berlin-based production house X Filme Creative Pool.
In addition, he is developing a mini-series based on Dave Eggers' 2006 novel What Is The What, based on the real-life story of Valentino Achak Deng, a Sudanese refugee and member of the Lost Boys of Sudan relocation programme.
At the same time, Tykwer may be donning his producer's hat at X Filme again, alongside developing his own projects. 'I am very tempted by a staggering new project by Sebastian Schipper (whose Sometime In August screened in the Berlinale Forum) who has a fascinating idea for a rough, edgy political drama he is developing right now,' he says. 'I am angry myself because I didn't want to get involved, but the project is just so good.'
Tom Tykwer's Cultural Life
Favourite recent film: Jerichow by Christian Petzold
Favourite recent book: What Is The What by Dave Eggers
Where do you find inspiration' 'From life and sometimes from my nightmares.'