When founded by Ernst Liesenhoff and Hanns Eckelkamp in 1967, Atlas Film & TV Produktion’s primary function was to produce German theatrical feature films. Embedded in a network consisting of theatrical distribution and international sales, Atlas Film & TV created German movies like “THE FOUR KEYS” and “PRECINCT DAVIDSWACHE”, both critically acclaimed and highly profitable then and now.
In 1972, Dieter Menz, at the time president and chairman of foreign sales company atlas international Film GmbH, bought all shares of Atlas Film & TV Produktion GmbH and moved it from Hamburg to Munich. Over the years this combination of an experienced sales organization, providing for realistic estimates on the commercial value of production projects and for fast recoupment of production cost, has proven successful and resulted in marketable product.
Dieter Menz was a lawyer who came from a film family. His father Erich Menz opened his first own cinema in Berlin in 1927. He later became a director of cinemas owned by the massive UFA corporation before falling foul of the Nazi authorities. Subsequently, he started his own group of movie houses in 1934. After the war he went on to build cinemas in the city of Essen, which, until 1993, the Menz family owned and operated. Among these was the famous "Lichtburg", the biggest and best-known cinema in Germany, at the time with a capacity of over 1.700 seats.
Apart from his sales activities, Dieter Menz had always been involved in film- and media politics. Since 1973, he had served as both chairman and member of the board of EXU (Export Union of German Film) and he was a long-time Chairman of the VDFE (Association of German Film Exporters).
As member of the German Producer’s Association, he had numerous times represented the Association at FIAPF meetings and had served in the German Oscar selection committee. For over 30 years he represented the German Filmexporters at the FFA (the Federal Film Subsidy Fund) where he was involved in the creation of various amendments to the German Film Subsidy Law. Starting early 2000 and for the following eight years, he served as board member of SPIO, the umbrella organization of all German Film Associations.
In 1994, he co-founded EFEX, the Association of European Film Exporters e.V. and was elected its first president. From 2006 to 2009, Menz was a member of the board of directors of EFEA, the European Film Exporters Association in Paris. When time permited, he also lectured at the HFF (University for Film and Television) in Munich on international sales of feature films.
Today, atlas Film & TV Production GmbH is owned and headed by Philipp Menz and Stefan Menz, his two sons, who are both experienced media managers with careers spanning over more than 30 years.