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GFQ 1_2013

LOVEisREAL POKA (GOOD-BYE) Contact 2 Pilots Filmproduction Contact Jolle Film photo©JuriTschabanow photocourtesyof2PilotsFilm GFQ 1-2013 18 IN PRODUCTION Genre Romantic Comedy Category Feature Director Anna Hoffmann Screenplay Anna Hoffmann, Oliver Haller Director of Photography An- dreas Höfer Cast Natalia Beltiski, Pasha Antonov, Thomas Papst, Karin Hanczewski Producers Stephan Grobe, Oliver Haller Production Com- pany Jolle Film/Ludwigsburg Original Version German, Russian Shoot- ing Dates October-November 2012 With backing from MFG Baden-Württemberg, ZDF Kazakh-born director Anna Hoffmann has taken a very personal story for her feature debut POKA (GOOD-BYE) which also marks the first feature film production for producer Stephan Grobe’s Ludwigsburg- based company Jolle Film. “We made two short films together at the Baden-Württemberg Film Academy, but I hadn’t realized that Anna came from Kazakhstan be- cause she didn’t have any accent,” Grobe recalls. “In conversation, she told me that more than 4 million immigrants from Kazakhstan live in Germany, but they are so well integrated into life in Germany that people aren’t aware of them.” This led to them making the award-winning documentary WHERE IS THAT HOME NOW? as Hoffmann’s final year project in which she ac- companied her uncle and father by train from Bielefeld via Moscow to Almaty to re-visit the family home after 15 years in Germany. Hoffmann’s roots in Kazakhstan also provided the inspiration for her debut feature, the love story POKA (GOOD-BYE), which is set in 1990 when the wave of so-called ethnic Germans began moving back to Germany. The German Georg and Lena, the daughter of a Communist functionary, have fallen in love, but Georg is about to leave for his home- land, just as Lena learns that she is pregnant … The project was selected for the Baltic Bridge East by West (B’EST) pro- gram last year, and Grobe then used the platform of Tallinn’s Baltic Event at the end of November to look for potential partners to provide completion funding. He also plans to screen a rough cut to interested parties during the Berlinale. Speaking about POKA (GOOD-BYE), Hoffmann, who received a Special Lola in 2009 for THE HOUSEMAID, says “this story is about who we are and where we come from.” In addition, she is fascinated by the playing with language since “the mixture of German and Russian languages is very typical for the immigrants. They use it as slang, and I think this slang will enrich the film. Dominik Graf’s IN THE FACE OF THE CRIME is a great example for me in this context. That’s why it has a great DVD success among Russian-Germans.” MB Genre Drama, Romantic Comedy Category Feature Director Julia von Heinz Screenplay Julia von Heinz, John Quester Director of Photog- raphy Daniela Knapp Cast Karoline Schuch, Max Mauff, Lore Richter, Suzanne von Borsody, Trystan Pütter Producers Jörg Siepmann, Harry Flöter, Julia Röskau Co-Producers Saar Yogev, Naomi Levari Production Company 2 Pilots Filmproduction/Cologne, in co-production with Black Sheep Film Productions/Tel Aviv, Kings&Queens Filmproduktion/ Hersching Original Version German, English, Hebrew Shooting Dates October-December 2012 With backing from FilmFernsehFonds Bayern, BKM, German Federal Film Fund, Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, MEDIA “After I read a novel about a young German woman in Israel, I thought the story could make an interesting film. So, in 2009, I approached Julia von Heinz to write a screenplay and direct,” producer Julia Röskau recalls. In 2011, the project was then selected for the Berlinale Co-Production Market where 2Pilots found its Israeli partners Black Sheep Film Pro- ductions. As Röskau points out, after the casting sessions, it was “clear very soon” that Karoline Schuch – whose recent credits include SCHUTZENGEL and PUPPE, ICKE & DER DICKE – would be cast in the central role of Hannah who has ambitious career plans, but needs to show a commitment to social causes. Volunteering to work at a home for the disabled in Tel Aviv, she comes up against political activists and is the target of Holocaust jokes and teasing about being German from her superior Itaj. Hannah’s approach to Holocaust history gradually changes after she meets the survivor Gertraud – played by veteran actress Lea Koenig who is known as “The First Lady of Israeli Theatre” – and she is interested for the first time in her own family history. What’s more, Hannah and Itaj become ever close as they fall in love … Von Heinz explains that the film analyses “the special relationship be- tween third-generation Germans and Israelis since the Holocaust. Both are obsessed with the Holocaust since it has so essentially influenced their identities and, more than 60 years later, this shared history con- nects them in a way that also brings a certain closeness.” “It was naturally a challenge to be shooting in a foreign land and having German and Israeli crews working together with their different customs and working practices, although I see this all in a positive light,” Röskau says. Moreover, at the end of the film’s shoot in Israel, the visiting cast and crew had first-hand experience of the eternal Palestininan-Israeli conflict when rockets rained down on Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in mid- November. MB S.18_in_production1_Layout 1 25.01.13 09:49 Seite 1