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GFQ 1_2013

GfQ 1-2013 8 STRIVING FOR AUTHENTICITY A portrait of producer Peter herrmann PRODUCER PORTRAIT Peterherrmann(photo©MathiasBothor) “Studying ethnology was, in fact, good preparation for becoming a producer later on,” says Munich-based Peter herrmann, who is one of the few German producers who can say with justified pride that they produced an oscar® -winning film. “when I was a student of cultural Studies, we didn’t just cover one aspect of culture like sociology or psychology, but a holistic approach to the foreign cultures,” he continues, observing that “with very few exceptions, I have always made films which are about authentic or historical events and are true stories.” Although herrmann didn’t follow the usual path many film pro- ducers take by attending film school for formal training, he had a first taste of the world of filmmaking during field research in west Africa during his studies. “we didn’t really have any idea of what we were doing at the time when we made some ethno- graphic films about rituals – and I expect some students are still having to watch our films to this day! – but I got hooked on film and then began working in documentaries after graduation.” Initially, he made featurettes for Bavarian Broadcasting’s eve- ning news magazine program and gradually the films became longer until he eventually produced and directed a feature- length documentary on voodoo rituals in west Africa, GIN fÜr DIe GÖTTer, which was successfully released in the cinemas. The second half of the 1980s/early 1990s then saw herrmann working in commercials, travelling around the globe and pro- ducing for major clients, until he joined forces with Andreas Bareiss in 1994 to set up the production outfit MTM cineteve. his first production at MTM was romuald Karmakar’s DeATh- MAKer, a two-hander between Götz George (as the mass- murderer fritz haarmann) and Jürgen hentsch as his inter- rogator, which went on to win three German film Awards in 1996 for Best Director, Best film and Best Actor. “The film had a very small budget, but romuald had a very clever strategy to say that it should remain a chamber piece and we would concentrate everything on this one room and never leave it,” he recalls. “The result was very successful in the cinema and also won many prizes.” The subsequent years saw MTM handling the production of TV films for the ArD and ZDf networks, such as Dominik Graf’s frAU BU LAchT and Der SKorPIoN, and herrmann also looks back fondly on the collaboration with Günter rohrbach at the company when he stopped running the Bavaria film studios in 1994 and came to MTM as a freelance producer. “It was a great experience for me because I learned many things that I wouldn’t have otherwise,” herrmann explains. They made three films together: roland Suso richter’s A hANDfUL of GrASS and his two-part mini-series The BUBI SchoLZ STorY, starring Benno fürmann as the legendary boxer, and Jan Schütte’s fAT worLD. NowhereINAfrIcA(photo©BavariafilmInternational) S.08-09_Peter_Herrmann_Layout 1 25.01.13 09:36 Seite 1