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GFQ 1_2013

Contact Desert Flower Filmproduktion GfQ 1-2013 9 PRODUCER PORTRAIT DeSerTfLower(photo©Desertflower filmproductions/walterwehner/PeoplePhotography) At the same time, herrmann began working on the develop- ment of the screen version of Stefanie Zweig’s novel Nowhere IN AfrIcA which took him seven years from the point when the book came onto the market until the end of shooting in Kenya in 2001. “I had acquired the rights to the book very early on before it be- came a bestseller,” he recalls, “and then started looking for screenwriters and directors. I had worked with various authors when I finally decided on caroline Link as director after seeing her debut BeYoND SILeNce. That was exactly the style and way I felt the film should look.” however, herrmann wasn’t sure that he would be able to get the financing together for such an ambitious project – with a budget of € 7 million – for such a young director. This also changed, though, when BeYoND SILeNce was nominated for the Best foreign Language film Academy Award® and Link became a ’name’ that could then attract financing. The rest, as they say, is history: Nowhere IN AfrIcA opened in Germany at the end of 2001 and was the biggest grossing German film of 2002, subsequently winning five awards at the German film Awards and the Academy Award® for Best foreign Language film in 2003. Africa was also the setting for herrmann’s next project DeSerT fLower, based on waris Dirie’s incredible journey from the So- malian Desert to the catwalks of the world. Again, he chose a woman director – this time, German-American writer-director Sherry hormann – and then spent three years with her on de- veloping and honing the script before going before the camera. “The financing came together relatively fast even though it was a large budget,” herrmann notes, pointing out that shooting in english threw up new unexpected challenges. “on this project, we learned the different ways of working between German and Anglo-Saxon casting directors. In Germany, we are used to cast- ing actors and then proceeding with the final stage of financing. There’s always a close cooperation because the agents and actors know how things can change. But the agencies in the States and London want to know if you have the money and can place it in a trust account. once that is done, everything is possible.” It was straight after DeSerT fLower that herrmann began de- veloping a new project with hormann – ANLeITUNG ZUM UN- GLÜcKLIchSeIN, a comedy inspired by the Austrian-American psychologist and philosopher Paul watzlawick’s besteller The Situation Is Hopeless, But Not Serious, which stars Johanna wokalek, Iris Berben and Katharina Marie Schubert and was re- leased by Studiocanal in Germany last october. “It was quite unusual for me – my very first comedy,” explains herrmann. “I now have the greatest of respect for this genre because it is so hard to get the timing right, and it’s even harder when you are making a comedy which is gentler and more poe- tic.” he returned to the dramatic genre for his next project eXIT MArrAKech – which also sees him reunited with caroline Link for a second time and travelling once again to the African con- tinent. “caroline has always been preoccupied with family and relationships and she decided this time to focus on a father-son relationship. There was a feeling that the film shouldn’t be set in Germany or europe, but more in an exceptional situation, so we went off to Morocco for a two-week trip. we didn’t have any story, treatment or exposé, just the idea of a father and son on a journey together. This was also a different kind of working be- cause we weren’t adapting an existing book. Instead, we had an original story focusing on a specific idea.” eXIT MArrAKech – which stars BerLIN, BoXhAGeNer PLATZ’s Samuel Schneider as the son pitted against his theater director father played by Ulrich Tukur – will be released later in 2013 by Studiocanal in Germany. Looking ahead, Africa is not likely to feature in herrmann’s next feature film project which he currently has in development about the life of the dancer and resistance fighter Sylvin rubin- stein. In fact, he had already visited the subject matter when he produced a documentary about rubinstein entitled er TANZTe DAS LeBeN by Marian czura and Kuno Kruse in 2003. Kruse was also the author of a book published in 2000, Dolores & Imperio. Die drei Leben des Sylvin Rubinstein. rubinstein was an international star in the music halls of the 30s with his twin sister as the flamenco act ’Imperio y Dolores’ until the Nazi occupation in Poland tore them apart. Then, after the war, Sylvin became a flamenco star dressed as Dolores preserving the memory of his sister who perished in the holocaust. Martin Blaney  After studying ethnology in Munich, PETER HERRMANN worked in various positions in the film industry since 1984 and also directed documentaries. he co-founded MTM in 1994 and was ceo of MTM west television & film in cologne from 1999, taking over as sole shareholder in 2004. As a managing partner, herrmann founded Desert flower filmproduktion in 2005 as a special purpose company for Sherry hormann’s 2009 adapta- tion of the novel DeSerT fLower. he followed this in 2011 with hormann’s next feature ANLeITUNG ZUM UNGLÜcKLIchSeIN, and caroline Link’s eXIT MArrAKech. his biggest success to date as a producer was Link’s oscar® -winning film Nowhere IN AfrIcA (2001). The film also won the 2002 German film Award in five categories, the Bavarian film Award, and several other prizes. Previous to this, herrmann had produced roland Suso richter’s A hANDfUL of GrASS (2000), which won the cannes Junior 2001 in the children’s film section at cannes. his films as an executive producer have included romuald Karma- kar’s DeAThMAKer (1995) and Jan Schütte’s fAT worLD (1997). his TV productions include roland Suso richter’s The BUBI SchoLZ STorY (1997) and several episodes of TATorT and PoLIZeIrUf 110. S.08-09_Peter_Herrmann_Layout 1 25.01.13 09:36 Seite 2