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(Hexen vom Prenzlauer Berg, Die)

On the set of "Die Hexen von Prenzlauer Berg"

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 04/2004

Diethard Kuester's family fantasy TV movie Die Hexen vom Prenzlauer Berg has been a first for producer Manuela Stehr on several counts: "animals, children, special effects, window panes cracking, claps of thunder and conjuring tricks - what was there we didn't have?!" she enthuses. "This production was really great fun."

What's more, it was X Filme's first TV movie for one of the private German broadcasters and will air in a new season being planned by SAT.1 next spring for the Saturday prime-time 8:15 pm slot. "It is a clever strategy of SAT.1 because they have thought about when to make entertainment for the whole family," Stehr explains, "Saturday evenings are when you have couples with young children who they don't want to leave them alone at home, but are at an age of 8 to 10 where they are allowed to stay up and watch television as an exception."

As she points out, the screenplay had originally been developed with the writing team of Michael Wallner and Kerstin Hoeckel as a romantic comedy, but they were prepared to re-write it with the family and fantasy elements when SAT.1 commissioning editor Alicia Ramirez said she would like to have the project for the new Saturday season.

The film's plot focuses on the witch Karla (played by Christiane Paul) who lives in a flatshare in Berlin's Prenzlauer Berg district and runs a shop selling natural medicines. As luck would have it, she and fellow witch Miranda (Katja Riemann) have to make a sacrifice on Walpurgis Night to the Devil (Mathias Habich) in return for her magical powers - and, this time, a human being is the order of the night. The only problem is that Karla then starts to fall in love with the intended victim....

The cinemas and TV channels may be full of witches and hocus pocus à la Harry, Bibi and Buffy, but Stehr believes that Die Hexen vom Prenzlauer Berg can put another spin on things. "What's different here is that there aren't simply the good ones and the bad ones. In fact, even the Devil has a very nice side to him. Of course, that wasn't easy to sell to people because it's said that the viewers apparently want to have everything unambiguously."

As Die Hexen vom Prenzlauer Berg is not a 100% program commission from SAT.1, X Filme came onboard with financing and brought in Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg. In return, X Filme received the world sales and DVD rights and plans to release the film next year via its dedicated label with Warner Home Video.
Genre Fantasy

Year of Production 2004
Director Diethard Kuester
Screenplay Michael Wallner, Kerstin Hoeckel
Cinematography Theo Angell
Daniela Beauvais
Martin Todsharow
Cast Christiane Paul, Wotan Wilke Möhring, Katja Riemann, Matthias Habich
Producers Manuela Stehr, X Filme Creative Pool, in co-production with SAT.1/Berlin
Format 16 mm, color
Original Version
 German
Shooting Dates Berlin, June - August 2004
Sound Technology Dolby SRD
With backing from Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg

Contact
X Filme Creative Pool GmbH
Kurfürstenstr. 57
10785 Berlin/Germany
phone +49-30-23 08 33 11
fax +49-30-23 08 33 22
info@x-filme.de
http://www.x-filme.de