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(Kein Bund fuers Leben)

On the set of "Kein Bund fuers Leben" (photo © Wiedemann & Berg Film/Erika Hauri)

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 04/2006

After this year's resounding success with Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's thriller The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen), producers Quirin Berg and Max Wiedemann have embarked on something completely different for their second feature film production with Granz Henman's military comedy Kein Bund fuers Leben.

"We both did our national military service ten years ago now," notes Berg, "and we both felt that we have to make a movie in this setting. Apart from Leander Haussman's NVA, the military comedy genre has been rather neglected for decades while it thrived in other countries. That has to do with the very special role that the German Army played for a long time. But, in recent years, the general attitude has – in a healthy way – become much more self-conscious. Thanks to this development, we are sure that now is the perfect time to make a comedy about military service, the first 'Bundeswehrkomoedie'."

While they were still at film school in Munich, the two producers began working on the development of a screenplay and later approached writer-director Henman whose past credits include the two Ants In The Pants comedies (Harte Jungs and Knallharte Jungs) and the Til Schweiger drama The Polar Bear (Der Eisbaer).

"He is the ideal man for the project and, as an Englishman who grew up in New York, brings a very special and objective angle to the subject matter," Berg explains.

Kein Bund fuers Leben sees Henman teamed up again with veteran cinematographer Gernot Roll – they had worked together on More Ants In The Pants – as well as with actor Axel Stein whose career really took off after the two Ants films, although Berg reveals that "we will see a new aspect of Axel in this film."

Apart from Stein, the young cast includes newcomer Franz Dinda (The Cloud/Die Wolke), Florian Lukas (Good Bye, Lenin!), Roland Nitschke (the German "voice" for Tommy Lee Jones) and Christian Sengewald (the lover in Francois Ozon's last feature Le temps qui reste).

Dinda, who received BUNTE magazine's New Faces Award earlier this year, plays the lead role of high school graduate Basti whose attempts to avoid being called up for military service are all to no avail. Instead of going to wild graduation parties and being with his new girlfriend, Basti only has marching and cleaning tanks to look forward to – that is, if it wasn't for his "comrades".

As Berg points out, the film's screenwriters and director Henman were all sent off to a crash-course at a local barracks as preparation for the film, and the actors also spent time at an army training camp before shooting began in Munich and a former barracks in Lengries in mid-September. "Only a very few actors these days actually did military service, so it was important that they got some drill experience," Berg says. "That will help them with their approach to their characters."

MB
Genre Comedy
Category Feature
Year of Production 2006
Director Granz Henman
Screenplay Oliver Ziegenbalg, Oliver Philipp, Carsten Funke, Robert Loehr
Cinematography Gernot Roll
Ueli Christen
Christian Kettler
Cast Franz Dinda, Florian Lukas, Axel Stein
Producers Max Wiedemann, Quirin Berg
Production Company Wiedemann & Berg Film, in co-production with Constantin Film Produktion, German Filmproduction GFP/Berlin
Format 35 mm, color
Original Version
 German
Shooting Dates Munich and surroundings, September - November 2006
Sound Technology Dolby SRD
With backing from German Federal Film Board, FilmFernsehFonds Bayern
German Distributor Constantin Film Verleih

Contact
Wiedemann & Berg Filmproduktion GmbH & Co. KG
Quirin Berg, Max Wiedemann
Akademiestr. 7
80799 Munich/Germany
phone +49-89-45 23 23 70
fax +49-89-45 23 23 99
info@w-b.film
http://www.wb-film.com