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FAST LANE (GRENZVERKEHR)

FAST LANE
Director Stefan Betz & DoP Alexander Fischerkoesen

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 03/2004

FAST LANE is the story of three teenage boys who believe that the best way to become men is to straddle their mopeds and head for the nearest brothel; which just happens to be in the Czech Republic. There, they meet their own personal Waterloo: their mopeds are stolen and an attempt to liberate them only lands them in deepest do-do. Accompanied by a highly pregnant young Ukranian girl, there’s nothing they can do except break for the German border.

“I found the idea of three boys taking quite literally an unusual route to get laid an interesting one!” says former film journalist turned filmmaker Tom Blieninger. “Lower Bavaria is the border region with the Czech Republic and the film deals with the theme of crossing borders, literally and metaphorically.”

“The eastern bloc has changed from Communism to Capitalism and joined the EU,” continues Blieninger. “It’s an exciting time of change and all this comes into the film to give the story a certain dimension. The boys are young and naïve and we show them discovering this new country and themselves. It’s a serious comedy, if you like, but done in a charming, funny way.”

Writer-director Stefan Betz is a longtime friend and fellow filmmaker of Blieninger’s, having made shorts together, and once the script was ready, Blieninger gave up a highly paid job with great prospects at Blickpunkt:Film magazine “to look for the funding. I wanted to produce but not set up my own company,” he says. “As a newcomer with little practical experience I wanted to work within an existing structure.”

That “existing structure” is Uli Aselmann and Robert Marciniak’s die film.

“I knew Uli from when he was with a production company called ndf,” says Blieninger. “We met in 1997 and stayed in close contact. He offered to do FAST LANE via his own company. He did it all.”

Wanting “to avoid the feel of a typical 'Heimat' film,” continues Blieninger, “we’ve gone for an innovative look. Our DoP, Alexander Fischerkoesen, has many years experience on the police series Tatort and Polizeiruf 110. He’s also worked with Dominik Graf.”

And, in a statement guaranteed to win him enemies for life, Blieninger is “very proud of how quickly the financing came together. We did the first application at the end of January and got final approval end of April. We did something right! That happens so rarely and we’re all very proud. It’s due, I think, to the script, the production company and a realistic budget.”
Genre Comedy, Road Movie
Category Feature
Year of Production 2004
Director Stefan Betz
Screenplay Stefan Betz
Cinematography Alexander Fischerkoesen
Manuela Kempf, Robert Marciniak
Rainer Bartesch
Cast Dana Vávrová, Udo Wachtveitl, Saskia Vester, Henriette Richter-Roehl, Gabi Rothmueller
Producers Thomas Blieninger, Uli Aselmann, Robert Marciniak
Production Company die film gmbh/Munich, in co-production with Bayerischer Rundfunk
Length 90 min
Format 35 mm, color
Original Version
 German
Shooting Dates Lower Bavaria, Czech Republic, July - September 2004
Sound Technology Dolby SR
With backing from German Federal Film Board, FilmFernsehFonds Bayern, Kuratorium junger deutscher Film
German Distributor Solo Film Verleih/Munich