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MISSION SPUTNIK (SPUTNIK)

MISSION SPUTNIK
photo courtesy of mm filmpresse

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 01/2012

Director Markus Dietrich’s feature debut draws on his personal experiences of growing up as a child in the former East Germany (GDR) and shows historical events from a child’s perspective. “When the Wall collapsed in 1989 and all the people in the world were celebrating, I was ten years old and in the midst of it,” Dietrich recalls. “But no matter what the politicians thought or kept silent about then: for me, the fall of the Wall wasn’t a world-changing event, but rather a superb adventure. And that’s exactly what I think also makes SPUTNIK [working title] so important. From the children’s perspective, it is an adventure.”

Dietrich’s screenplay opens in October 1989 with the month getting off to a disastrous start for 10-year-old Frederike when her beloved Uncle Mike is expelled from the former GDR. Inspired by her idol Captain James T. Kirk from STAR TREK, she and her two best friends build a transporter to “beam“ herself to West Berlin. But the experiment goes dramatically wrong: instead of beaming the three children, the entire village’s population disappears! They witness on TV how their families and friends desperately try to climb back over the Berlin Wall to home. Only swift action can undo the experiment and prevent the worst happening before the border guards open fire. It’s a frantic race against time for the trio and, what’s more, the nasty local policeman Mauder starts snooping around...

“What I like about this film is that it has two layers,” producer Leontine Petit of Hamster Film explains. “For the children, there is a lot of fun and adventure, but there is also an emotional story because the girl has to let go of the uncle she really likes and then tries to beam him back.

And on the parents’ level, it is all about living together with your children in the GDR and how to cope with certain issues that weren’t very easy. When Markus talks about the film, he says that he had a normal childhood and, as a child, he had an enormous imagination to help him survive and solve problems. So, in a way, the film is an ode to imagination.”

MB
Genre Children & Youth
Category Feature
Director Markus Dietrich
Screenplay Markus Dietrich
Cinematography Philipp Kirsamer
Cast Flora Li Thiemann, Finn Fiebig, Luca Johannsen, Emil von Schönfels, Devid Striesow, Yvonne Catterfeld, Maxim Mehmet, Jacob Matschenz, Andreas Schmidt, Ursula Werner, Bernd Stegemann, Marie Gruber
Producers Marcel Lenz, Guido Schwab, Dorothe Beinemeier, Leontine Petit, Joost de Vries
Co-Producers Dries Phlypo, Pavel Strnad
Production Companies Ostlicht Filmproduktion/Weimar, Hamster Film/Halle, in co-production with A Private View/Brussels, Negativ Film Productions/Prague, in association with MDR, NDR/Hamburg
Original Version
 German
Shooting Dates October-November 2012
Festivals Chicago International Children's Film Festival 2014, SANFIC 2014; Black Nights Tallinn 2014
With backing from Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung, Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein, German Federal Film Board, German Federal Film Fund, Eurimages, Czech Film Fund

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