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(Maria am Wasser)

Scene from “Maria am Wasser” (photo © Steffen Junghans)

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 01/2006

"Thomas has diligently worked towards his first feature," says producer Jens Meurer of Egoli Tossell Film about Thomas Wendrich's Maria am Wasser which was shot on location at Dittersbach in the Erzgebirge and Schloss Neuhirschstein on the River Elbe.

"He has gone through a thorough development," Meurer continues, pointing out that Wendrich had appeared on the stage of the Berliner Ensemble many times before deciding to move over to writing screenplays. The graduate of Babelsberg's Academy of Film and Television won several prizes for his 2004 short Zur Zeit verstorben, including the Audience Award at the Filmfest Dresden and the DEFA Foundation Prize at Filmfest Cottbus, and was awarded the German Screenplay Award for his script of the Egoli Tossell production Nimm dir dein Leben by Sabine Michel.

In his feature debut Wendrich has returned home – like the main hero Marcus Lenk – to the places of childhood and youth: the landscapes of the Elbe valley, but Meurer stresses that Maria am Wasser "is not autobiographical, although it is still very personal. It is a bit like a Western in that a man returns to a place and turns everything upside down." In the case of Maria am Wasser, a organ-builder (played by Alexander Beyer, known from his roles in Sonnenallee and Good Bye, Lenin!) wants to restore the organ in the church of the film's title and attempts to win back the love of his mother.

Moreover, the setting has a personal resonance for Meurer as the church featured in the film is located in real life near to the village of Pillnitz where the producer's family hails from and which is still home for some of his relatives.

"Maria am Wasser is a love story," Wendrich explains. "The film tells of the hope of finding love in a place where not many people would think of looking for it. The desperation, love and hope of people whose lives seem to have come to a standstill are concealed behind the visible hopelessness of life in this country and the community's rejection of the main figure."

"I think Thomas is one of the outstanding new and proud German voices," enthuses Meurer. "His writing polarizes and he scares some people. The fact that the film is set in Saxony doesn't mean we are aiming for another reworking of East Germany. It is not an 'ostalgic' film, we're going to Saxony to show the world as it is today and enjoy filming it. It is a German film and not an East German film!"
Genre Drama
Category Feature
Year of Production 2006
Director Thomas Wendrich
Screenplay Thomas Wendrich
Cinematography Istvan Imreh
Philipp Stahl
Kai-Uwe Kohlschmidt
Wolf Marcus Goeppner
Cast Alexander Beyer, Annika Blendel, Marie Gruber, Falk Rockstroh, Hermann Beyer, Wladimir Tarasjanz
Producers Jens Meurer, Judy Tossell, David Groenewold
Production Company Egoli Tossell Film/Berlin, in co-production with German Filmproduction GFP/Berlin
Format 35 mm, color
Original Version
 German
Shooting Dates Dittersbach and Neuhirschstein, October - December 2005
Sound Technology Dolby SR
With backing from German Federal Film Board, Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, Kuratorium junger deutscher Film
German Distributor Timebandits Films/Potsdam

Contact
Egoli Tossell Film AG
Jens Meurer, Judy Tossell
Revaler Str. 100
10245 Berlin/Germany
phone +49-30-2 46 56 50
fax +49-30-24 65 65 24
contact@egolitossell.com
http://www.egolitossell.com