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Holm Taddiken, Atta Yaqub, Christoph Franken, Kanwal Sethi (photo © Arthur Salewski)

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 02/2010

The Pakistani hairdresser Haroon is an illegal immigrant in Germany while the insurance office worker Mark dreams of emigrating. A car accident and its unforeseen consequences throws these two very different people together for a night. At the end of an odyssey through the alien world of illegality, they both discover something that unites them: the longing for faraway places and things.

Christoph Franken, born in 1978, who plays Mark, trained at the Otto Falckenberg School in Munich, spent four years at the Staatsschauspiel Hannover and since the 2009/2010 season is now at the Deutsches Theater Berlin. Known principally for his stage work, Franken was the naive Neo-Nazi in Brennendes Herz.

To Knotenpunkt (“Junctionpoint”) Franken brings his strength and temperament but also his ability to convey sometimes the strange, the scary, the tragic: his Mark is a young man whose suppressed life force is enormous, juxtaposed with the everyday existence of an insurance agent.

Atta Yaqub, as Haroon, was born in 1979 in Scotland to Pakistani parents. In Germany he is best known for his appearance in Ken Loach’s Just A Kiss. He is a gifted young actor who can transcend the cliché of a foreigner in western Europe to convey Haroon’s desperate energy.

Polish-born Karina Plachetka studied at Berlin’s Ernst Busch stage school and is now in the ensemble at the Dresdner Staatsschauspiel. Her previous films include Martin Gypken’s Wir (2003) and Nichts als Gespenster (2007), and Whisky mit Wodka (dir: Andreas Dresen, 2009).

Knotenpunkt’s director and co-writer Kanwal Sethi was born in Amritsar/India in 1971. He acted and directed even while at school, after which he founded an Afro-Indian theater group, directed and wrote for a literary and film magazine. In 1992 he moved to Germany and studied in Dresden, working regularly as a projectionist and translator. In 1999 he moved to Leipzig, where he took script seminars at the university and the Deutsches Literaturinstitut. In 2000/2001 he was an assistant director at Leipzig’s Schauspielhaus, a role he continued as a freelancer while working on a documentary, Raga, about Indian classical music, as well as developing Knotenpunkt. This is, says Sethi, quite simply “a film about those people who do not stay home. It is also a film that poses the question... Where is home?”

Producer Holm Taddiken studied Communication and Media Science in Leipzig, working on many short films which played at festivals around the world, incuding Munich, Dresden, Barcelona, New York and Palm Springs. After working in advertising he moved into film, adding Scala Productions (London), Rheinfilm (Cologne), Tellux (Dresden) and Senator Entertainment (Berlin) to his CV. In 2003 he opened his own shop, Neufilm, to concentrate on young German films with the emphasis on artistic quality.

Knotenpunkt,” Taddiken says, “is a film about people who dare or have dared to take a giant step. It is about that kind of courage in which lives the magic of adventure. Migration as a lasting, popular subject is what can make this film an audience success.”

Category Feature
Year of Production 2010
Director Kanwal Sethi
Screenplay Leis Bagdach, Kanwal Sethi
Cinematography Hanno Moritz Kunow
Peter Zorn
Oleg Belolipetskiy
Anne Schlaich
Cast Atta Yaqub, Christoph Franken, Kulbushan Kharbanda, Karina Plachetka, Barbara Schnitzler, Pasha Bocari
Producer Holm Taddiken
Production Company Neufilm, in cooperation with ZDF Das kleine Fernsehspiel
Format color
Original Version
 German, Punjabi
Shooting Dates Leipzig and surroundings, February - March 2010
With backing from Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung