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Laura's Star (Lauras Stern)

Laura's Star
Scene from "Laura's Star"

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 01/2004

2D or not to 2D? That is the question every producer is asking in the light of computer animation taking the international box office by storm. Indeed, following a string of recent 2D flops, many in Hollywood have written off traditional animation entirely.

It’s a false conclusion, argues Thilo Graf Rothkirch, “cinemagoers want solid stories, characters, situations and emotions with which they can identify. The animation is there to serve the film, not the other way round.”

Sticking with what he knows and knows to work, Rothkirch’s latest film, Laura’s Star “achieves its three-dimensionality,” he says, “by using 2D for animation and putting light and shadows on characters and backgrounds. We film well-known children’s books and the characters have to retain their positive recognition factor.”

Taken from the book by Klaus Baumgart, Laura’s Star tells the story of seven-year-old Laura who moves to a new town. She finds it hard to make new friends until she finds a, quite literally, fallen star. It’s the start of a great friendship. At the end, Laura learns that love means also having to let go so the star can return to the sky.

“It reaches the heart and soul,” says Rothkirch. “People have an affinity with stars and they are fascinated by Laura who has a relationship with one.”

Laura’s Star marks another step in Rothkirch’s ongoing relationship with Warner Bros., which is once again handling domestic distribution and international sales.

“We’ve had the best of good fortune with Warner Bros. since we first worked together on Tobias Totz,” says Rothkirch. “I can only describe Willi Geike (Warner Bros. Germany’s managing director) as an artist. He understands design, color, movement and composition.”

As with his last feature, The Little Polar Bear, Rothkirch is producing locally. “We don’t use large factories in Asia. We’re making bespoke shoes! Shoes which last forever! We want our films to last so we are very fussy about the quality. That’s why we’re building on our production alliances in Germany, with Animationsfabrik in Hamburg and Motion Works in Halle.”

There you have it! While others argue the pros and cons of computers versus pencils, Rothkirch and Cartoon-Film believe in long-term working relationships and quality. “The secret of good production,” he says, “is to know one another. That’s not typical for this industry.”
Genre Animation
Category Feature
Year of Production 2004
Directors Thilo Graf Rothkirch, Piet de Rycker
Screenplay Michael Maedel, Piet de Rycker
Cinematography Joern Radel
Animation Kris Van Alphen, Alberto Campos
Producers Thilo Graf Rothkirch, Willi Geike
Production Companies Rothkirch/Cartoon-Film/Berlin, Warner Bros. Pictures, Comet Film/Bottrop, Mabo/Munich
Format 35 mm, color
Shooting Dates 2002 - 2004
Sound Technology Dolby SR
With backing from German Federal Film Board, Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein, Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung, Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, BKM

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