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(Land's End)

André Szymanski in "Land's End"

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 03/2004

Following the death of his grandmother, successful architect Marcus returns to his childhood village of Bergstedt for the funeral. There, he meets a group of environmental activists trying to prevent the construction of a motorway through the area, among them the fascinating and idealistic Piglet. There are also the cranky Hering brothers who know secrets from his past he has avoided confronting for years. In the end, Marcus has to decide for what things it is worth getting involved.

Land’s End is the second collaboration between British writer-director Alex Ross and the renowned ZDF/Das kleine Fernsehspiel (his 1998 film Move On Up winning the Audience Award at the Adolf Grimme Awards in 2000).

For the self-confessed “big fan of Soderbergh, he takes risks with editing and hand camera and it pays dividends. He lets the actors do the work.” Land’s End is “both laconic and ironic, showing all aspects of a situation, including its absurdities. I’m a Brit, but this is purely a German story.”

Nonetheless, Ross, who erroneously claims “I’m not very good at explaining my own film, really!” obviously belongs to the English social democratic school of filmmaking, observing his characters with humor and complete sympathy, setting them within their groups and milieu.

“As an author,” he says, “I like working with theatrical actors. They’re very low-key with a realistic style. My problem with films, particularly in Germany, is that they explain too much with words, not pictures. I like lots of pauses, silences, looks. I also work as an editor so I am constantly editing in my head. And my cameraman, Henning Stirner, is always pushing me in this direction.”

No surprise then, that Land’s End marks the film debut of André Szymanski, usually found treading the boards at Berlin’s Schaubuehne theater. “We wanted him especially,” says producer Jost Hering. “We even arranged the shoot around him.”

Ross also has nothing but praise for his partner: “He stood by me and the project for three years. The script took time, we tried to get funding and there were various delays. He helped me get a great team together. You really need to know why you’re doing a film like this because it’s certainly not for the money!”

Hering is an old hand at working with first time and young talent and “I know how hard that is,” he says. “Sometimes I’ve had to give up halfway through. But it’s fun to see how things take shape. Alex has a British sense of humor and that’s what’s kept us together. We knew we’d have little money so it’s all about cast and crew working together and that comes over perfectly in the film.”
Genre Comedy, Drama
Category Feature
Year of Production 2004
Director Alex Ross
Screenplay Alex Ross
Cinematography Henning Stirner
Andreas Zitzmann
Cast André Szymanski, Karina Plachetka
Producer Jost Hering
Production Company Jost Hering Filme/Berlin, in co-production with ZDF Das kleine Fernsehspiel
Length 90 min
Format 16 mm, color
Original Version
 German
Shooting Dates Berlin, Brandenburg, May - June 2004
Sound Technology Dolby SR

Contact
Jost Hering Filmproduktion
Jost Hering
Winterfeldstr. 31
10781 Berlin/Germany
phone +49-30-21 75 68 56
fax +49-30-21 75 68 58
info@josthering.de
http://www.josthering.de