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Santa Smokes

Santa Smokes
Scene from "Santa Smokes" (photo © Valentien & Terror Films)

It’s Christmas in New York City. Johnny, a struggling actor, owes Mr. Johnson money and 'the rent is due' as his nagging girlfriend reminds him. Desperate for cash, Johnny puts on a Santa suit and hands out flyers on Broadway. Disillusioned and frustrated about this unwanted “lead role” Johnny lights up a smoke in his Santa costume. He curses at Christmas shoppers, argues with cops and stuns the children in New York’s Christmas rush. Suddenly, the absurdity of Johnny’s life is broken by a beautiful Angel. She reproaches Santa for smoking in public and takes him into a strange and wonderful dream world. But will reality prevail? During his trip from penniless actor to Santa-provocateur, Johnny finds bittersweet romance and reveals the dark sides of Santa Claus.


Chris Valentien was born in Stuttgart. Growing up in an art dealer family with a strong visual background, he feeds his family by working as a director of photography on music videos, commercials and feature films. In 1992, he met his friend and partner Till Terror aka Schauder at the Munich Film School and a fruitful collaboration began. As a cameraman, Chris photographed several award winning films, among them Till Terror’s Strong Shit and City Bomber. While in film school he also directed several of his own short films, many of which earned him critical praise and awards. Santa Smokes marks his debut as a feature film director.

Till Terror aka Schauder born in Seattle and raised in Germany and upstate New York. He worked at Roger Corman’s Concorde Pictures in Los Angeles before meeting his friend and collaborator Chris Valentien at the Munich Film School. Till wrote and directed several award-winning student films, among them Strong Shit and the short action thriller City Bomber, which won several international awards. In 1998 he moved to New York on a grant for the arts to study Acting at the Atlantic Theater Company School and the Stonestreet Film and Television Studio. His New York theater credits include: The Field and Breast Man (both at the Atlantic Theater). He recently wrote and directed a new docu-drama called Duke’s House, revolving around the former Harlem home of legendary Jazz composer Duke Ellington. Santa Smokes marks Till’s debut as a feature film director and also his film acting debut.
Genre Love Story, Romantic Comedy
Category Feature
Year of Production 2002
Directors Chris Valentien, Till Terror aka Schauder
Screenplay Chris Valentien, Till Terror aka Schauder
Cinematography Chris Valentien
Till Terror aka Schauder
Hakarl Bee
Cast Till Terror aka Schauder, Kristy Jean Hulslander, Richard Glover, Melissa Friedman, Rynel Johnson
Producers Chris Valentien, Till Terror aka Schauder
Production Company Valentien & Terror Films/Berlin & New York, in co-production with cine plus Filmproduktion, Picture Planet/Munich, Spielpunktfilm/Berlin
Length 82 min
Dubbed Versions German
Original Version
 English
Subtitled Version Japanese
Sound Technology Stereo
Festivals Munich 2002, Exground Film Fest 2002, Berlin B Film Fest Radical 2003, Tokyo 2003 (in competition)
Awards Studio Hamburg Newcomer Award 2002, Best Director & Best Leading Actress Tokyo 2003
With backing from FilmFernsehFonds Bayern

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