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(Parasit, Der)

“NimmerMeer” & “Der Parasit” team (photo courtesy of FRISBEEFILMS)

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 03/2007

Genre-wise, Toke Constantin Hebbeln couldn't get further from NimmerMeer, a fantastic parable about coming of age and the power of dreams which won the Honorary Foreign Film Award at this year's Student Academy Awards, for his feature-length debut Der Parasit which will be set against the world of international white-collar crime.

But this eclecticism is a characteristic of the young filmmaker. "I used my time [at the Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg in Ludwigsburg] to try my hand in different genres," Hebbeln explains. "From the psychological drama through to the romantic film. What always interests me is the humanity of a story. That my films develop a human stance to their characters."

While no broadcasters or public funders were forthcoming with support for NimmerMeer – Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR) has now since acquired the TV rights – reaction to Hebbeln's new project has been "suddenly quite different," according to FRISBEEFILMS' Alexander Bickenbach.

Indeed, the team of NimmerMeer – Hebbeln, producer Manuel Bickenbach, DoP Felix Novo de Oliveira – all decided to extend their term of studies in Ludwigsburg in order to graduate with Der Parasit.

Hebbeln and the two Bickenbach brothers came to wider recognition last autumn when NimmerMeer was an ex aequo winner of the Young German Cinema Award and picked up the Eastman Support Award for Newcomer Talents at the Hof Film Days.

However, Der Parasit’s commissioning editor Birgit Knackmuss at BR had already got to know Toke and his film at one of the ‘Highlights’ screenings at the Film Academy. "What really interested me was that he dared to work in a genre that you don't normally tackle as a film student: a historical children's fairytale with a very adult approach," Knackmuss recalls. "He managed to tell this story in an extremely modern way. At the same time, Toke was recommended to me by his professor and mentor Nico Hofmann."

Knackmuss, who is a production graduate from the Academy of Television & Film (HFF) in Munich, describes Der Parasit as "a dramatic thriller which now has more dramatic moments, whereas there were more thriller elements beforehand. It is about the continuous rise of a typical economic highflyer who suddenly realizes after all of the greed and power that the shell he has surrounded himself with is very thin and that he is rotting from within. He can no longer escape this greed and is about to be destroyed by it. Moreover, it is also a story about two close friends."

"What I liked here is that Toke wants to portray someone who actually reflects our generation, i.e. people who through their education get the chance to go right to the top," Knackmuss explains. "And show that one should also have certain emotional and social skills in order to stand up to this world of business."

According to FRISBEEFILMS, it is planned to shoot the film – with a budget of around €700,000 – at locations in Stuttgart and Frankfurt in November.

Genre Drama
Category Feature
Year of Production 2007
Director Toke Constantin Hebbeln
Screenplay Johannes Heider
Cinematography Felix Novo de Oliveira
Simon Blasi
Producer Manuel Bickenbach
Production Company Frisbeefilms, in co-production with Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg, BR
Format 16 mm
Shooting Dates Stuttgart, Frankfurt, November 2007
Sound Technology Dolby SR

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