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photo © Wüste Film

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 01/2003

NORTHERN STAR tells the story of eighteen-year-old Anke, from the northern German port town of Cuxhaven. She is a loner, both at school and in life. Thirteen years ago, her father killed himself, for which she blames her mother. Anke tends his memory as carefully as she does his grave. But when her mother announces that she wants to live with the local priest, with whom she has fallen in love, Anke’s emotions boil over and finally lead to her own liberation.

NORTHERN STAR is not about fast cutting to give a false dramaturgy,” says writer-director Felix Randau. “I’m more concerned with camerawork which flows organically with the actors. I believe in the necessity for stylization, even if the style should never force itself into the foreground. I see, rather, light and cool images, the Nordic emptiness must be set in contrast to the cramped interiors.”

Randau is also as firm-minded when it comes to his cast: “I want to work with actors who achieve their effect less through their craft and much more through their natural behavior. If the film turns out as I imagine it, and sometimes maybe completely differently, then the result will be beauty, and that is what I am looking forward to.”

“Felix Randau’s script,” says producer Ralph Schwingel, “takes its time to waken the reader’s sympathy: it dares, uncompromisingly, to be dry. That’s why it doesn’t deliberately set out to provide light and easy promises of a happy-ever-after ending.”

NORTHERN STAR is neither a prime time nor a mainstream film, but the weight and genuineness of the material stops it from becoming a niche film. Here, the film’s modest budget plays right into the material’s hands as it did, for example, with Michael Winterbottom’s BUTTERFLY KISS or Roland Klick’s BÜBCHEN.

“And,” says Stefan Schubert, Schwingel’s partner, “we kept the story in a location where reconciliation and understanding remain a long way off but not out of reach, just like in life. The end might be unhappy, but it is a long way from being pessimistic.”

As Randau’s first feature, NORTHERN STAR continues Wueste Film’s predilection for finding and nursing new talent. Lars Becker followed SCHATTENBOXER with BUNTE HUNDE and Fatih Akin’s films (SHORT SHARP SHOCK, IN JULY, and SOLINO) have all been produced in-house. It shouldn’t be any different then with Felix Randau.

Genre Drama, Coming-of-Age Story
Category Feature
Year of Production 2003
Director Felix Randau
Screenplay Felix Randau
Cinematography Roman Nowocien
Gergana Voigt
Cast Peter Kurth, Lena Stolze, Nic Romm, Denis Moschitto, Julia Hummer, Irene Kleinschmidt
Producers Stefan Schubert, Ralph Schwingel
Production Company Wüste Film/Hamburg, in cooperation with ZDF, Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin (DFFB)
Format Super 16
Shooting Dates Cuxhaven, Bremen, October - November 2002
With backing from MOIN Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein, Nordmedia Funds