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photo © COIN Film

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 03/2014

Christoph Maria Herbst, one of Germany’s most popular comic actors, is likely to be seen in a different light after appearing in Markus Sehr’s black comedy THE SMALL AND THE WICKED. "The idea was to make Christoph’s role as the probation officer Benno quite different from the well-known figure of Stromberg [in Germany’s adaptation of THE OFFICE]," explains producer Herbert Schwering of Cologne-based COIN Film.

Benno, disillusioned with his career, his idealism long forgotten, is steeled into action when one of his charges, the petty criminal Hotte unexpectedly receives custody of his two teenage children. For the first time in his life, Hotte takes on responsibility, but Benno looks to scotch these plans and sets a trap for Hotte...with unforeseen circumstances..

"The plot becomes increasingly involved and has plenty of black humor," Schwering continues. "We are playing here with clichés, but as with all clichés there’s a lot taken from real life and the way people are living on the breadline in the suburbs nowadays, for example."

"For me it’s a must that the setting and the basic set-up of the characters are based in social realism," director Markus Sehr agrees. "The point is an authentic portrayal of the characters and their environment. With this in mind, we can take the liberty of really trying out something new in the course of the story. There are crazy people and normal people – sometimes, even in one and the same person," he says. "There is resentment, jealousy, and hatred – as well as empathy, solidarity and love. This film’s emotional palette should be as varied as life itself."

While Peter Kurth – known for more serious roles in films by Christian Petzold and Thomas Arslan – welcomed the chance to play a rogue like Hotte, young actress Emma Bading is cast in her first large film part as Hotte’s feisty daughter Jenny who eventually takes matters into her own hands.

And a love story between Jenny and one of Benno’s other charges, the young Kosovar Ivic, will introduce audiences to another new face, Ivo Kortlang.

Genre Comedy
Category Feature
Director Markus Sehr
Screenplay Xao Seffcheque, Martin Ritzenhoff
Cinematography Leah Striker
Cast Christoph Maria Herbst, Peter Kurth, Anneke Kim Sarnau, Pasquale Aleardi, Dorka Gryllus, Emma Bading, Ivo Kortlang
Producers Herbert Schwering, Christine Kiauk
Production Company COIN FILM/Cologne
Shooting Dates June-July 2014
With backing from Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, Nordmedia, BKM, German Federal Film Fund / DFFF Deutscher Filmförderfonds, WDR, ARTE
German Distributor Movienet Film/Munich

Herbert Schwering, Christine Kiauk
Rolandstr. 63
50667 Cologne/Germany
phone +49-2 21-32 20 53
fax +49-2 21-32 20 54