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Scene from SUSHI IN SUHL (photo © StarCrest Media/Movienet)

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 02/2011

Rolf Anschütz, the passionate cook and restaurateur who realized his dream of a Japanese restaurant, the Waffenschmied, in the former GDR against all kinds of resistance, provided the inspiration for Carsten Fiebeler's latest feature film SUSHI IN SUHL.

Dresden-born actor Uwe Steimle portrays Anschütz whose culinary skills gained a reputation far beyond the GDR's borders and eventually led him to being officially invited to Japan, the land of his dreams, where he was accorded the highest of honors.

Producer Carl Schmitt of Frankfurt-based StarCrest Media describes the film as “a comedy with tragic moments – like GOOD BYE, LENIN!. The film is about a person who by chance sets a mechanism in movement that he himself could no longer stop and not always control.”

On the one hand, Anschütz was “a person who never lost his courage to face life, could always find something positive from every defeat and stood by what he did,” Schmitt notes. But he was also “a tragic figure who paid for his professional success with the breakup of his family.”

“SUSHI IN SUHL is based on a real story which nobody who is familiar with the GDR system would believe,” Schmitt adds. “But, in the end, more than 2 million guests visited the Waffenschmied and you had to make a reservation two years in advance.”

“Rolf Anschütz wasn't the '3/4 Japanese' he liked to think he was,” the producer continues. “When he was at the peak of his success and could at last travel to the land whose culture he had been promoting to his fellow-countrymen in the GDR, he came to realize that the land of his dreams was really back home. He could have never lived in Japan.”

Sadly, the real-life Rolf Anschütz will not be able to see the finished film when it is released by Movienet at the beginning of 2012 – he passed away at the age of 75 in 2008. Moreover, the original restaurant no longer exists, so the film team created their version in another restaurant, Wilhelmsburg, which had been standing empty for the past 15 years, in the Thuringian village of Schmalkalden.

Genre Comedy
Category Feature
Director Carsten Fiebeler
Screenplay Jens-Frederik Otto
Cinematography Gero Steffen
Cast Uwe Steimle, Julia Richter, Leander Wilhelm, Angelika Böttiger, Gen Seto, Ina Paule Klink, Michael Kind, Thorsten Merten
Producers Carl Schmitt, Birger Laube
Production Company StarCrest Media/Frankfurt, in co-production with MDR
Shooting Dates January-April 2011
With backing from Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung, German Federal Film Fund / DFFF Deutscher Filmförderfonds, HessenInvestFilm
German Distributor Movienet Film/Munich

StarCrest Media GmbH