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(Snowmans Land)

Scene from "Snowmans Land" (photo © noirfilm/Ralf Mendle)

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 02/2009

Producer Boris Michalski had wanted to work with director Tomasz Thomson for a long time after seeing his first film Stiller Sturm in 2001, which was made together with ZDF's Das kleine Fernsehspiel.

Initially, they began developing a project entitled Candy Days, which participated in the EAVE producers training program in 2004, but this was subsequently put on the back burner when they turned their attention to Snowmans Land.

Produced by noirfilm with Baden-Baden based broadcaster SWR and Strasbourg's ARTE, Thomson's second feature is described by Michalski as "a black comedy which is very unusual for a German feature film."

The €1.25 million project centers on the job-weary contract killer Walter who has made such a mess of his latest job that he has to get out of town as soon as possible. He consequently willingly accepts an offer from the former underworld boss Berger to keep an eye on his house in an isolated corner of the Carpathian Mountains along with his pal Mickey. When Berger's young wife Sybille is killed in a stupid accident shortly after arriving at the holiday home, Walter and Mickey decide to get rid of the body before Berger finds out. But their problems are far from over in what was supposed to be a free holiday in the snow....

While Reiner Schoene as Berger is known to cinema audiences from such films as Michael "Bully" Herbig's (T)Raumschiff Surprise – Periode 1, the hapless Walter and Mickey were cast with two talents relatively unknown to the cinema. Juergen Rissmann as Walter has had supporting roles in such films as diverse as Heinrich Breloer's Buddenbrooks, Matthias Glasner's This Is Love and Neele Leana Vollmar's Maria, ihm schmeckt's nicht! before his first lead now in Snowmans Land, while Thomas Wodianka as Mickey has largely worked in the theater – from the Schauspielhaus in Zurich through the Salzburger Festspiele to Berlin's Volksbuehne – although he did appear in Thomson's debut Stiller Sturm in 2000.

"We looked in Poland, Hungary and Romania for funding and locations for the film, but finally found the right kind of buildings and locations in Baden-Wuerttemberg," Michalski recalls. "They look like they come from Eastern Europe and the Carpathian Mountains."

He admits that the weather conditions during the film's shoot in February and March were quite a challenge with snow storms and hurricanes. "It was very cold at times and that was very tough for the cast and crew," Michalski says, pointing out that the production was fortunate to have access to an old sanatorium and its grounds in Lossburg to construct the interiors for the film.

The black comedy, which is inspired by typical British black humor and films like Guy Ritchie's Snatch or the Coen brothers' Fargo, will have "a visual language that will be most extraordinary for German cinema," Michalski notes. "It won't be that politically correct, but it will have a laconic style and be very entertaining."

Genre Comedy
Category Feature
Year of Production 2009
Director Tomasz Thomson
Screenplay Tomasz Thomson
Cinematography Ralf Mendle
Thorsten Sabel
Cast Jürgen Rißmann, Thomas Wodianka, Reiner Schoene, Eva Katrin Hermann, Walera Kanischtscheff
Producer Boris Michalski
Production Company Noirfilm/Karlsruhe, in co-production with SWR, ARTE
Format 35 mm, color
Shooting Dates Lossburg, Karlsruhe and surroundings, Spain, February - March 2009
Sound Technology Dolby Digital
With backing from German Federal Film Board / FFA Filmförderungsanstalt, MFG Baden-Württemberg, German Federal Film Fund / DFFF Deutscher Filmförderfonds

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76131 Karlsruhe/Germany
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