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(Preis, Der)

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 01/2010

“We were looking for someone who had the background of growing up in the GDR and was around the same age,” says producer Martin Lehwald about his company's search for a director for the drama Der Preis.

“When we saw Elke Hauck's debut film Karger and her short films, this convinced us that she would be the right person,” he notes.

Born in Riesa in Saxony in 1967, Hauck had worked for several years as an editor and AD on various productions before studying Directing at the dffb in Berlin. Her feature debut Karger was nominated for the German Screenplay Prize and won the Saarland Prime Minister's Award at the Max Ophuels Festival in Saarbruecken in 2007.

The screenplay by HFF Babelsberg graduate Peggy Lehmann centers on a thirtysomething architect living and working in Frankfurt who is sent by his boss to Thuringia to his home town to oversee a conversion project for the housing estate he had originally designed.

“Against his will, he has to deal with his past and the ghosts of the past, including meeting his childhood sweetheart again after all these years,” Lehwald explains. “Little by little, he realizes that he must accept some responsibility for the suicide of his best friend. 20 years have passed and he hadn't been able to summon up the strength to address this or to visit his best friend's sister, his former love. The two boys had taken different paths in their development: one had always been against the system, the other had always tried to find a way to live within the system, even if he did have other ideas of how things should be. And so they came to drift apart.”

Once back in his home town, the architect Alexander uses his friend Micha's diary and his own recurring memories to trace the reasons leading to the suicide. Who or what could have been the cause?

“I think it's really interesting to look back at recent German history because it is a past that is unknown to many young people today,” Lehwald adds. “The film will show the mores, longings and fears of those times in the former GDR. Moreover, Elke has brought a lot of her own biography into the original screenplay.”

Florian Panzner, who studied at the HFF Babelsberg and made his screen acting debut in Andreas Kleinert's Paths in the Night (Wege in die Nacht) in 1999, was cast as Alexander, with the 'new face' Anne Kanis as his childhood sweetheart Nicole, and Guntbert Warns as Lange, the former local secretary of the Communist youth organization FDJ.

Genre History, Drama, Coming-of-Age Story
Category Feature
Year of Production 2010
Director Elke Hauck
Screenplay Peggy Lehmann
Cinematography Michael Kotschi
Stefan Stabenow
Angelika Boehm
Cast Guntbert Warns, Anne Kanis, Florian Panzner
Producers Marcos Kantis, Michal Pokorny, Martin Lehwald
Production Company Schiwago Film
Format color
Shooting Dates German, Rügen, October - December 2009
Festivals Berlin 2011 (Perspectives German Cinema)
With backing from Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung, German Federal Film Fund / DFFF Deutscher Filmförderfonds, BKM, SWR
German Distributor Novapool Pictures/Berlin

Schiwago Film GmbH
Großbeerenstr. 64
10963 Berlin/Germany

phone +49-30-695 398 13
fax +49-30-695 398 50