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(Mitte der Welt, Die)

Vanessa Jopp

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 01/2005

Preparations are now underway for Vanessa Jopp's third feature film after Forget America (Vergiss Amerika) and Engel + Joe, a film version of Andreas Steinhoefel's novel Die Mitte der Welt, which was published in 1998 and promises to be her most complex film to date.

Jopp received the book as a present and knew immediately on reading it that she wanted to see the story up on the cinema screen. "It is a consistent development for me with respect to its contents and themes, and to the range of the material. An intense family story," the director notes.

Her enthusiasm for a film adaptation soon infected producer Oliver Simon whose company K5 Film will be producing Die Mitte der Welt together with Bavaria Film. "Very early on, we had good feedback from the Filmstiftung NRW and the MEDIA Program which gave us funding to develop the screenplay in peace and quiet," he recalls and points out that they had all of today’s leading German actresses interested in playing the young American woman Glass who raises her two twins Phil and Dianne in a small German town.

"Then we looked outside of Germany and thought [Danish actress] Iben Hjejle, who we knew from Mifune, would be the right person for the part," Simon adds. "We sent her the screenplay and received a very positive feedback in return. She is the perfect person for the role!" Indeed, K5 may look at constructing the film as a co-production with Denmark now that Iben is onboard.

Simon stresses that the film will be a faithful adaptation of the novel which is being published by Random House in the US this year: "although there will be some concentration, as the original story jumps around in various time levels and one can't afford to do that in film. We needed some time to find the right rhythm."

In his opinion, Die Mitte der Welt will be "an adult Forget America, it is more of a family drama à la John Irving than a coming-of-age tale, and is in fact more like Vanessa's Tatort episode Der schwarze Troll. I think it will be a more mature film with more depth, and what we both liked about it is that the story has very important issues but without the typical German gravity."
Genre Drama
Category Feature
Year of Production 2005
Director Vanessa Jopp
Screenplay Stefan Schneider
Cinematography Judith Kaufmann
Loy Wesselburg
Cast Iben Hjejle, Ulrich Noethen, Meret Becker
Producer Oliver Simon
Production Company K5 Media Group/Munich, in co-production with Bavaria Film
Format 35 mm, color
Shooting Dates 2007
With backing from Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, MEDIA Plus

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