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photo courtesy of Schesch Filmkreation

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 03/2010

Producer Stephan Schesch has returned to Tomi Ungerer for his directorial debut with the adaptation of Tomi Ungerer’s children’s classic Der Mondmann (“Moon Man”).

Moon Man and The Three Robbers are my favorite books by Tomi Ungerer,” Schesch says. “After our good experiences on working together on The Three Robbers – which was seen by over 600,000 cinema-goers in France – it was clear that we would then make this film.”

A classic story examining the themes of loneliness, difference, understanding and acceptance, Der Mondmann was written and illustrated by Ungerer in 1967 at the height of the space race when he was living in New York.

As Schesch explains, he has taken a different approach to preparing the new project compared to the strategy adopted for The Three Robbers.

“I had several brainstormings with Tomi about his original book, and he gave me various new ideas which I could incorporate into the film’s screenplay in his spirit,” he says.

Moreover, he followed a different kind of development by producing an animatic version with its combination of voices and storyboard drawings to give an idea of how the final film would look. “We had three public test screenings in Berlin and Munich in front of invited audiences of children, parents and grandparents to see how well the film functioned,” Schesch recalls, pointing out that this animatic version – with characters’ voices recorded by actors Katharina Thalbach, Ulrich Noethen and Ulrich Tukur – had also attracted distributors from Germany and France to come onboard.

Describing the positioning of this film, Schesch sees Der Mondmann as being “quite atypical for Germany because it isn’t linked with a merchandising campaign or a long-running TV series. It is an original feature film for the cinema which will be more complex, subtle and cinematographic than The Three Robbers. Moreover, the figure of the man in the moon is someone every child knows.”

Schesch’s Berlin-based company Schesch Filmkreation has attracted France’s Le Pacte as co-producer, theatrical distributor and world sales agent, while Ireland’s Cartoon Saloon, the makers of the Oscar-nominated The Secret of Kells, has boarded as a co-producer.

Concrete production based on the animatic storyboards is set to begin this autumn so that Der Mondmann can be released in November 2011 to coincide with Ungerer’s 80th birthday.

Genre Literature, Animation
Category Feature
Year of Production 2012
Director Stephan Schesch
Screenplay Stephan Schesch, Ralph Martin
Sarah Clara Weber
Cast Ulrich Noethen
Producer Stephan Schesch
Voices Katharina Thalbach, Ulrich Tukur
Production Company Schesch Filmkreation/Berlin, in co-production with Le Pacte/Paris, Cartoon Saloon/Kilkenny
Format 35 mm, color
Shooting Dates studios in Germany and Ireland, 2010 - 2011
Sound Technology Dolby SR
Festivals Warsaw 2012, Nouveau Cinéma de Montréal 2012, Cork 2012, Rome 2012, Istanbul 2013, Reel 2 Real Vancouver 2013 (Opening Night Gala), Seattle 2013, BUSTER Copenhagen 2013, Haifa 2014
With backing from German Federal Film Board / FFA Filmförderungsanstalt, BKM, Kuratorium junger deutscher Film, MEDIA

World Sales
Le Pacte
Elisabeth Perlie
5 rue Darcet
75017 Paris/France
phone +33-1-44 69 59 45
fax +33-1-44 69 59 42