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Wolfgang Menardi & Inga Birkenfeld in "Bergblut" (photo © K. Pamer, 2009)

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 02/2009

Historical drama to get your teeth into, that’s Bergblut! You might know Tyrol as a place of breathtaking scenery and wonderful old towns (and if you don’t, then it’s well worth a visit), but its history is also one of rebellion, violence, war and bloodshed.

It is spring 1809. Katharina’s Tyrolean husband, Franz, is arguing with a French soldier in Augsburg’s marketplace. It ends with the soldier dead by accident and the young couple fleeing the city for Franz’s homeland.

Even on the way it’s obvious that the mood in the Alpine land is at a breaking point. Bavaria and France, which have occupied Tyrol for years, are despised, which doesn’t guarantee the Bavarian Katharina the warmest of welcomes. She soon misses the warmth and comfort of her family in Augsburg.

After so many years away from home, Franz is quickly caught up in the enthusiasm of the independence movement around Andreas Hofer. He calls the Tyrolean farmers to rise up. Before long, Franz marches with his younger brother off to war, leaving Katharina at home.

Reliant for the first time only on herself, Katharina undergoes hard times until, finally, she masters the tasks at hand and wins the villagers’ respect.

Against all the odds, the Tyroleans return victorious from their battles. The villagers celebrate. Only Katharina and the village priest recognize that although the night belongs to them, a lasting victory is impossible. Forced to make a decision, Katharina decides to render Franz unfit for battle. But he discovers her plan, their relationship shatters and Katharina is expelled from the farm.

Inga Birkenfeld (Katharina)’s filmography includes the Academy Award-winning Das Leben der Anderen, Nicht nah genug, Meer is nich and Kindersuche. Wolfgang Menardi, who was born in North Tyrol, has credits including Tatort, Unter den Linden, Wachzustand and Narrenspiel. Philipp J. Pamer (script, direction) studied at the HFF Munich, alongside producer Florian Reimann.

“This unique chapter in Tyrolean history will soon celebrate its 200th anniversary,” Pamer says. “It’s also part of my own family history since Andreas Hofer’s ancestors are from the same farm as my grandparents. I grew up 10 km from where he was born. These historical coincidences are not only a huge motivation, but also give me a great advantage when it comes to writing and directing. I know the land and people: I’m part of them.”

Florian Reimann, who hails from Augsburg, was also able to draw on immense local support, whether from cast, crew, suppliers and funders. “Thanks to everyone,” Reimann says, “the impossible became possible, and we are making the whole film on 35 mm, which would have been unthinkable otherwise.”

Genre History, Drama
Category Feature
Year of Production 2009
Director Philipp J. Pamer
Screenplay Philipp J. Pamer
Cinematography Namche Okon
Katrin Reichwald
Sami Hammi
Tobias Maier
Cast Martin Abram, Verena Plangger, Anton Algrang, Wolfgang Menardi, Inga Birkenfeld
Producer Florian Reimann
Production Company FR Entertainment, in co-production with BR, Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film München, Kaissar Film/Munich, Remulus Film/Munich
Runtime 118 min
Format 35 mm, color
Shooting Dates Augsburg, Passeiertal/Italy, February - May 2009
Sound Technology Dolby Digital
Festivals Bolzano 2010, Shanghai 2010, Munich 2010, Sao Paulo 2010, Cleveland 2011
Awards Audience Award Munich 2010
With backing from FilmFernsehFonds Bayern, Land Suedtirol

FR Entertainment GmbH Film & Fernsehproduktion
Florian Reimann
Schmellerstr. 18 (Rgb)
80337 Munich/Germany