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Team of "Sohnemänner" (photo courtesy of Rommel Film)

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 04/2010

Principal photography wrapped in Hamburg in September on writer-director Ingo Haeb’s second feature Sohnemänner produced by Peter Rommel’s Stuttgart-based Home Run Pictures with ZDF’s Das kleine Fernsehspiel as part of the “Fifty-Fifty” initiative. Rommel first got to know Haeb when he played the title role in Stefan Krohmer’s film They’ve Got Knut and they subsequently worked together on his feature directorial debut Neandertal (co-directed with Jan-Christoph Glaser). A graduate of Cologne’s Academy of Media Arts (KHM) and Berlin’s German Film & Television Academy (dffb), Haeb had since also written screenplays for Lars Jessen’s The Day Bobby Ewing Died and his latest film Hochzeitspolka, in addition to developing his own projects. Two years ago, Haeb and Rommel came together again for the new feature project Sohnemänner. “We wanted to tell a story about the complex relationship between a father and son in a serious and humorous way,” Rommel says. It’s only been a few weeks since 65-year-old Edgar (Peter Franke), a former doorman in Hamburg’s St. Pauli district, had his elderly mother Hilde (Renate Delfs) moved to an old people’s home. But when he goes to visit her, she isn’t there anymore. Uwe (Marc Zwinz), his son from one of his previous relationships, has “saved” his grandmother from what he considers to be undignified conditions and taken her to the Black Forest where he has set up home with his partner Johann. However, Edgar is not one to accept such humiliation and sets off for the south-west of Germany to wage a subtle power struggle with Uwe to wrestle back control over his mother’s care.... “This bruiser from St. Pauli is like a fish out of water when he comes to this region,” Rommel explains. “It is mountainous and the people speak a strange dialect in this alien place where he finds his son. He pretends as if he knew everything about his son’s gayness, but he actually doesn’t know anything. When his wife died, he washed his hands of his son and the boy grew up in his grandmother’s care. He had been indifferent to his son and this greatly affected Uwe.” As Rommel points out, Peter Franke and Marc Zwinz had been in Haeb’s mind for the leads as father and son from the very outset. Zwinz had previously worked with Haeb on Neandertal and, as they both live in Hamburg, he could be closely involved in the development of the screenplay and the tone for his character as Uwe. Veteran theater and film actor Franke’s past credits include Brother of Sleep and The Miracle of Bern and he also appeared opposite Ulrich Tukur and Eva Mattes in the St. Pauli Theater’s production of The Threepenny Opera. Meanwhile, Sohnemänner marks Rommel’s return to shooting in Baden-Württemberg and working with the regional film fund MFG Baden-Württemberg after more than six years. “I come from Stuttgart, so I know the Black Forest very well and could come up with possible locations for the film,” Rommel concludes. MB
Genre Drama

Year of Production 2010
Director Ingo Haeb
Screenplay Ingo Haeb
Cinematography Oliver Schwabe
Monika Schindler
Renate Delfs
Stephanie Brenner
Cast Bernhard Schütz, Vera Teltz, Marc Zwinz, Peter Franke
Producer Peter Rommel
Production Company Home Run Pictures, Stuttgart, in co-production with ZDF Das kleine Fernsehspiel
Format 35 mm, color
Shooting Dates Black Forest and Hamburg, August - September 2010
Sound Technology Dolby SR
With backing from MFG Baden-Württemberg

Home Run Pictures