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Scene from CLOSE TO YOU (photo courtesy of Riva Filmproduktion)

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 01/2008

CLOSE TO YOU is the story of Phillip. Best described, euphemistically, as “special”, he has sealed himself off in an everyday life reduced, as some say, to the max: he sleeps, eats and works. He loves silent films and pantomime and longs for audience recognition. But his fear of rejection keeps him from venturing out of his confining, small, weird and ostensibly safe world.

Lina is blind. And she is fed up with other people seeing her as just handicapped, constantly reducing her to this single defect, pitying, mothering and speaking for her. She is a strong, self-aware woman who has achieved a certain virtuoso status in her profession as a cellist and is on the verge of breaking out with her own string quartet.

When the two of them meet, Phillip is thrown out of his well-ordered orbit. Lina might be blind but Phillip can no longer hide from her. While they unstoppably draw closer, at the same time they keep moving away from the life that they knew before – and have to realize that things which they previously took to be important are, in reality, perhaps not at all as important as they were.

CLOSE TO YOU’s director and co-writer, Almut Getto, is no stranger to German cinema. After postgraduate studies in film in Cologne, her first feature, DO FISH DO IT? (FICKENDE FISCHE), walked off with an armful of prizes, including Best Director at the Max Ophuels Festival in Saarbruecken, the German Film Critics’ Award as well as the German Film Award in Gold for Best Script.

Bastian Trost (Phillip) has a broad range of cinema and TV experience, and will be instantly recognizable to anyone who saw the opening interrogation scenes of Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s Oscar-winning tour de force, DAS LEBEN DER ANDEREN.

Playing the role of the blind cellist Lina, Katharina Schuettler is an accomplished musician in her own right. Her previous credits include, for the cinema, DAS WEISSE RAUSCHEN (1999, dir: Hans Weingartner), DIE INNERE SICHERHEIT (2000, dir: Christian Petzold), SOPHIIIIE! (2002, dir: Michael Hofmann), WAHRHEIT ODER PFLICHT (2003, dir: Jan Martin Scharf) and MÄDCHEN AM SONNTAG (2005, dir: RP Kahl). She is also equally at home in front of the TV cameras and on stage.

Riva Filmproduktion was founded in 2006 by Michael Eckelt, former head of Neue Impuls Film. His previous credits include SPORTSMANN DES JAHRHUNDERTS (2006), OBABA (2005), DIE SYRISCHE BRAUT (2005), FALLING INTO PARADISE (2005) and SOPHIIIIE!.

Riva’s emphasis lies in producing German and international feature films for the cinema as well as television, with the focus on arthouse and quality entertainment. In it’s short existence the company has already co-produced two features, BEAUTIFUL BITCH and JEMIN - IT'S HARD TO BE NICE. Another project, LEMON TREE, is currently in post-production, while FASTEN À LA KARTE, scheduled to lens in 2008, is in pre-production.

Genre Love Story / Romance
Category Feature
Year of Production 2008
Director Almut Getto
Screenplay Almut Getto, Hendrik Hölzemann, Speedy Deftereos
Cinematography Michael Wiesweg
Sebastian Thuemler
Susanne Abel
Cast Katharina Schüttler, Jürgen Rißmann, Heiko Pinkowski, Andreas Patton, Traute Hoess, Bastian Trost
Producer Michael Eckelt
Production Company Riva Filmproduktion/Hamburg, in co-production with NDR/Hamburg
Format 35 mm, color
Shooting Dates Halle/Saale, Leipzig, Hamburg, October - December 2007
Sound Technology Dolby SR
Festivals Shanghai 2009, Haugesund 2009, Havana 2010, SANFIC Santiago de Chile 2011
With backing from MOIN Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein, Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung, German Federal Film Fund / DFFF Deutscher Filmförderfonds, Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, BKM
German Distributor Timebandits Films/Potsdam

Riva Filmproduktion GmbH
Michael Eckelt
Friedensallee 14-16
22765 Hamburg/Germany
phone +49-40-3 90 62 56
fax +49-40-3 90 69 59