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photo © Constantin Film

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 04/2010

They say that all good things come in threes – and Westside Filmproduktion and Rat Pack Filmproduktion are now set to score a hat-trick with the third film of The Crocodiles gang coming into German cinemas early next year. The producers had already been considering a third and final outing for The Crocodiles during the shooting of the second film in summer 2009, with the young actors playing the gang members suggesting ideas to director Christian Ditter for a sequel, such as bringing the two rogues Dennis (Jacob Matschenz) and Kevin (Axel Stein) back from the first film. Ditter worked on a screenplay with input from fellow screenwriters Thomas Bahmann, Ralf Hertwig, and Peter Thorwarth before delivering his final draft to be directed by Wolfgang Groos. “We had always wanted to work with Wolfgang because he had shown in previous work like Hangtime – Kein leichtes Spiel and the Rennschein Rudi Rüssel TV series that he has a real knack for working with children,” producer Lena Schömann recalls. “It’s not always the case in film franchises that you can keep all of the young actors from one film to the next, but we’ve managed this with the Crocodiles gang,” she adds. “The kids have grown up a little bit more since last time and they are starting to have other interests: for example, Olli [played by Manuel Steitz] goes off on holiday with his girlfriend, while Kai [Fabian Halbig] has gone to basketball camp. They are beginning to grow out of the need to be in a gang, but this story sees them experience their last big adventure and a great mission.” In the final part of the trilogy, The Crocodiles are celebrating Hannes’ (Nick Romeo Reimann) birthday with a spin around the go-cart track at breathtaking speeds. Everyone is having fun when Frank (David Hürten) suddenly loses control of his cart and crashes into a concrete wall! He is taken to the hospital in a critical state and it is touch and go whether he will survive. The doctors have to find a donor for his damaged liver – and the ideal match is Frank’s brother Dennis who is currently doing time in prison with his partner in crime Kevin. In a race against time, The Crocodiles come up with an unconventional plan to save Frank. “Some of the locations from the first two films will re-appear in the third one such as the children’s family homes which we shot in Hückelhoven, but we also have a number of new settings to make things exciting and varied. The gang’s headquarters are this time in a skyscraper in Bochum and we were able to use a prison in Recklinghausen that closed last year for the prison break scenes,” Schömann says. The first two films based on the characters from Max von der Grün’s bestseller have been seen by over 1.4 million cinemagoers in Germany alone and won countless national and international prizes, including the German Film Award this year. Meanwhile, the German theatrical distributor Constantin Film plans to release the final part of The Crocodiles trilogy at the end of January next year to coincide with the winter half-term holidays.

Genre Children & Youth, Family Entertainment
Category Feature
Year of Production 2011
Director Wolfgang Groos
Screenplay Christian Ditter, Thomas Bahmann, Ralf Hertwig, Peter Thorwarth
Cinematography Bernhard Jasper
Martin Wolf
Thorsten Sabel
Cast Leonie Tepe, Manuel Steitz, Javidan Imani, Robin Walter, David Hürten, Ella-Maria Gollmer, Axel Stein, Jacob Matschenz, Nora Tschirner, Fabian Halbig, Nick Romeo Reimann
Producers Christian Becker, Lena Schoemann
Production Companies Rat Pack Filmproduktion, Westside Filmproduktion GmbH
Format 35 mm, color
Shooting Dates North Rhine-Westphalia, July – August 2010
Sound Technology Dolby Digital
Festivals Oulu 2011, Carrousel Rimouski 2011, Seoul International Youth Film Festival 2012, Tel Aviv International Children's Film Festival 2011, Quebec City Film Festival 2011, 13th Stockholm International Film Festival Junior 2012, 5th International Children's Film Festival Bangladesh 2012, Reel 2 Real International Film Festival for Youth Vancouver 2012, 15th Kristiansand International Children's Film Festival 2012, TIFF Kids Toronto 2012, Berlinale 2012, 30th Cinéjeune Festival Laon 2012, Goldener Spatz 2012, 13th Leeds Young People's Film Festival 2012, Zlín 2012, Children's Film Festival Mexico City 2012, Sarajevo 2012, 8th International Film Festival for Children and Young People in Armenia 2012, 4th Asheville International Children's Film Festival North Carolina 2012, 18th Junior Galway Film Fleadh Ireland 2012, 5th International Film Festival Juniorfest Horsovsky Tyn 2012, Children's Film Festival Seattle 2013, Minneapolis St-Paul 2013, International Children's Film Carnival Hong Kong 2013, Nueva Mirada Buenos Aires 2013, Montreal International Children's Film Festival 2014
Awards White Elephant Children's Media Award 2011 (Best Film), Best Film (Children's Jury) Stockholm 2012, Best Feature Film Mexico City 2012, Best Feature Film Nueva Mirada Buenos Aires 2013
With backing from German Federal Film Board / FFA Filmförderungsanstalt, German Federal Film Fund / DFFF Deutscher Filmförderfonds
German Distributor Constantin Film Verleih

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