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photo © Tom Trambow

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 04/2007

Mel (22) is a young woman with boyish looks and build, whose short hair and baggy clothes hide her femininity. She has a humdrum job, preparing airline food for a nearby airport, and has big plans to escape with her brother Knut (25) and see the world.

But Mel’s dreams crash to Earth when Knut tells her his girlfriend, Vicky, is pregnant. His well-intended pressure that she should find herself a boyfriend is shrugged off by Mel telling him she already has one. Except... she hasn’t.

Fortunately, Mel has a Portuguese colleague, Nuno, who is happy to take her money and play the part for her at Knut’s engagement party. Unfortunately, he plays the part all too well and Mel’s family is smitten with him, inviting him to come by more often. To which Nuno cannot say no.

Mel, now aimless and defeated, goes for a night-time drive through the countryside, a packet of Nuno’s Portuguese cigarettes on the back seat. When two young hitch hikers, Jenny and Bianca (14), mistake her for a Portuguese man, Mel grabs the opportunity and reinvents herself. Now, as Miguel, Mel spends an exciting night at the disco with the two girls, and falls head over heels in love with Jenny.

With Nuno as the object of her research and the source of her new identity, Mel/Miguel is the romantic individual Jenny has been looking for, someone so different to the boys in her clique, and a gentle love affair develops. But Bianca is suspicious and jealous, as is her brother Bernd, who thought he was Jenny’s guy.

Before Mel can tell Jenny the truth, Bernd and Bianca have already poisoned Jenny’s mother’s mind. Great confusion ensues as the mother turns up at Mel’s family and accuses a Portuguese man of seducing her underage daughter. Nuno becomes the scapegoat while Mel finally manages to reveal her true identity to Jenny. The news spreads quickly and Jenny is no longer able to prevent her clique setting out to seek revenge ...

MY FRIEND FROM FARO marks a double debut for Nana Neul, here first-time directing her own first feature script. With Leah Striker as director of photography (she was first assistant camera on Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, Babel, and A Good Year), Neul’s coming-of-age drama cleverly twists genders to provide a new and interesting take on this whole what’s-love-all-about-anyway business. Guaranteed gripping viewing and yet another feather in Wueste Film West’s already feather-filled cap!

Genre Drama, Coming-of-Age Story
Category Feature
Year of Production 2007
Director Nana Neul
Screenplay Nana Neul
Cinematography Leah Striker
Dora Vajda
Joerg Follert
Christiane Krumwiede
Cast Tilo Prückner, Florian Panzner, Manuel Cortez, Lucie Hollmann, Anjorka Strechel
Producers Hejo Emons, Kristina Löbbert, Ralph Schwingel, Stefan Schubert
Production Company Wüste Film West/Cologne, in co-production with WDR
Format Super 16
Shooting Dates Greven near Muenster, July - August 2007
Sound Technology Dolby SR
Festivals Ophuels Festival Saarbruecken 2008, Karlovy Vary 2008, Turin 2008, Goteborg 2009
Awards SR ZDF Screenplay Award Saarbruecken 2008
With backing from Film- und Medienstiftung NRW

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