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Scene from “Pink Taxi” (photo courtesy of Flying Moon)

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 02/2008

"So far, it has been the easiest of projects with Uli to develop and finance," says producer Helge Albers about Pink Taxi, his fourth collaboration with Uli Gaulke after the previous documentaries Havanna, Mi Amor (2000), Heirate Mich (2003), and Comrades in Dreams (2007).

"He came to us with the idea for Pink Taxi last year on March 8th, International Women's Day," Albers recalls. "He had seen a feature in the [ARD news program] Tagesthemen about this company called Pink Taxi which is a women-only taxi service in Moscow. Uli received a small grant from the DEFA Foundation and traveled to meet the women, and then we were in Moscow for the film festival with Comrades in Dreams. They had a chance to see his film and we soon had everything settled as to who the protagonists are, what we want to shoot and the story we want to tell."

Based on women-only taxi services already operating in London and Tokyo, Pink Taxi was launched by Olga Fomina and two friends in Moscow in August 2006 with two Daewoo Nexia cars and two female drivers. Six months later, they had 20 Daewoos and 27 drivers and the service's success had already inspired other women to set up their own company, Ladies Red Taxi, in the Russian town of Khimki.

Last autumn, ZDF and ARTE committed to the project, funding was granted by MDM and Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, and a minimum guarantee was put up by Flying Moon's in-house distribution arm so that shooting could begin this February.

"The film is set between February 23rd, Men's Day [formerly known as Red Army Day] when all of the men receive presents, and March 8th, International Women's Day when the women are the ones getting the presents," Albers explains. "It tells the story of this taxi company and the lonely struggle of the only man in the company as he desperately searches for the right presents for Women's Day."

"Pink Taxi is closest in approach to Havanna, Mi Amor," he suggests, since the new film "draws predominantly on situations from daily life and has them played out between the various protagonists in front of the camera. There are episodes set in the taxis which are linked with the days leading up to the Women's Day. The film will focus particularly on human relationships and on the battle of the sexes between the Russian women and the macho men."

"I think it will be a very entertaining film and, in places, a very sad film because the women at the center here have all lived quite eventful lives, losing their husbands in wars or through divorce," he observes.

Shooting in Moscow continued to the end of March with Gaulke working with the "regulars" from his previous documentaries, DoP Axel Schneppat and sound man Raimund von Scheibner, although the editing for this film has been taken on by a new collaborator, Inge Schneider whose past credits include Pool of Princesses and Addicted to Acting.

Pink Taxi is expected to be finished by the end of 2008 for a premiere in early 2009.

But, in the meantime, producers Helge Albers and Roshanak Behesht Nedjad have plenty to do this year. In April, they released Ayat Najafi and David Assmann's award-winning documentary Football Under Cover in German cinemas after the world premiere during the Berlinale. The story of a friendly match in Tehran between Iran's national women's football team and one from Berlin's Kreuzberg district had its international premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival and is being screened as a market premiere at the Cannes market.

In addition, the company is continuing its collaboration with Korean-born director Sung-Hyung Cho after her surprise box-office success Full Metal Village with the first block of shooting of her new documentary Endstation der Sehnsuechte. The project focuses on the creation in 2003 of a German-style village in South Korea by the inhabitants who returned home after spending 30 years as guest-workers in Germany. Another Flying Moon co-production, Better Things by Duane Hopkins, is screening in this year’s Cannes Critics' Week.

Genre Drama, Love Story / Romance, Romantic Comedy, Tragicomedy, Road Movie, Melodrama
Category Documentary
Year of Production 2008
Director Uli Gaulke
Cinematography Axel Schneppat
Inge Schneider
Producers Helge Albers, Roshanak Behesht Nedjad
Production Company Flying Moon Filmproduktion/Berlin, in co-production with ZDF, ARTE
Shooting Dates Moscow, February - March 2008
Festivals Sheffield 2009, Hof 2009
With backing from Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung
German Distributor Flying Moon Distribution/Berlin

Flying Moon Filmproduktion GmbH
Seestrasse 96
13353 Berlin/Germany
phone +49-30-3 22 97 18 0
fax +49-30-3 22 97 18 11