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Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 01/2002

Shooting wrapped appropriately just before Christmas on Marc-Andreas Bochert's first feature-length film Weihnachten, which was originally developed by screenwriter Michael Lewinsky for Swiss producer Bernhard Lang.

"They then participated in the script development program "Step by Step" and looked for a German co-producer Ð which is where we came in and then brought on WDR and Marc-Andreas", recalls Claus Boje of the Berlin-based production outfit Boje Buck Produktion, whose credits include Jailbirds (Maennerpension), Sun Alley (Sonnenallee) and Conamara.

"While developing the project we didn't plan from the outset that the film would be a cinema release but aimed it budget-wise more in the realm of television", he continues. "Our Swiss partner Bernhard Lang will definitely release the film in the cinemas since the markets in Switzerland and Germany are quite different as far as the distribution of quality films are concerned. Here we have an option and the Filmstiftung NRW and WDR are both prepared to let the film be released theatrically if it looks to make sense".

"Weihnachten is about Christmas, about the way of celebrating Christmas Eve", Boje explains. "In the Western world, it is really the only day to which one must react in some kind of way, where you can't simply say: let's take the day off or organize a party. That day always has something to do with the family, being one of reflection, where do I come from, what kind of importance do I have, what importance do I have for others?"

In this tale, which was shot in "studio" conditions in a newly renovated house in Cologne, the action centers on five different apartment dwellers or couples and shows how their lives are interwoven.

Bochert came to wider international recognition last year with his graduation film, Small Change (Kleingeld), from the "Konrad Wolf" Academy for Film & Television in Babelsberg, which won the Foreign Student Oscar in 1999 and was nominated in the live-action short film category for the Academy Awards in 2000.

Shooting in Cologne in November and December 2001
Genre Drama
Category Feature
Director Marc-Andreas Bochert
Screenplay Michael Lewinsky
Cinematography Eeva Fleig
Michael Schenk
Cast Fabian Busch, Harald Koch, Katharina Schüttler, Eva Hassmann, Eva Mende, Traute Hoess
Producers Claus Boje, Detlev Buck
Production Company Boje Buck Produktion/Berlin, in co-production with WDR, Langfilm/Zurich
Format Super 16, color