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(Vorwaerts Immer)

Marco Mittelstaedt, Anja Schneider, Edgar Selge (photo © Michael Kotschi)

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 03/2007

The title of Vorwaerts Immer is taken from a quote by the former GDR leader, Erich Honecker (“Vorwaerts immer, rueckwaerts nimmer!” Translation: "Always move forwards, never backwards”), who resisted Mikhail Gorbachev’s entreaties to reform and thus oversaw his socialist dictatorship consigned to the dustbin of history.

It is history of the personal kind which plays the central role in writer-director Marco Mittelstaedt’s drama, in the shape of Wolfgang Kreber, a police reporter who was once a big name and privileged sports journalist in the GDR. But the fall of the Wall has pulled the rug from under him and he has to start all over again. His beat is no longer Moscow, Seoul or New York, but the back and beyond of eastern Germany.

Under pressure from his boss, who sees him as a journalistic dinosaur, and seeking to get closer to his estranged daughter, Margitta, Kreber investigates the case of a missing girl from Margitta’s school. Hoping to land the big story about “the East’s lost generation”, he loses his perspective and sinks deeper and deeper into his own interpretation of history. The more he is confronted with his own past through Margitta, the more he ignores all the warning signs. In fleeing from the truth he flees from himself. Then he breaks the greatest of journalistic taboos: he begins to manipulate the story and even direct it. Will Kerber pull back before it’s too late?

Vorwaerts Immer is Mittelstaedt’s third feature after Jena Paradies (2004) and Elbe (2006). “I was born in the GDR,” he says, “and was seventeen when the Wall came down. I wanted to make a film about my parents’ generation. They had great difficulties making a new start: everything was different. I orientated the script a great deal on my father, who was a sports reporter with the ADN news agency who also became a police reporter. He advised me and read the script.”

After “being inspired to make this film by Joerg Schneider” (commissioning editor at ZDF), Mittelstaedt chose Edgar Selge to play Kerber because “I wanted an actor who didn’t bring the GDR’s past with him. He was completely unencumbered. He is also a very subtle and multi-layered actor who’s played most of Germany’s major theaters.” Selge has also won two Grimme Awards for the crime series Polzeiruf 110 and the German Film Award for Best Supporting Actor in 3 Chinesen mit dem Kontrabass (2000).

It was Schneider who also recommended Mittelstaedt to Frank Kaminski and Ulrich Stiehm’s Kaminski.Stiehm.Film. Having created the now defunct music video producers Doro Film’s feature division (for which they made six films, including Baby and Meine Tochter ist keine Moerderin), they struck out on their own in 2003. Their credits now include Der Letzte macht das Licht aus! (also for ZDF Das kleine Fernsehspiel) and Vineta (for NDR).

Continuing their policy of working with interesting young directors (Baby marked the directorial debut of Philipp Stoelzl), Kaminski.Stiehm.Film concentrates on contemporary material which “alongside the story’s originality and autonomy and credible characters also allows itself to be positioned for the theatrical feature market.”

Genre Drama
Category Feature
Year of Production 2007
Director Marco Mittelstaedt
Screenplay Marco Mittelstaedt, Sven S. Poser
Cinematography Michael Kotschi
Vincent Assmann
Natascha Tagwerk
Cast Edgar Selge
Producers Frank Kaminski, Ulrich Stiehm
Production Company Kaminski.Stiehm.Film/Berlin, in co-production with ZDF Das kleine Fernsehspiel
Format 16 mm
Shooting Dates Wittenberg, Bitterfeld, Wolfen, Berlin, July - August 2007
Sound Technology Dolby Stereo
With backing from Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung, Kuratorium junger deutscher Film

Kaminski.Stiehm.Film GmbH
Frank Kaminski, Ulrich Stiehm
Gormannstrasse 14
10119 Berlin/Germany
phone +49-30-30 87 84 60
fax +49-30-30 87 84 66