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On the set of DAS SCHLAFENDE MÄDCHEN (photo © Rainer Kirberg 2010)

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 04/2010

Düsseldorf’s famous art academy at the beginning of the 1970s is the setting for writer-director Rainer Kirberg’s latest film DAS SCHLAFENDE MÄDCHEN (“The Sleeping Girl”) which features Jakob Diehl, one of the members of the famous German acting dynasty, Volksbühne stage actress Natalie Krane, and rising star Christoph Bach in the lead roles. Diehl – who is also a musician and artist as well as being an actor – plays the young video performance artist Hans who is studying at the academy when he meets the young down-and-out Ruth in the city park. Fascinated by this mysterious girl, Hans makes her the focus of his video work with unpredictable consequences as life and art become ever more interchangeable. “The film’s setting is particularly interesting because it was at the beginning of the use of video on a wider scale,” Kirberg explains. “It seemed most appropriate to use the form of the fake documentary for this story and let the action speak through the camera of the lead actor as an artist. I have often thought that films about artists were too theatrical, but here film and art come together in a very organic way.” “While the form may be experimental in many respects, the underlying story has a classical dramaturgy,” producer Caroline Kirberg stresses. “And a big challenge for us was to create a real artistic identity for Hans with his atelier full of works of art and installations. There was a lot of attention to detail here with Jakob and [production designer] Steffi Lindner going out and taking lots of photos.” Rainer Kirberg points out that it was a lengthy process for the development of the project and the raising of the finance, but the commitment of the four producers to hold true through thick and thin, even when the application for film subsidy was unsuccessful, is an indication of the project’s quality. “What also makes the project so interesting is that the producers come from different backgrounds,” producer Caroline Kirberg adds. “One is more from the business angle, and others are from an independent and artistic background, while Joroni Film, for example, was a very important partner as a service provider for equipment since our budget was very limited.” A film set in the Düsseldorf academy would not however be complete without Joseph Beuys appearing in some form or other. Rainer Kirberg doesn’t disappoint here. Thanks to previously unpublished documentary footage shot by the artist-filmmaker Hans-Peter Böffgen in 1971 during the strikes protesting Beuys’ dismissal, the audiences will be able to catch a glimpse of the legendary artist in a “prominent supporting role.” MB
Genre Art, Experimental
Category Feature
Year of Production 2012
Director Rainer Kirberg
Screenplay Rainer Kirberg
Cinematography Birgit Möller
Cast Christoph Bach, Natalie Krane, Jakob Diehl, Erwin Leder
Producers Rainer Kirberg, Ansgar Wacker, Jonas Knudsen, Töni Schifer, Caroline Kirberg
Production Companies jucca film Angerbauer & Kirberg/Berlin, Entropie Film/Düsseldorf, Monitorpop Entertainment/Berlin, Joroni Film/Berlin
Format b&w
Sound Technology Dolby Stereo
Festivals Berlin 2011, BAFICI 2011, Molodist Kiev 2011;
German Distributor Arsenal Distribution/Berlin

jucca film Angerbauer & Kirberg GbR
Caroline Kirberg
Skalitzer Str. 68
10997 Berlin/Germany