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Team of “Offroad” (photo courtesy of Claussen+Wöbke+Putz Filmproduktion)

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 01/2011

“We had been following Elmar’s work since his feature debut Fremder Freund and were very happy when he approached us with the idea for Offroad,” recalls producer Jakob Claussen. The screenplay for the feel-good road movie with quirky characters and many surprising plot twists was co-written with Munich University of Television & Film graduate Susanne Hertel who had worked on several projects for TV before now making her premiere for cinema with Offroad.

Nora Tschirner plays Meike who has everything planned: completion of her business management studies, marriage, a bunch of children, taking over her father’s business, and then retirement sometime in the distant future. But then she catches her fiancé Philipp in flagranti with her best friend Denise and all those best-laid plans disintegrate before her eyes. At an auction, she buys a jeep which had been impounded at the German-Dutch border and her life is taken in quite a new direction when she makes an unexpected find in the jeep’s trunk.

“We had always thought of Nora for the female lead and are very happy about this casting decision,” Claussen explains. “She is just the right actress to portray a rather naive young woman coming from the provinces at the beginning of the film. We then see how she and her life change when she moves to the big capital of Berlin and really believe that she is going through this development. At the same time, there is a German-Turkish love story going on as the resourceful Salim (played by Elyas M’Barek) regularly helps Meike out of one fix after another.”

The two leads are supported by a top-notch acting ensemble ranging from Axel Milberg through Max von Pufendorf to Tonio Arango, Dominik Raacke and Leslie Malton, with the addition of interesting newcomers and guests.

Claussen admits that it was “great fun” shooting in the small North Rhine-Westphalian town of Geilenkirchen where director Elmar Fischer spent his childhood and his parents still live. “It was a similar experience with 23 in Hanover and at the Italian locations for Wedding Fever in Campobello – people are so welcoming and hospitable when film crews come to town,” he says. “We even managed to bring rival shooting clubs together in Geilenkircheen for some scenes in our film!”

According to Claussen, Offroad will be a “classic road movie” and could potentially benefit from the box-office success of other recent road movies like Vincent Wants to Sea and Due Date. “The beauty of the road movie genre is that everything is possible and allowed,” he notes. “You can have comedy, suspense, drama and honest emotions all in one film.”

Offroad marks the Munich-based production company’s first foray into shooting on 2K Digital which proved very versatile for a film with many car stunt sequences. “We were filming throughout with 2-3 cameras, which is something that we couldn’t have afforded on 35 mm,” Claussen explains.

Meanwhile, Fischer’s second feature film will be the second local film to be released by the German outpost of US distributor Paramount Pictures after it picked up Tim Fehlmann’s post-apocalyptic thriller Das Ende der Nacht last year.

Genre Road Movie
Category Feature
Year of Production 2011
Director Elmar Fischer
Screenplay Elmar Fischer, Susanne Hertel
Cinematography Philipp Kirsamer
Eva Lopez Echegoyen
Wolfgang Arens
Cast Nora Tschirner, Elyas M'Barek, Max von Pufendorf, Tonio Arango, Axel Milberg, Dominik Raacke, Leslie Malton, Daniela Tolkien
Producers Jakob Claussen, Uli Putz
Co-Producer Wilfried Ackermann
Production Company Claussen+Putz Filmproduktion, in co-production with Dr. Wilfried Ackermann Filmproduktion/Leipzig, ZDF
Format DCP 2K, color, cs
Shooting Dates October-November 2010
Sound Technology Dolby Digital
With backing from German Federal Film Board / FFA Filmförderungsanstalt, Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, FilmFernsehFonds Bayern, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, German Federal Film Fund / DFFF Deutscher Filmförderfonds
German Distributor Paramount Pictures Germany/Munich

Claussen+Putz Filmproduktion GmbH
Jakob Claussen, Uli Putz
Herzog-Wilhelm-Str. 27
80331 Munich/Germany
phone +49-89-2 31 10 10
fax +49-89-26 33 85