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(Baum der Wuensche)

Scene from "Baum der Wuensche"

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 03/2004

Producer Kadir Soezen founded his production company, Filmfabrik, “in order to realize high-quality, character driven, stories.” With Baum der Wuensche, twenty-five documentaries and theatrical features later, he is finally bringing his own novel, Goldsucher (translation: Money-Seeker), to the small screen in what, at four and a half million Euros, will be one of the most expensive German TV movies ever made, spanning several countries, cities and decades.

Taking its title literally, the Baum der Wuensche is a tree that stands in the middle of a small Turkish village, from whose branches the locals hang pieces of paper on which they have written their wishes.

It’s the early 1960s and for three friends, Melike, Mustafa and Kadir, life changes dramatically as Germany, "Wirtschaftswunder" in full swing, throws open the doors to the so-called “guest workers” from Turkey.

Mustafa and Kadir leave, Melike remains behind. Her heartfelt wish, to marry Mustafa, is hung on the tree. But the years pass and eventually she marries Yasar, one of the few young men to remain behind. When Mustafa returns it’s too late so he heads back to Cologne.

After five years unhappily married, Melike also uproots to Germany where she again meets Mustafa and the two begin a passionate love affair. But when Yasar arrives with their two children, worlds are set to collide.

For the novel’s adaptation, Soezen chose Tevfik Baser, “one of the most respected filmmakers in Europe. He comes from Turkey, lives and works in Germany.” In fact, says Soezen, of the award-winning writer and director, “he was the obvious choice.”

The choice of director fell on Rolf Schuebel. “I wanted a Turkish author,” says Soezen, “but to get a different vision I wanted a German director. The film needs a German vision and Rolf, in his films like Gloomy Sunday, brings both a very poetical as well as documentary-like vision, which is essential for this story.”

For his cast, Soezen chose stage actors, obviously of Turkish origin but born and/or raised in Germany, “because they are basically telling their own family story. They have experienced it, the strong confrontations caused by human migration, of leaving one culture and adapting, or not, to a new one. They all know this story already. That was my intention. Baum der Wuensche is not just a German or Turkish phenomenon. It’s European. It’s international.”
Genre Drama, Love Story / Romance

Year of Production 2004
Director Rolf Schübel
Screenplay Tevfik Baser
Cinematography Holly Fink
Ulrike Leipold
Detlef F. Petersen
Cast Lale Yavas, Erhan Emre, Tim Seyfi, Hilmi Sözer
Producer Kadir Sözen
Production Company FILMFABRIK/Cologne, in co-production with WDR, BR
Runtime 180 min
Format Super 16, color
Shooting Dates Oberhausen, Munich, Istanbul, Uerguep, March - July 2004
Sound Technology Dolby SR
With backing from FilmFernsehFonds Bayern, Film- und Medienstiftung NRW
German Distributor FILMFABRIK/Cologne

Kadir Sözen
Severinskirchplatz 4
50678 Cologne/Germany
phone +49-2 21-9 34 76 70
fax +49-2 21-9 34 76 71