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(Up! Up! To the Sky)

Director Hardi Sturm (photo courtesy of schneider + groos filmproduktion)

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 01/2007

Up! Up! To the Sky will not be the first time that producers Ute Schneider and Christof Groos have worked with writer-director Hardi Sturm as they had served as co-producers on his previous film Feuer which was premiered at the Hof Film Days in 2005.

"It was a project he produced with his actors [Cielia Sarto and Aleksandar Jovanovic] with their own cash and shot on DigiBeta," Schneider recalls. "They then came to us with the material and we helped Hardi with editing facilities and digital post-production to complete the film."

"Although Hardi is a newcomer as a director, he has already done many other things in the past such as working as an actor and writing for television. But Up! Up! To the Sky will be, so to speak, officially his debut."

The film centers on the young man Arnold who has believed from an early age that he is an extraterrestrial and now sees his time on earth coming to an end. He tries to build a flying machine so that he can return finally to where he belongs. In his native village, people regard him as a loveable fool. But when a child is hurt in an accident, Arnold is held responsible and admitted to a psychiatric ward. The young doctor Wanda takes on his case as a subject for her doctoral thesis, but the better she gets to know him, the more she becomes uncertain about the initial diagnosis. Could the impossible be possible? Could Arnold be a “visitor”?

"Hardi's screenplay is very poetic and ambivalent in the way it shows the various reactions of the surrounding world to Arnold because there are people who believe that he is an extraterrestrial and others who think that he is a little disturbed and should be admitted to a psychiatric ward," Schneider explains. "The great thing at the end of the film is that the spectator is given both possibilities of seeing what he believes. This is already the case in the screenplay, with two kinds of interpretation, and that is definitely our intention."

As Schneider points out, they were able from the outset to attract a top-line cast for the project "because it is a screenplay that immediately convinces the actors." The lead part of the young Arnold is played by Max Riemelt, who was Germany's Shooting Star two years ago and became known to cinema audiences through roles in such films as Girls on Top, Napola, and The Red Cockatoo, while Anneke Kim Sarnau (Unveiled) has been cast as the young psychologist who handles his case and gradually falls in love with her patient. Corinna Harfouch (Downfall) plays Arnold's mother and Armin Rohde (The Robber Hotzenplotz) will be a country doctor who has long had a crush on Harfouch's character and now helps her get her son out of the psychiatric ward.

Genre Tragicomedy
Category Feature
Year of Production 2007
Director Hardi Sturm
Screenplay Hardi Sturm
Birgit Esser
Cast Max Riemelt, Anneke Kim Sarnau, Armin Rohde, Katja Riemann, Uwe Rohde, Charly Hübner, Stephan Kampwirth, Matthias Klimsa, Hildegard Lena Kuhlenberg, Sonia Serrano
Producers Ute Schneider, Christof Groos
Production Company schneider + groos filmproduktion/Colonge & Hamburg, in co-production with NDR/Hamburg
Format 35 mm, color
Shooting Dates Cologne, Hamburg, Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein, June - July 2007
Sound Technology Dolby Stereo
With backing from German Federal Film Board / FFA Filmförderungsanstalt, MOIN Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein, German Federal Film Fund / DFFF Deutscher Filmförderfonds, Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, MSH Schleswig-Holstein, Nordmedia
German Distributor Zorro Film/Munich

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