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Director Roland Suso Richter (photo © 2010 UFA Cinema)

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 02/2010

Principal photography is currently underway in Malaysia on Roland Suso Richter’s latest feature film Dschungelkind (“Jungle Child”) based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Sabine Kuegler.

Sold more than 1.5 million times and translated into 31 languages worldwide, Kuegler’s book tells the true story of a German girl who spent her childhood with a previously unknown tribe in the jungle of West Papua.

“Right from when I first read Sabine Kuegler’s bestseller Jungle Child, strong, memorable images appeared in my head that touched me to my innermost being,” director Roland Suso Richter recalls. “They are powerful archaic images, of outmoded customs, rites and unknown conventions. And it is precisely these images that appeal to a longing in every one of us. They transport the craving for both the primal and the unknown. They let us dream. They lead us into a world which would otherwise be closed to us and long forgotten.”

As Roland Suso Richter explains, Jungle Child is the story of “a so-called ‘Third Culture Kid’ who grows up between two cultures. This clash of two such contradictory cultures is for me the central topic of Jungle Child. Like in a mirror, our own behavior patterns are demonstrated through those patterns of the indigenous people, the ‘Fayu’, and, at the same time, the question is posed: are the things we consider normal and perceive as correct really correct?”

Jungle Child is thus a very modern story because it also asks, among other things, whether the values and rules manifested in our society are mainly responsible for the happiness and satisfaction in our lives?,” he argues.

The co-production with ARD Degeto is the latest in producer UFA Cinema’s ambitious slate of literary and bestseller adaptations and marks Roland Suso Richter’s return to directing for the cinema after handling several prestige TV productions such as Mogadishu Welcome (Mogadishu), The Miracle of Berlin (Das Wunder von Berlin) and The Frontier (Die Grenze).

Sabine as a child was cast with Stella Kunkat – who had previously appeared in the TV dramas Romy and March of Millions (Die Flucht) – while Sina Tkotsch, seen last year in Rainer Matsutani’s Gangs, was picked to play the teenage girl. Meanwhile, the roles of Sabine’s parents are taken by Thomas Kretschmann (Valkyrie, Mogadishu Welcome) and Nadja Uhl (The Baader Meinhof Complex, Summer in Berlin).

The German theatrical release through Universal Pictures International Germany in collaboration with UFA Cinema is planned for the end of 2010.

Genre Adventure, Literature, Biopic
Category Feature
Year of Production 2010
Director Roland Suso Richter
Screenplay Richard Reitinger, Natalie Scharf
Cinematography Holly Fink
Bernd Schlegl
Annette Focks
Michael Koening
Cast Sina Tkotsch, Stella Kunkat, Nadja Uhl, Thomas Kretschmann
Producers Natalie Scharf, Thomas Peter Friedl, Wolf Bauer, Jürgen Schuster, Nico Hofmann
Production Company UFA Cinema/Munich, in co-production with ARD Degeto
Format 35 mm, color
Shooting Dates Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Berlin, Malaysia, February - June 2010
Sound Technology Dolby Digital
With backing from German Federal Film Board / FFA Filmförderungsanstalt, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, FilmFernsehFonds Bayern, German Federal Film Fund / DFFF Deutscher Filmförderfonds, Film- und Medienstiftung NRW

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