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Scene from "Huettenzauber"

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 01/2005

There comes a time in the life of every producer and director when they say farewell to short films and film school projects and graduate to real (or should that be reel?) life: their first theatrical feature! For Huettenzauber’s producer Jonas Dornbach and director Clemens Pichler that time has now come.

Although it’s not possible to translate the word directly into English, Huettenzauber is a combination of the German words “Huette”, meaning a hut or cabin, and “Zauber”, meaning magic. So think magical going’s-on in a cabin.

Except these particular going’s-on are anything but magical as a group of five young and nouveaux riches bon vivants on their way to Prague discover. Following the inevitable car accident, the five find themselves stranded in a lonely mountain cabin in the middle of nowhere. The following days drag by. They have too much time on their hands, far too much time in which to do nothing and the cabin is becoming increasingly smaller. Power and role-playing games come to the fore and before long the collective desire to kill someone, anyone, proves irresistible.

“The film shows,” says Dornbach, “how easily a supposedly functioning group of people, who’ve known each other and supposedly been friends for years, is actually a seething cauldron of hatreds, rivalries and jealousies just waiting to explode. It just needs the right catalyst.”

Director Pichler’s interest is in showing “the fear of the unknown and of one’s own shortcomings, not only in the events which unfold and the psychological developments but also in the supernatural, almost surreal, happenings which accompany the group. For example, there’s a flock of black birds that appears to prevent them finding from their way out of the chaos and is also the cause of the accident at the beginning of the film.”

Then there is the mysterious cupboard that spits out an inexhaustible supply of increasingly new and weird objects. A strange power seems to be pulling all the strings and split the group apart. And yet the cabin’s occupants somehow pull through. They stand on the verge of triumph against the odds. Except somebody should really have told Yvonne not to eat the fish!
Category Feature
Year of Production 2005
Director Clemens Pichler
Screenplay Lilian Dammann
Cinematography Frank Meyer
Wolfgang Weigl
Laurent Simonetti
Oli Portmann, Valentina Freising
Cast Lavinia Wilson, Patrick Gueldenberg, Christoph Luser, Alexandra Schalaudeck
Producers Jonas Dornbach, Lilian Dammann, Clemens Pichler
Production Company Kinoherz/Berlin, in association with Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film München
Shooting Dates Steibis, August 2004
Sound Technology Dolby SR
With backing from Jugend fuer Europa

Kinoherz GbR
Jonas Dornbach
Schlesische Strasse 38
10997 Berlin/Germany
phone +49-30-70 07 18 45
fax +49-30-70 07 19 80