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photo © Bernd Spauke

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 01/2014

Principal photography on Kadir Sözen’s first feature as a director since his 2003 film GOTT IST TOT, VON GLÜCKLICHEN SCHAFEN, wrapped at the beginning of November.

“When you are producing, it is difficult to find that free time to develop your own project,” Sözen explains, “but I don’t think the time was ripe for this film’s story until now.”

The past five years have seen him developing the screenplays for what will become a trilogy beginning with VON GLÜCKLICHEN SCHAFEN. The screenplay for the second film, LAILA – EIN ROMANTISCHES JAHR is already complete and set to shoot in 2015.

“There is a common thematic thread running through the three stories of sexuality, love and speechlessness,” Sözen continues. “The three issues will be addressed in each of the films, but love is at the fore in the first part.”

VON GLÜCKLICHEN SCHAFEN centers on the young Turkish woman Elmas, who is raising her teenage son Can and daughter Sevgi as a single mother. Their intact family idyll is shattered when Can finds out that his mother is working as a prostitute, triggering an emotional maelstrom of anger, guilt and desperation where mother and son have to find a way to forgive one another.

“The story isn’t based on a real case, but I did a lot of research speaking with women who had similar experiences before I started to write the screenplay,” Sözen says.

After nationwide auditions, Sözen found Jascha Baum to play Can and Marlene Metternich for Sevgi. Meanwhile, the part of Elmas is the first feature film lead role for German-Iranian actress Narges Rashidi who has previously appeared in several TV movies and such films as KOKOWÄÄH 2.

In addition, the quality of Sözen’s screenplay left such an impression that he was able to cast supporting roles with such names as Benno Fürmann, Anna Thalbach, Mehmet Vedat Erincin and Erhan Emre – even boxer Arthur Abraham makes a cameo appearance as a bouncer in one scene. “Anna Thalbach only has a very small part, but she flew over from Berlin to play the two scenes because she liked the script so much,” Sözen recalls.

Genre Drama
Category Feature
Director Kadir Sözen
Screenplay Kadir Sözen
Cinematography Stefan Linn
Cast Narges Rashidi, Jascha Baum, Marlene Metternich, Pauline Fuchs, David Hürten, Vedat Erincin, Benno Fürmann, Anna Thalbach, Erhan Emre
Producer Kadir Sözen
Production Company FILMFABRIK/Cologne
Shooting Dates September-November 2013
With backing from Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, BKM, German Federal Film Fund / DFFF Deutscher Filmförderfonds

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