Browse Archive


Cast of THE CROCODILES STRIKE BACK (photo © Constantin Film Verleih)

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 04/2009

Production was still underway on the first adaptation of Max von der Gruen's popular novel VORSTADTKROKODILE in summer 2008, yet producers Christian Becker and Lena Olbrich had already decided that the “Crocodiles” gang would return to the cinema screens for a second film.

"During the shoot, we had taken the characters in the film so much to our hearts that we really felt we should continue the gang's story in a new adventure," Olbrich recalls. "What's more, the young actors came up to us during shooting with their own ideas of what could be included in a sequel. So, we let ourselves be inspired by their suggestions as well as input from screenwriters to develop a script."

"The subsequently positive press reaction to the first film and the fact that the test screenings registered 99% recommendations convinced us that we were on the right track," she adds.

THE CROCODILES (VORSTADTKROKODILE) was released by Constantin Film last April and has been seen by over 600,000 cinemagoers in Germany. It won the White Elephant Children's Media Prize at Filmfest Munich in June and the second prize at the Giffoni Children's Film Festival in Italy. Invitations have followed at festivals as far apart as Buenos Aires, Amsterdam, and London, and director Christian Ditter and Olbrich presented the film as part of the German Currents' focus on films from North Rhine-Westphalia at Santa Monica's Aero cinema at the end of September.

While the new film is also aimed at all children aged six and above, Olbrich agrees that the plot for VORSTADTKROKODILE 2 is "a little older: the gang experiences all kinds of new things like first love and going to the disco – and they begin to learn what it means to become an adult."

Ditter and the English screenwriter Neil Ennever wrote the screenplay based on the characters in Max von der Gruen's novel, having previously worked together on the comedy short GROUNDED in 2003.

It's the summer holidays and the Crocodiles gang has moved into their cool new headquarters in a former coal mine. Everything would be hunky-dory if it wasn't for some mysterious goings-on at the factory of Olli and Maria's parents. If the factory has to close and they have to move to another town, that would be the end of the gang for Kai, Hannes, Jorgo, Frank and Peter. There's nothing for it: the gang will have to get to the bottom of the mystery – even if it means using the services of Kai's irritating cousin Jenny who has come from Munich to "babysit" while his parents are on holiday....

"Apart from Jenny, the characters are all based on the original ones in Max von der Gruen's book," Ditter explains. "She comes from the big city and is rather a spoiled brat, quite different from the boys from the suburbs. As for the adults, more emphasis has been given this time around to Olli and Maria's parents – with Esther Schweins and Dietmar Baer in the roles. And we have new baddies being played by Felix Klare and the twin brothers Roman and Raoul Brauner."

For fans who can't wait until the January 2010 release date in Germany, the producers have thought up all kinds of things to keep a buzz going on the forthcoming sequel. A dedicated homepage – – features an online diary following the making of the second film, among other things, while a teaser trailer has appeared before each screening of Rat Pack's other family film VICKIE THE VIKING which was already seen by over 1.6 million cinemagoers in its first week of release in September.

In addition, a trailer was also being included on the German DVD release of THE CROCODILES in October to get the growing fan base all keyed up for the sequel.

And, who knows, the adventure may continue even further: Westside and Rat Pack are already considering a third part and have begun developing a script for production possibly to roll next summer.

Category Feature
Year of Production 2010
Director Christian Ditter
Screenplay Christian Ditter, Neil Ennever
Cinematography Christian Rein
Ueli Christen
Heiko Maile
Eva Maria Stiebler, Westside Filmproduktion GmbH
Cast Dietmar Baer, Maria Schrader, Smudo, Nora Tschirner, Leonie Tepe, Manuel Steitz, Fabian Halbig, Nick Romeo Reimann, Esther Schweins
Producers Christian Becker, Lena Schoemann
Co-Producer Martin Moszkowicz
Production Company Rat Pack Filmproduktion, in co-production with Constantin Film Produktion
Format 35 mm, color
Shooting Dates Duisburg, Porta Westfalica, Dortmund, Hueckelhoven, Cologne, Solingen, June - September 2009
Sound Technology Dolby Digital
Festivals Tallinn Black Nights/Just Film 2010, Giffoni 2010, Nueva Mirada Buenos Aires 2010, Carrousel Rimouski 2010, Calgary 2010, Tel Aviv International Children's Film Festival 2010, Cinekid Amsterdam 2010, Giffoni Albani 2010, Oulu International Children's Film Festival 2010, Ale Kino! Poznan 2010, Olympia International Film Festival for Children and Young People 2010, KinderKinoFest Düsseldorf 2010, International Children's Film Festival Bangladesh 2011, Children's Film Festival Seattle 2011, Glasgow 2011, European Youth Film Festival of Flanders 2011, Freeze Frame Winnipeg 2011, Stockholm International Film Festival Junior 2011, Kids Film Festival International Jakarta 2011, Seoul International Youth Film Festival 2011, Sprockets Toronto 2011, Reel 2 Real International Film Festival for Youth Vancouver 2011, Cairo International Film Festival for Children 2011, View Finders Halifax 2011, Kristiansand 2011, Montreal International Children's Film Festival 2011, Leeds Young People's Film Festival 2011, Cinéjeune 2011, Children's Film Festival Mexico 2011, Zlín 2011, Showcomotion Sheffied 2011, Vilnius 2011, Asheville Int. Children's Film Festival 2011, KINOdiseea Romania 2011, Family Film Festival Dublin 2011, European Film Festival Palic 2011, Sarajevo 2011, Brazilian Kids Film Festival 2011, 7th IFF for Children and Young People in Armenia 2011, BUSTER Copenhagen 2011, 17th International Children's Film Festival India - Golden Elephant Film Festival Hyderabad 2011, FICI Madrid 2011, Minneapolis-St. Paul 2012, KINO - Mostra de cinema de expressão alemã Lisbon 2012, 8th Children & Youth Film Festival Cyprus 2012, Ciclo de Cine Infantil y Juvenil Vitoria-Gasteiz 2012, Pula Film Festival Croatia 2012, Cracow 4th International Film Festival for Children Galicja 2012, Chulpicine Ecuador 2012, International Children's Film Carnival Hong Kong 2012, 4th Providence Children's Film Festival Rhode Island 2012, Montreal International Children's Film Festival 2014
Awards Best Film Age Group 10-12 Giffoni 2010, Camério People's Choice Award Rimouski 2010, Kaleva Award Children's Jury (Best Film) Oulu 2010, Children's Jury Award - Best Feature Film Olympia 2010, Kinderjury Best Film Düsseldorf 2010, Youth Jury Award - Best Feature Film Freez Frame Winnipeg 2011, Children's Jury Awards Best Feature & Audience Awards of the European Youth Film Festival of Flanders (Antwerpen & Brügge) 2011, Young Jury Prize & Audience Award Leeds 2011, People's Jury Golden Sprocket Award Toronto 2011, Best Fiction Film Divercine Montevideo 2011, Children´s Jury Award - Best Feature Film Mexico City 2011, Best Feature Award Asheville 2011, Children's Jury Award Best Film Hyderabad 2011, Children's Jury Award Best Film FICI Madrid 2011, Special Award of the Children's Jury Cracow 2012, Best Children's Feature Film Pula Film Festival Croatia 2012
With backing from German Federal Film Board / FFA Filmförderungsanstalt, FilmFernsehFonds Bayern, German Federal Film Fund / DFFF Deutscher Filmförderfonds, Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, NRW Bank

World Sales
Attraction Distribution
Xiaojuan Zhou
5455 De Gaspe Avenue
Suite 803
Montreal (Quebec) H2T 3B3
phone +1-514-846 1222
fax +-514-846 1227

Renate Zylla (Festival Contact)