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Stadt wird erpresst, Eine

Stadt wird erpresst, Eine
Scene from “Eine Stadt wird erpresst” (photo © Julia von Vietinghoff)

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 02/2006

A thriller must be a thick and juicy steak you can bite into. So if you’re going to blackmail someone or something, why not an entire city? That’s exactly what happens in Eine Stadt wird erpresst (translation: “A City is Blackmailed”).

Here it is, the eastern German city of Leipzig. A bomb explodes; the criminals demand a ransom in diamonds and, having planned with perfect precision, escape with the booty. The search leads Hauptkommissar Kalinke (Uwe Kockisch) and his two colleagues Kommissar Banderes (Misel Maticevic) and Kommissarin Maria Rogalla (Julia Blankenburg) to a village at the edge of the brown coal mining-region. While Kalinke is forced to confront his own past and entanglements, the villagers pose their own puzzles. Nothing and nobody is what and who he seems. It ends in a life-risking showdown in a luxury hotel.

“This is a real police thriller with action,” says producer Andreas Bareiss. “It has tension, a deep reaching story, a great deal of humanity, characters with edges and angles and a good portion of action. It will also work in the cinema and in terms of production values we are so close to the line between a TV movie and a feature film I stopped counting each time we crossed it!”

Eine Stadt wird erpresst also marks Bareiss’ ninth collaboration with director Dominik Graf. “It’s always fun to work with him,” says Bareiss. “It’s always a challenge, it’s always hard work and at the end we always have a great film. He is the master of the German thriller.”

Graf, fresh off his Berlinale 2006 success Der Rote Kakadu, has piled up a number of awards for his prolific theatrical and TV work, including four Adolf Grimme Awards, three VFF TV Movie Awards and the German Film Award.

Co-author Rolf Basedow worked with Graf on Sperling, which culminated in their joint nomination for Best Script in the 1999 German Television Awards. Basedow also worked with director Doris Doerrie and Ruth Stadler on Bin ich schoen?, which won the 1998 Bavarian Film Award.

Kockisch, with more than twenty features and forty TV productions under his belt, is an old hand at the police game and since 2003 has made the role of Commissario Brunetti in pubcaster ARD’s versions of the Donna Leon thrillers his.

Blankenburg worked with Graf on his 2002 TV movie Hotte im Paradies, as did Maticevic, who went on to feature in Graf’s 2003 melodrama, Kalter Fruehling.

Genre Thriller

Year of Production 2006
Director Dominik Graf
Screenplay Dominik Graf, Rolf Basedow
Cinematography Alexander Fischerkoesen
Hana Muellner
Florian van Volxem, Sven Rossenbach
Claus-Juergen Pfeiffer
Cast Julia Blankenburg, Mišel Matičević, Uwe Kockisch, Rolf Hanke
Producers Andreas Bareiss, Bernd Burgemeister, Gloria Burkert
Production Companies BurkertBareiss Development/Munich, TV60 Film/Munich for ZDF
Format 16 mm, color
Sound Technology Stereo
Festivals Edinburgh 2014

World Sales
ZDF Studios GmbH
Erich-Dombrowski-Strasse 1
55127 Mainz/Germany