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(Ich bin ein Moerder)

Vadim Glowna, Bernd Boehlich, Katrin Sass (photo © Conny Klein/Wilkening Film)

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 04/2004

This summer saw award-winning TV director Bernd Boehlich make his feature film debut with Ich bin ein Moerder after working on such "TV events" as the Axel Springer biopic Der Verleger and the Charlotte Link adaptation Sturmzeit as well as episodes of the police series Polizeiruf and Tatort.

"I was contacted by the screenwriter Robby Dannenberg at the end of April to see if I would be interested in taking on the project which already had Bernd as director and Thomas Plenert as director of photography," Babelsberg-based producer Thomas Wilkening recalls.

Dannenberg, who is now studying at Berlin's dffb, mentioned that one of his relatives and their friends were interested in investing money in the project, a situation which suited Wilkening fine as he had already been developing an independent film financing model. "The relative's argument when I talked to him was: 'Why do I always have to put my money into American films? I can see that the lad has problems getting his scripts financed here in Germany, so isn't there a German variant to these financing models?'," Wilkening says.

The private placement saw him setting up a limited company - Thomas Wilkening Filmgesellschaft mbH & Co. Erste KG - with the twelve investors as limited partners and he also raised cash from the cast and crew who will participate in the film's revenues according to a points system.

The hard-hitting story - a mother (played by Good Bye, Lenin!'s Katrin Sass) runs through the whole gamut of emotions in the course of a few days from the moment she learns that her son has been accused of murder to the awful realization of the truth - and the tight schedule with a July start made it even more appropriate to go it alone without public subsidy or television.

Katrin Sass and Agnes and his brothers' Vadim Glowna (as the mother's lawyer) needed no persuading to take on their roles after reading Dannenberg's screenplay, with Sass enthusing that she had "been waiting for such a project since Good Bye, Lenin!."

As for the pivotal role of the son, Boehlich picked Sebastian Weber who had previously appeared in Christopher Roth's Baader and worked on the stage at Hamburg's Thalia Theater and Munich's Kammerspiele. "We wanted a young, unknown face where you don't know what it is going to happen, a face where you can't divine the secret he is keeping," Wilkening explains, pointing out that Weber "has something of a young Frank Giering or Edward Norton."

Moreover, Ich bin ein Moerder finally gave Wilkening a chance to make a feature film with Bernd Boehlich; they had worked together on Polizeiruf 110 - Wandas Letzter Gang and he had been looking for a feature project for him for some time. "I knew that Bernd was the right man for this subject matter and that he had the flexibility required," Wilkening says. "He thinks quickly which is what we needed here because we were shooting almost ten minutes of film a day, so you can't keep having breaks to think things over."
Genre Melodrama
Category Feature
Year of Production 2004
Director Bernd Böhlich
Screenplay Robby Dannenberg
Cinematography Thomas Plenert
Karola Mittelstaedt
Cast Katrin Sass, Vadim Glowna, Sebastian Weber, Guntram Brattia, Claudia Geisler-Bading, Teresa Harder, Fritz Roth
Producer Thomas Wilkening
Production Company Thomas Wilkening Filmgesellschaft/Potsdam, in co-production with Thomas Wilkening Filmgesellschaft & Co. Erste KG/Potsdam
Shooting Dates Berlin, Brandenburg, July 2004

Thomas Wilkening Filmgesellschaft
August-Bebel-Strasse 26-53
14482 Potsdam/Germany
phone +49-3 31-7 21 30 46
fax +49-3 31-7 21 30 47