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Scene from “Die Räuberin” (photo courtesy of Element E Filmproduktion)

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 01/2011

Die Räuberin (“The Bandit”) is the story of a scandal,” producer Lars Büchel explains. It’s the 3rd of January and the 43-year-old actress Tania Kalsmayer arrives in Jankwarden, a village in the furthest north-west of Germany. The place is not far from the coast but off the tourist track, not that it’s really worth looking for, and the area appropriately bleak.

“On her first day by the sea she meets 14-year-old Thore,” Büchel picks up the thread. “He’s different to the other people and Tania takes to him because she believes he has artistic talent. He develops a crush on her, which she does nothing to prevent. But what is basically a meeting of minds inevitably becomes a local scandal.”

It becomes slowly clear that Tania cannot act any differently. Here, in the remoteness of the north, a part of her life she believed she had shaken off long, long ago, gradually forces its way back. It becomes increasingly clearer that what she sees as her duty to the boy is also her last chance to give her own life the decisive change and, at the same time, to banish for once and for all the shadows that she has suppressed for decades by dubious means and without regard for herself or others. And thus she decides to kidnap Thore.

“Markus Busch, the writer-director, wrote Die Felsen for Dominik Graf,” Büchel explains. “In fact, he and I studied together. He had told me he wanted to direct a film one day, so I told him to go write a script and he did! Die Räuberin is an arthouse film, a chamber piece. It’s very dry and has, we think, great festival chances. The setting in northern Schleswig-Holstein is foggy, damp, grey, into which comes a former TV-star with a secret.” SPOILER ALERT: she gave up her own child for adoption, who subsequently died in a car accident, together with his adoptive parents.

“The film is dry as in the sense of raw, chapped or chafed. Markus is not aiming to pander to the audience. We have very little music, for example, because he is trying not to emotionalize,” Büchel continues.

Birge Schade, who plays Tania, acted in, among others, Domink Graf’s Skorpion, while Daniel Michel (Thore) makes his acting debut here.

Büchel’s own credits include Lippels Traum and Erbsen auf halb sechs, both of which he directed, as well as producing Justus von Dohnányi’s writer-director-acting vehicle, Bis zum Ellenbogen.

As well as feature films, Element E Filmproduktion also produces award-winning commercials, as in Cannes Lions and Clio-winning commercials, for national and international brands, such as Siemens, Allianz and Renault.

“In principle we make what we enjoy,” says Die Räuberin’s other producer and Büchel’s business partner, Bernd T. Hoefflin. “We trust a gut feeling and it tells us critics will love Die Räuberin! We are director-driven, which means we see our duty as producers to accompany them with love and support!”

Genre Drama
Category Feature
Year of Production 2011
Director Markus Busch
Screenplay Markus Busch
Cinematography Filip Piskorzynski
Steven Wilhelm
Max Berghaus
Bader El Hindi
Cast Birge Schade, Daniel Michel
Producers Bernd T. Hoefflin, Lars Büchel
Production Company element e filmproduktion/Hamburg, in cooperation with WDR
Format HDCAM, color, 1:1.85
Shooting Dates October-November 2010
Sound Technology Dolby SR
Festivals Sao Paulo 2012
With backing from MOIN Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein

element e filmproduktion GmbH
Beim grünen Jäger 6a
20359 Hamburg/Germany
phone +49-40-4 44 65 30
fax +49-40-44 46 53 33