Director Fatih Akin and actor Birol Uenel have had a busy March. After winning the Golden Bear at this year's Berlinale for Head-On (Gegen Die Wand) the film's opening dates and the respective promotional tours in Germany and Turkey were brought forward to mid-March. But both of them have still found time for making films.
Akin is one of 25 European film directors, including Austria's Barbara Albert, Hungary's Bela Tarr and Sweden's Jan Troell, who have been commissioned by the Franco-German broadcaster to shoot a five-minute short giving their personal visions of Europe on the eve of the enlargement of the European Union with the arrival of 10 new member states on May 1.
The European Visions project has been conceived by ZDF's Meinolf Zurhorst and is being supervised by Zentropa Entertainment's Mikael Olsen who pointed out that "it was a close race for everyone" to meet the April 1 deadline for the shorts to be delivered in time for their airing on May 1 as part of an ARTE thematic evening.
Meanwhile, Uenel joined the cast of Aaron Allred's feature debut Not A Lovestory which began shooting in Berlin at the end of January and is set to wrap in mid-April. According to producer Doris Kirch, the casting of Uenel as the confidence trickster and street performer Guru was "perfect. I am really pleased that we could get Birol at such short notice after the Berlinale success and that he could take the time."
Allred's melange of thriller and love story set in 1968 and 2004 is Kirch's first feature production for her new outfit Blue Angel Entertainment Film Productons and is also a first for the Babelsberg-based private media fund MPF Beteiligungs GmbH which had previously been involved in the financing of live music concerts.
Similarly, Head-On's producer Wueste Filmproduktion has had its hands full with one project - Kebab Connection - cranking up production during the Berlinale - and another - Ofsayt - in the throes of pre-production with shooting scheduled for the end of April.
Scripted by Fatih Akin with Ruth Toma (who wrote the screenplay for Akin's Solino), Anno Saul's comedy drama Kebab Connection features two of the hottest young German acting talents: Denis Moschitto, a winner of one of the Studio Hamburg Newcomer Acting Awards last year, and Nora Tschirner, who appeared opposite Matthias Schweighofer in Soloalbum.
Meanwhile, Ofsayt marks Wueste Filmproduktion's second collaboration with Buket Alakus after her feature debut Anam and centres on a young woman footballer whose life is thrown out of kilter after she is diagnosed with breast cancer.
For full German, Austrian and Swiss production listings click HERE