LeadingGerman actor Justus von Dohnanyi, who has appeared in such films as Oscar-nominatedDownfall, WWII drama Napola andthriller The Experiment, is makinghis directorial debut with the road movie-black comedy Hartz 4.2 (working title) which is shooting on location in Germany andSwitzerland until July 15.

The$878,955 (Euros 700,000) production by Lars Buecheland Bernd T. Hoefflin's Hamburg-based element e filmproduktion also features von Dohnanyiin front of as well behind the camera, since he takes one of the leads oppositeJan Josef Liefers and Stefan Kurt. However, hischaracter suffers an untimely demise and spends much of the film's story as acorpse being transported by Liefers and Kurt from theSwiss Alps through a Germany gripped by World Cup feverto the island of Sylt off theSchleswig-Holstein coast.

'TheWorld Cup is not at the forefront of the story, although the film's action doesbegin on the day of the opening game (June 9) and ends on the day of the final(July 9),' producer Bernd T. Hoefflin told ScreenDaily.com. 'We have been outcapturing the atmosphere of euphoria in Germany during the event,although we have made sure that we don't get any FIFA logos in the frame. It'soften enough to film the people's reactions to the matches at the open-airpublic viewings.'

Hartz 4.2 is element e's second featurefilm after Gernot Kraa'sfamily film Paula's Secret (Paulas Geheminis), which iscurrently in postproduction and will have its premiere at the Filmfest Hamburg at the beginning of October.