Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, who won the Academy Award for writing and directing The Lives of Others, is re-teaming with his partners from that film on his new German film Work Without Author. Joining von Donnersmarck are sales agent Beta Cinema and actor Sebastian Koch, both of whom were integral parts of Lives. Work Without Author is an epic psychological thriller about three periods of German history. The film just started shooting in Berlin.
The film marks a welcome return to work for von Donnersmarck, who exploded onto the global indie film scene with The Lives of Others and swiftly landed what looked like a plum English language directing gig in The Tourist with two of the hottest stars in the world, Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. Despite a worldwide gross of some $280 million, the 2010 film was hit with lukewarm reviews and von Donnersmarck’s career stalled. Work Without Author appears on paper to be a return to the milieu that brought him such initial success.
The story: Young artist Kurt Barnert has fled to West Germany, where he continues to be tormented by experiences from his childhood and youth in the Nazi years and during the GDR-regime. When he meets the student Ellie, he is convinced that he has met the love of his life and begins to create paintings that mirror not only his own fate, but also the traumas of an entire generation.
Also starring in the film are Tom Schilling, Paula Beer Saskia Rosendahl and Ina Weisse. Five-time Academy Award-nominee Caleb Deschanel (The Passion of the Christ) is on-board as DP.
“I am delighted to begin a new film with my creative companions from The Lives of Others,” said von Donnersmarck. “I hope that we will succeed in making a film that shows that art can discern things that are otherwise forever closed to the mind.”
The film will be produced by Pergamon Film and Wiedemann & Berg Film. The producers are Jan Mojto, Quirin Berg, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck and Max Wiedemann. As with The Lives of Others, the ARD Degeto and the Bayerischer Rundfunk are also on board as co-producers. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Germany will distribute the film in Germany. The film is being made in cooperation with Beta Cinema, which is handling world sales.
Shooting takes place until the end of August in Berlin, Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia. The film is supported by Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, FFA, FFF Bayern, Filmstiftung NRW and MDM Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung.