Cameras Rolling In Greece On ‘Tochter’, First European Co-Pro To Resume Post-COVID

'Tochter' Wolfgang Ennenbach, Heimatfilm

EXCLUSIVE: Here’s a positive one for the Euro film industry – shooting has resumed on Tochter (English translation Daughter), a co-production between significant producers from Germany, Greece and Italy.

The project is being heralded as one of the first post-COVID international co-pro to get back underway in Europe, which has been confirmed by two major bodies EAVE (European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs) and ACE Producers. The only other one I am aware of Margrete – Queen Of The Northa significant Nordic project that resumed filming in the Czech Republic on June 15.

Pic is based on German author Lucy Fricke’s best-selling novel of the same title and is being directed by Nana Neul (To Faro). Producers include Bettina Brokemper of Heimatfilm, whose credits span Lars Von Trier’s The House That Jack Built and Eran Riklis’ Dancing Arabs. Warner Bros Germany is a co-producer and will handle the local release.

Also onboard are Giorgos Karnavas and Konstantinos Kontovrakis of Greek outfit Heretic, who won the European Film Academy prize for co-production in 2018 and have produced pics including festival hit Son Of Sofia. The Italian component are Simone Gattoni, Laura Buffoni and Michael Weber of Simila(r). Weber is also handling the project’s sales through his Germany-bases sales company The Match Factory.

The German portion of the shoot was completed pre-lockdown but the film was put on hiatus by the pandemic. Filming is now back underway on the island of Amorgos, Greece, and the goal is to shoot the Italian portion in September. The producers are utilizing COVID safety filming protocols from both Greece and Germany to govern on set practices and say they have gone above and beyond the requirements. A lot of the shoot is outdoors which also helps minimize risk. “It’s a new way of working that we have to get used to,” they told me. “It’s more time, more people, and of course more money, but it’s not rocket science.”

Cast include Birgit Minichmayr (The White Ribbon), Alexandra Maria Lara (Rush) and Josef Bierbichler (Two Men In Suits), with Giorgio Colangeli and Andreas Konstantinou. The pic is a road trip movie set in Switzerland, Italy and Greece following two friends, Betty and Martha, who set out on a trip with a dying father on their backseat. He seems to have only one wish – assisted suicide in a Swiss special institute.

Greece re-opened its borders on June 15, allowing international crews to reassemble.

“International co-productions are the very heart of Heimatfilm. Covid-19 came as a direct opponent to the way we work but, as persistence is the other half of Heimatfilm, we never let it go,” said Bettina Brokemper. “Independent producers find solutions all the time and, in that sense, shooting across borders during the COVID-19 era is just another solution to be found. This is exactly what we are doing now in beautiful Amorgos with my partners at Heretic and I wish this hopeful message gets across to all other producers facing the same challenges and worries these days.”

Heretic’s Konstantinos Kontovrakis, who is boots on the ground in Greece, added, “Reassuring our partners, collaborators, crews and funds that restarting and international film shooting can be done in a way that is both safe and efficient was our top priority. Besides Tochter, we have two more international coproductions of ours scheduled for shooting this year, so there’s no other way for us than just do it. We have made sure that all safety precautions are taken – in certain cases, more than those dictated by the Greek and the German protocols. The fact that Greece was one of the top 10 countries in battling efficiently with the pandemic was an important factor in our efforts to start our shooting today; Bettina’s positive and steadfast approach sealed it.”

The film is supported by Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, BKM, DFFF in Germany, MIBAC in Italy and EKOME in Greece.

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