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    nordmedia Interview Jochen Coldewey & Thomas Schäffer

    By Ron Holloway | January 1, 2009

    The following interview with Thomas Schäffer, Managing Director of nordmedia – Die Mediengesellschaft Niedersachsen/Bremen mbH, and Jochen Coldewey, Head of Project Funding at nordmedia, took place in 2006 in conjuction with a KINO Special on nordmedia in October of 2006. As the interview confirms, nordmedia, based in Hannover, was riding a wave of festival successes thanks to such auteur filmmakers as Christian Petzold and Fatih Akin.

    Which were the key nordmedia successes of 2006? The nordmedia successes of 2007 up to the present? Were some successes foreseen in the planning stage?

    #In 2006, altogether 17 nordmedia funded productions were awarded 25 prizes, among them the German Film Prize 2006 for Best Documentary Film to Lost Children – Verlorene Kinder by Ali Samadi-Ahadi and Oliver Stoltz. This moving film about the social rehabilitation of children soldiers in Uganda was invited world wide to festivals and awarded several prizes there. We are naturally pleased when films with important themes have such a broad resonance. Also, since we always fund films for the public, we view it a success that in 2006 around 250 million television viewers have seen film and TV productions funded by nordmedia. In 2007, the international awards in Berlin and Cannes for two nordmedia funded films, Christian Petzold’s Yella and Fatih Akin’s Auf der anderen Seite (The Edge of Heaven), were a major success. That these films turned out to be such successes could scarcely be planned or foreseen in advance. Nevertheless, what is planable is in the area of nordmedia programming, where we affix themes and act upon timely developments in the branch. In 2007, there was our programming in the area of digital media of Game Focus Germany and Serious Games Conference, as well as the very successful Hands on HD-Workshop. Just as successful is also the nordmedia-talk-series, which we are programming in Bremen, Hannover and Berlin.

    Which key German productions and film directors were funded in the past by nordmedia? And will these directors continue to be funded in the future?

    Of course, the three last Fatih Akin films – Gegen die Wand (Head On), Crossing the Bridge, and Auf der anderen Seite – should be named, as well as Christian Petzold’s Yella. We would be pleased to collaborate again with both directors. Important for us is to continue funding in the area of animation. After Lenard Krawinkel’s Back to Gaya and Reinhard Klooss and Holger Tappe’s Urmel aus dem Eis, now comes Klooss and Tappe’s Urmel im Wunderland, the third CGI Film from Hannover. Another focus is in the area of large-scale, episode TV-event movies. We’ve funded Das Wunder von Lengede, Die Sturmflut, Der Untergang der Pamir, Der Schatz von Troja, and Die Flucht. All were very successful on television. Incidentally, the funding was earmarked principally for the production company. By EventMovies there was, for example, the company teamWorx, which then determined who would direct. So far as nordmedia is concerned, no immediate influence is exerted on the funding of the directors.

    How closely does nordmedia collaborate with other funding commissions in northern Germany? With Filmförderung Hamburg, for instance.

    The funding commission of the German government and the federal states meet regularly and cooperate on several projects. In northern Germany there are two funding systems. First, the film commission in Hamburg, which recently formed a partnership with Schleswig-Holstein, and second, nordmedia, with the states of Niedersachsen and Bremen. The funded money should also generally be distributed in the respective funding territories. In regard to larger projects, this usually leads in general to mutual financing and cooperation.

    Does nordmedia also fund international film projects?

    nordmedia is open to all kinds of international coproductions. Currently there are coproductions underway with China and the USA in the areas of feature films and animation. However, a German coproducer always has to be found, and it’s necessary that at least the commissioned funds can and should be distributed in our region – for example, during the shooting stage. Interesting in this case is the combination of funding with the new German Film Grant Fund.

    Thank you for the interview, and continued success at nordmedia. –Editors

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