Following a terrorist attack, survivor Maxi joins the beguiling student Karl and becomes part of a European youth movement – one that aims for nothing less than seizing power.
Somewhere in Berlin. Not just some day – today. A parcel in a hallway.
ALEX, a husband and father of three, leaves his flat to get wine from his car. In the confusion that follows, he's torn from the routine of everyday life and fails to ever find his footing again.
MAXI, his daughter and a strong young woman, sets out into what might pass as life. It’s a brutal weaning process though, and she ends up angry and demanding answers.
KARL set off long ago. He is beguiling, smart as a whip and has the answers Maxi craves. He entices her in, recognising her rage and provides the requisite outlet. Part of a growing radical movement, he dances with her on a razor's edge.
Today in Berlin. Tomorrow in Prague. Soon in Strasbourg and all across Europe.
This is a power grab.
Key Still JE SUIS KARL © Tom Trambow
OF THE DIRECTOR
Christian Schwochow studied directing at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg from 2002 to 2008, where he graduated with his feature debut NOVEMBER CHILD (2008). It was followed by CRACKS IN THE SHELL (2011), his television debut The Tower (2012) and the feature WEST (2013).
Schwochow subsequently directed ARD’s TV film Bornholmer Straße (2014). Heute ist nicht alle Tage [The Perpetrators], the first part of ARD's NSU German History X trilogy, also garnered great interest. In 2016, his feature PAULA, a portrait of the remarkable painter Paula Modersohn-Becker, premiered at the Locarno Film Festival.
In 2018, Schwochow's highly acclaimed and multiple award-winning television series Bad Banks premiered at the Berlinale. Christian Schwochow also directed two episodes for the third season of the internationally acclaimed British royal family series The Crown.
Schwochow’s cinematic adaptation of Siegfried Lenz’ classic novel THE GERMAN LESSON followed in the fall of 2019. In 2020, he went on to film the international bestseller Munich for Netflix. Schwochow’s works have been doted with many prestigious awards, including the Grimme Award, the Max Ophüls Audience Award, the German Film Award, the Bavarian Film Award and the German Television Award. JE SUIS KARL is his sixth feature.
2021 Je Suis Karl
2019 The German Lesson
2011 Cracks In The Shell
2008 November Child
2019 The Crown, Season 3,
2018 Bad Banks, Season 1
2016 Germany History X - The Perpetrators
2016 A Dangerous Fortune
2015 Bornholmer Street
2012 The Tower
“…the [alt right] scene, with its unambiguously contemptuous slogans and coup fantasies, bears a completely new guise in its modern symbolism, dashing slogans and confusing weasel words. Suddenly there are young, attractive, savvy right-wingers who are multilingual, studied at Oxford, and peddle their ideology as a modern, patriotic lifestyle.” Christian Schwochow
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Berlin February 11, 2021
Because of its plot arc and unexpected twists, you can run into trouble discussing JE SUIS KARL, particularly if trying to avoid spoilers. How would you yourselves sum up your film?
Thomas Wendrich: First of all, it's a love story and the story of a primal fear we all share: fear of that which is foreign and potentially harmful. This is an ancient, undifferentiating emotion. Our film has almost a model character in the way it plays with this fear. JE SUIS KARL shows the development of a young woman who hitherto hasn't encountered fear but who, in the end, very clearly formulates that she's now completely in its sway. The film asks: what would you do if what is dearest to you was taken away? What becomes of our certainties when the rug is pulled out from beneath our feet? And then, of course, JE SUIS KARL is a film about a youth movement that believes it has to set things straight in Europe.
What does you have to say as the director?
Christian Schwochow: Thomas described it very well. How easily are we seduced by radical thought, and, more still, radical action? How steadfastly are we able to defend ourselves when assailed by forceful political slogans and by those people in our immediate environment who are increasingly daring, coming out of the woodwork and radicalizing with their attitudes? We wanted and needed to make a film that pained us in responding to these questions. JE SUIS KARL isn't coincidentally set in Berlin's Friedrichshain, where both of us live with our families, where we're at home and have the feeling of being on emotionally, morally and politically safe ground. We started by examining this security in our own cases.
Thomas Wendrich: I think films like JE SUIS KARL absolutely have to hurt, and not only when you watch them but already during their making. That's what it did to us for five long years. Not only because we ourselves had changed during that time, but also because the world in which we anchored the film had changed. It shows a change that at first confuses, then escalates into pain. Pain is a strong emotion. In the film, too.
Your first joint project as screenwriter and director was part of the ARD television trilogy "NSU: German History X," which was broadcast in 2016. In it, you explicitly dealt with perpetrators Uwe Mundlos, Uwe Böhnhardt and Beate Zschäpe. To what extent did that work impact JE SUIS KARL?
Christian Schwochow: Even while working on the National Socialist Underground film (NSU was a far-right German neo-Nazi terrorist group uncovered in November 2011), Thomas and I asked ourselves what these terrorists and their lives had in common with our own biographies.
Thomas Wendrich: I was personally offended that the NSU were essentially my people. That their teachers were those whose education I'd also received. That their parents spoke like mine. Time and again, we examined the reasons for why Zschäpe, Mundlos and Böhnhardt took a different turn than we did.
Christian Schwochow: There it was, a rear-mirror view of the classical, familiar Nazi scene. But even during research, we noticed that a new generation of right-wingers was coming into being. It sufficed to look at the externalities, things like the manner of dress of those attending court during the NSU trial in Munich. We were there for many days; suddenly right-wingers were walking around as if they were Antifa. Then came the Alternative for Germany (AfD, a German nationalist and right-wing populist political party), the refugee crisis, and suddenly there was turmoil and a whole new mood in Germany.
Because people with radical attitudes – but a fresh demeanor and appearance – have become visible?
Christian Schwochow: Yes. There was the palpable threat of smart young people with new organizational structures. It really forced us to set NSU subject matter within a contemporary framework. The NSU film was ugly. JE SUIS KARL was about narrating the story of the right wing in a different way, a "prettified" one, if you will. Because the scene, with its unambiguously contemptuous slogans and coup fantasies, bears a completely new guise in its modern symbolism, dashing slogans and confusing weasel words. Suddenly there are young, attractive, savvy right-wingers who are multilingual, studied at Oxford, and peddle their ideology as a modern, patriotic lifestyle.
Thomas Wendrich: … and are very, very nice! And they're not just up-and-coming, they're here already! Some of them have important jobs, are on committees, in city parliaments and in police stations. It's inconceivable, and it infuriates me, but it also spurs me on.
Is German society too mute for you?
Christian Schwochow: Definitely. We can't come up with a way to deal with the AfD and their cohorts. I think the way political parties all across Europe deal with populists is weak; forever smiling about them and showing them how allegedly stupid they are just doesn't cut it. Because in so doing, people forget that these populists are also in the German Bundestag and convincing millions to go to the ballot box and vote for them.
Thomas Wendrich: What is left today, and what right? When is protest justified? Where is our humanistic basis? Should Europe become a fortress or be open to all? When we ask ourselves such questions, we quickly perceive these fears in ourselves again, fears that have recently been put on the back-burner for fear of the Corona pandemic. But no later than when people died for such convictions at the Capitol in Washington was it plain once more that they still existed and how far they're willing to go. And lest we forget: the Mediterranean is a mass grave.
Is German cinema also too mute, too unradical?
Christian Schwochow: Yes, it's too quiet there, too. JE SUIS KARL was intended as the loud film it absolutely became.
Thomas Wendrich: It's important we don't narrate the story of radicalization as a completed process, but that we create a scenario of it actually coming into fruition right now.
Christian Schwochow: For a while, we considered shifting the narrative into the near future and lending it a prophetic or dystopian angle.
Thomas Wendrich: Yes, but now I watch the film spellbound because initially I can't credit what's going on, but then I do because it's absolutely authentic. That, I think, is the key, and what makes JE SUIS KARL so breathless for me. Of course it remains fictional, a social experiment.
Is it more difficult to approach a basic thrust – as complex as it is explosive – through fiction, rather than resorting to the cinematic staple of “based on true events?”
Christian Schwochow: There were indeed external concerns that reality would overtake us.
Thomas Wendrich: In 2016, that came to pass with the attack on the Christmas market on Berlin's Breitscheidplatz. I had conceived the terrorist attack for the JE SUIS KARL screenplay only some weeks before that. At the instant of the actual attack, our premonition was vindicated. We can't outpace our own era with a film, but our certainty that we were narrating a subject of our times was reinforced. The film itself is ultimately indifferent to whether it's fiction or drawn from facts. In fictionality, we generate cinematic truth through authenticity.
Christian Schwochow: When we decided to take up arms against those whom we were narrating, fiction helped us and freed us up from research. Nonetheless, much of what we show in JE SUIS KARL isn't invented, but shown in logical form. How the New Right look, how they talk and present their attitudes, how they've created their own event culture, all that has been artistically interpreted, but is very close to reality…
Thomas Wendrich: … a reality that evinces a swamp of feints, lies, charades and criminal activity. By the way, a film is absolutely within its rights to make assertions.
Christian Schwochow: Right-wingers are always pronounced dead if they disappear from the media or public eye for a while. How come? Because people have this weird impulse to think "it's not really so bad." Meanwhile, we're reassured if the populists are "only" at ten percent in the polls. Outrageous! To me, the fear of these forces with their invective and powers of persuasion is very much present. Radicalization almost never functions through straight psychological causality. It often remains inexplicable. Children who grow up with the clear liberal ideas of their parents encounter a world in which radicality has established itself in the mainstream. Right-wing, völkisch (ethnic-nationalist) or even fascistic currents can now even be found in the environmental movement. In terms of PR, the New Right has drawn heavily on Greenpeace and Amnesty International. There's this muddying and constant evolving, and many familiar aspects no longer sit well together.
Your film shows very clearly the charm and fascination that the right wing can exude.
Christian Schwochow: That's the only way! What's the use of simple truths or accusations in a movie? Why shouldn't we show the fascination and seductive power that people like Karl have? It has to be done if we mean to expose them. And who's to say that we too won't succumb to Karl's ploys? And yes, questions like these will definitely shake some viewers.
What were the mainstays of your research? What sources did you use?
Thomas Wendrich: We closely examined ideologies and the social penetration of New Right movements, read a lot, watched films and drew heavily on extensive NSU research. When it comes to dramaturgical questions, that is to say how to authentically narrate an exemplary story, one inevitably ends up with Bertolt Brecht. And we checked out Frankfurter Tor to see what was going on in Berlin, listened in Neukölln to ascertain how the word on the street had changed. In short, we squared our artistic assertions with real life.
Christian Schwochow: Within our research team, we encountered investigative journalists who are in constant exchange with the right-wing scene. We compared the manifestos of young, educated right-wingers with the opinions of young people – including those on our team – and came up with some shocking results. A lot of what the ultra-right maintain is concurred to, or not questioned, by a large percentage of young people today. We listened to the podcasts by right-wing figures, which was as revealing as it was troubling, because they don't mince their words anymore. Ultimately, William L. Pierce's "The Turner Diaries" plays a major role even now. The similarities in diction are amazing – that longing for, and working towards, the takeover on day X.
JE SUIS KARL works as a hard-hitting drama on many levels, some of which are more tacit. In addition to political seduction, there's the taking and aiding of flight, the social treatment of relatives subsequent to a terrorist attack, mourning, and a very fragile father-daughter relationship. Was it difficult to strike a balance?
Christian Schwochow: It was, yes. Right at the beginning of JE SUIS KARL, father and daughter lose the three people closest to them. Every scene after that is burdened with death. Of course, we shot more intense material portraying grief and trauma. Thomas and I discussed it a lot, but in the editing process, I decided not to include all of those scenes. On the one hand, they were too painful and hard to bear, but furthermore they got in the way of my narrative intent. I wanted to strengthen Karl in his power of persuasion and seduction so that his force was from within, and not primarily from Maxi's trauma. My sense was that, as a viewer who hadn't experienced this trauma, one couldn't then simply distance oneself from Maxi and her gradual succumbing to seduction.
Which makes JE SUIS KARL especially interesting for a younger audience.
Christian Schwochow: That's a very important concern for us: we want to reach young audiences and get into schools! In order for her peers to be able to lock on to her, we show Maxi as a character who, despite her grief and that of her father, decides early on to face life head on…
Thomas Wendrich: … and to radically break away or just fall in love. Maxi wonders whether she can permit herself to fall in love. We as viewers are always a step ahead of her. More than once, we want to shout out to her: "No, Maxi, don't do it!" But this is precisely where the drama and pain of the story lie.
Christian Schwochow: I'd like the film to be discussed in the schoolyard and at home, both as an artistic event and in terms of its themes. In the process, it'll doubtless become clear that the generations hold different positions on the question of where we stand as a society in relation to the New Right's ideas.
Generational differences are clearly evident in the reactions after the terrorist attack. Maxi can go ahead and scream, be inconsiderate and disrespectful towards her father and make vague claims in her rage. Alex, on the other hand, is subdued, all but powerless, and left reeling.
Thomas Wendrich: Whereby Milan Peschel as Alex is an insert of us as screenwriter and director. We wanted to have this aspect as close to us as possible.
Was casting Jannis Niewöhner for Karl and Luna Wedler for Maxi a complicated process?
Christian Schwochow: Not for Karl, because Jannis Niewöhner was the only actor set in stone. He's very modest and talented, but initially claimed he wasn't really a languages guy. Karl's character, however, works primarily through language. I found this apparent discrepancy particularly appealing. Jannis really worked his way into the role, spending countless hours learning English and French, for example.
And Luna Wedler?
Christian Schwochow: She was my first choice, too. But she didn't want to do it at first because she had difficulties with the part. So I organized a big casting call, only there was no Maxi there. Luckily I left the door open for Luna, and luckily she changed her mind. Luna is so much a Friedrichshain girl for me, even though she's never lived in Berlin. Her turning me down in the beginning sent me on a long journey, at the end of which I was convinced that she alone could be Maxi.
Both of them develop enormous presence over the course of the narrative, particularly in their respective seduction and being seduced.
Christian Schwochow: I'd already cast them six months before shooting began. Jannis and Luna came to JE SUIS KARL without my having seen them act together in front of a camera. That was risky. Then, over an eight-hour-day week, we worked our way through the scenes of the script while improvising. Only ten minutes into the first rehearsal of an early scene in which Karl is wrapping Maxi around his finger, Luna was already saying, "He's got me already!"
Thomas Wendrich: I received the footage after those rehearsals and was able to make very important changes to the script, to the dialog in particular. I thought myself very lucky to be so involved in working out the characters. Now I feel unalloyed joy on seeing Luna and Jannis on screen.
Berlin, Prague, Strasbourg… Was the plot’s impetus to push Europe to its limits a given from the start?
Christian Schwochow: It was clear all along that we wanted to describe a movement with a network that meets throughout Europe. It's almost reminiscent of the Erasmus student exchange program. And again, France had to be included because the right-wingers there got big really quickly. It seemed organic to take the story there, and to Strasbourg as a symbol of the Europe we know. And Prague is still a destination that young people from all around the world long to visit.
Thomas Wendrich: Prague was important because our story needed an Eastern European component. Writing Maxi's mother as a Frenchwoman gave us freedom – in language, the portrayal of Berlin as a multicultural metropolis, and also in showing Europe's present condition.
How did you arrive at the title of JE SUIS KARL?
Thomas Wendrich: Inspiration. As a screenwriter, you quickly develop a feeling for suitable titles. In the case of JE SUIS KARL, it's clear that it aligns with the European idea and with "Je suis Charlie," the rallying cry universally taken up after the attack on the editorial offices of the satirical magazine "Charlie Hebdo." The right-wing movement hasn't hesitated to appropriate this term. This perfidious misuse gave rise to the slogan we chose as our title. Of course we discussed alternatives, of course there were concerns, but as Christian put it in the casting of Maxi: the number one choice remained the number one choice.
Music is enormously important, both in the right-wing scene, and by extension in the film. It illustrates that a huge transformation has taken place, ranging from crude pounding to multilayered, contemporary sounds.
Christian Schwochow: The movement sells the idea of being carried away and music is an integral part of that.
Thomas Wendrich: Creating a musical figure in Karl's environment in the form of Jitka, a Czech, was a conscious decision for the structure of this movement. Music has always been the gateway to ideology, and extremists are very aware of this.
Christian Schwochow: Brilliantly produced fascist music, even hip-hop, which was invented by black people, naturally does exist – that's how far things have come! For the film, we further upped the coolness factor and created a large sound team. In addition to sound designer Rainer Heesch and music consultant Martin Hossbach, we worked with the great young musician and producer Max Rieger. He composed and wrote lyrics for these tailored songs. Martin and Max then scouted artists who could perform them and weren't averse to doing so in front of the camera. Floex from the Czech Republic and Britain's Tom Hodge gave us the score.
A centerpiece of the film is the toxic rap “À la guerre,” as performed live to a roused club. Is it one of those tailored works?
Christian Schwochow: Yes, it was also composed by Max Rieger. The rap was created in collaboration with Martin Hossbach and Johann-Christoph Laubisch, a German-French actor and musician. It went without saying that we weren't going to pay a single cent of royalties to a real fascist group.
Key Still JE SUIS KARL © Pandora Film
OF THE WRITER
Thomas Wendrich, born in 1971, studied at the Konrad Wolf Film University of Babelsberg in Potsdam and at the German Film and Television Academy Berlin (DFFB). Between 1994 and 1999, he was a member of the Berliner Ensemble theater. Wendrich has collaborated with Schleef, Müller, Heise, Wilson, Zadek, Tragelehn, and Wuttke, among others. Since 2001, he has worked as a self-employed actor, author, and director. The screenplay for NIMM DIR DEIN LEBEN (Take Your Life, directed by Sabine Michel) won him the German Screenplay Prize in 2002. The award-winning short film ZUR ZEIT VERSTORBEN (Currently Deceased) was followed by his debut feature-length film, MARIA AM WASSER (Maria on the Waterfront).
Wendrich both wrote the screenplay and directed the film, which premiered in cinemas in 2006. 2013 saw his film adaptation of the novel ICH & KAMINSKI (Me and Kaminski), directed by Wolfgang Becker. Wendrich has written several screenplays for the TATORT crime series. His episodes were directed by David Wnendt and Katrin Gebbe, amongst others. His screenplay for the film DIE TÄTER – HEUTE IST NICHT ALLE TAGE (The Perpetrators – Today Is Not Every Day), directed by Christan Schwochow, was awarded the 2016 German Television Film Award by the German Academy of the Performing Arts, the German Television Award, and the 2017 Grimme Award.
The screenplay JE SUIS KARL, directed by Christan Schwochow, was nominated for the German Screenplay Award in 2018, and will premiere at the 2021 Berlinale. 2021 will also see the premiere of the feature film LIEBER THOMAS (Dear Thomas), directed by Andreas Kleinert, and the broadcast of the television film WO IST MIKE? (Where Is Mike?) His debut novel, EINE ROSE FÜR PUTIN (A Rose for Putin), was published in 2015.
2021 Je Suis Karl
2021 Wo is Mike? (TV, Tatort)
2021 Dear Thomas (Kino)
2017 Borowski und das dunkle Netz (TV, Tatort)
2016 Fünf Minuten Himmel (TV, Tatort)
2015 German History X –
The Perpetrators (TV)
2015 Solang ich nicht schieß (Dokumentarfilm)
2015 Me & Kaminski (Kino)
2014 Platonow (Theaterfilm)
2009 Lenz. (Theaterfilm)
2007 Head under Water (Kino)
2006 Maria am Wasser (Kino)
2005 Nimm dir dein Leben (Kino)
2001 Die Haftentlassung (Dokumentarfilm)
1999 Der Irre (Kino)
© Karoline Bofinger
Key Still JE SUIS KARL © Pandora Film
Jannis Niewoehner as Karl
Luna Wedler as Maxi Baier
Milan Peschel as Alex Baier
Key Still JE SUIS KARL © Sammy Hart
Jannis Niewöhner was born in 1992 in Krefeld, Germany. He first appeared on screen at the age of ten in a production of the TATORT (Crime Scene) television series. Further film and television roles followed, including the children's film DER SCHATZ DER WEISSEN FALKEN (The Treasure of the White Falcons, 2005), directed by Christian Zübert, and TKKG – DAS GEHEIMNIS DER MIND MACHINE (The Secret of the Mysterious Mind Machine, 2006), directed by Tomy Wiegand. He also appeared in Vivien Naefe's DIE WILDEN HÜHNER UND DIE LIEBE (Wild Chicks in Love, 2006).
Niewöhner's role in the young adult film SOMMER (Summer, 2008) was a box office hit, and he was nominated for the prestigious Austrian Undine Awards. In 2010 and 2011, he had parts in feature films like FRECHE MÄDCHEN 2 (Sassy Girls) and EIN TICK ANDERS (Alive and Ticking). Niewöhner went on to star in several episodes of the television series SOKO KÖLN (Cologne P.D.) and KOMMISSAR STOLBERG (Stolberg).
In 2012, he dazzled audiences with his superb performance of a deeply disturbed young man in EIN JAHR NACH MORGEN (transl. A Year After Tomorrow), directed by Aelrun Goette. Niewöhner played a wide range of roles, showcasing his strong screen presence and versatility: from ELTERN (Parents, 2013), in which he co-starred with Christiane Paul and Charly Hübner and Ute Wieland's BESSER ALS NIX (Better Than Nothing, 2014) to Marco Petry's comedy DOKTORSPIELE (Playing Doctor, 2014).
According to fans of Kerstin Gier's fantasy novels, Niewöhner was perfectly cast as Gideon de Villiers in the film adaptions of the bestsellers RUBINROT (Ruby Red, 2013), SAPHIRBLAU (Sapphire Blue, 2014) and SMARAGDGRÜN (Emerald Green, 2016). In 2014, he had roles in the international production A GIRL KING, directed by the Finnish Mika Kaurismäki, Markus Goller's film ALLES IST LIEBE (All Is Love) and VIER KÖNIGE (Four Kings). He had a significant part in OSTWIND 2 in 2015, and played the titular role in the feature film JONATHAN in 2016.
In the summer and fall of 2016, he starred as Maximilian I in MAXIMILIAN, directed by Andreas Prochaska and shot in Vienna and Prague. The German actor was named "European Shooting Star 2015" by the European Film Promotion at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale). In 2018, JUGEND OHNE GOTT (Godless Youth), an adaptation of Ödön von Horváth's novel directed by Swiss Alain Gsponer, showed in cinemas to high acclaim. Anika Decker's HIGH SOCIETY also premiered in the summer of 2018, providing Niewöhner with a platform to prove himself at home in comedic roles.
Niewöhner also appeared in international productions, including the second season of the U.S. series BERLIN STATION (2017) and ASPHALTGORILLAS, which premiered in 2018 and marked the first collaboration between Jannis Niewöhner and director Detlev Buck. In the summer of 2018, Niewöhner played Goldmund in an adaptation of Hermann Hesse's seminal novel, NARZISS UND GOLDMUND (Narcissus and Goldmund). He went on to play the lead in Barbara Ott's KIDS RUN, which premiered at the 2020 Berlinale. Later that same year, he appeared in Moritz Bleibtreu's directorial debut, CORTEX, as well as in the two-part mini-series DER ÜBERLÄUFER (The Turncoat), directed by Florian Gallenberger.
Luna Wedler was born in 1999 in Zurich. She was 14 when she attended her first casting and was promptly given the role of Milena in Niklaus Hilber's feature film AMATEUR TEENS (2015). In 2015, she played a part in Mike Schaerer's LINA LIEBT (Lina). A year later, Wedler began training at the European Film Actor School in Zurich, from which she graduated in 2018. During this time, she had roles in DER LÄUFER (Midnight Runner), directed by Hannes Baumgarten, in Peter Luis's FLITZER (Streaker), and in Lisa Brühlmann's BLUE MY MIND, marking Wedler's first lead role. BLUE MY MIND celebrated its premiere at the 2017 San Sebastián International Film Festival. It won the Golden Eye and the Critics' Choice Award at the Zurich Film Festival, among other prizes. The International Rome Film Festival selected BLUE MY MIND for the Best First Feature Award, and at the 39th Max Ophüls Prize Film Festival, it won the award for best directed film.
Welder shared the screen with Jürgen Vogel in the European series THE TEAM at the beginning of 2017. She also had a part in the television film ZWIESPALT (The Conflict), directed by Barbara Kulcsar, and in Lorenz Merz's feature film BEAST. The shooting for DAS SCHÖNSTE MÄDCHEN DER WELT (The Most Beautiful Girl in the World), directed by Aron Lehmann, followed in Berlin in the fall of 2017: Wedler played the lead role, Roxy. At the 2018 Berlinale, Wedler was nominated European Shooting Star by the European Film Promotion. In the same year, she also won Best Actress for the Swiss Film Award for her performance in BLUE MY MIND. The following year, Wedler co-starred with Jannik Schümann in Tim Trachte's feature film DEM HORIZONT SO NAH (Close to the Horizon, 2019), an adaptation of Jessica Koch's bestselling novel.
In 2019, Wedler had a role in Neele Leana Vollmar's film adaptation of AUERHAUS, Bov Bjerg's bestselling novel, as well as in THE STORY OF MY WIFE by Ildiko Enyedi. She also starred in the new Netflix thriller series BIOHACKERS, which was released in August 2020. Currently, Wedler is shooting for the second season of BIOHACKERS.
Born in 1968 in Berlin, Milan Peschel first trained as a theater carpenter at the Berlin State Opera and worked as a stage technician at the Volksbühne theater. He then went on to study drama at the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts. Following stints at the Hans-Otto Theater in Potsdam and the New Stage Senftenberg, he became an ensemble member of the Berlin's Volksbühne from 1997 to 2008, during which time he also worked on numerous television and cinema productions. These included Jo Baier's television film STAUFFENBERG – 20. JULI 1944 (Stauffenberg, 2004) and Robert Thalheim's tragicomedy NETTO (2005).
Peschel played the lead role, and was nominated Best Actor at the German Film Award. Peschel's cinematic breakthrough came in the form of Andreas Dresen's drama HALT AUF FREIER STRECKE (Stopped on Track, 2011). His stark and haunting performance of a family man dying of a brain tumor gained him both critical acclaim and two Best Actor awards the following year, at the Bavarian Film Awards and the German Film Award respectively.
After appearing in Matthias Schweighöfer's directorial debut, WHAT A MAN (2011), Peschel played a leading role in SCHLUSSMACHER (The Breakup Man, 2012), in which the despairing yet comedic Toto finds out through a separation agency that his relationship is over. Peschel continued to work under the direction of Schweighöfer in the years that followed, acting in films that included VATERFREUDEN (Joy of Fatherhood, 2014) and DER NANNY (The Manny, 2015). He also played in the gangster comedy NICHT MEIN TAG (Not My Day, 2013), directed by Peter Thorwarth, and IRRE SIND MÄNNLICH (Crazy People Are Men, 2014).
Working with the director Johannes Naber, Peschel appeared, among other productions, in the cinematic remake of the fairy tale classic DAS KALTE HERZ (Heart of Stone) as the spritely Glassman. Peschel also had a role in Feo Aladag's television film DER ANDERE – EINE FAMILIENGESCHICHTE (The Boy Who Wants to Live), which tells the moving story of a young refugee from Mali; in Philipp Stölzl's three-part series remake of WINNETOU, in which Peschel played the legendary old trapper Sam Hawkins; in Ferdinand Schirach's SCHULD (Guilt); and in Dörte Hansen's filmic adaptation of the novel ALTES LAND (Old Country).
Peschel went on to play TurTur, a man who appears as a giant only from afar, in Dennis Gansel's lavish film adaptation of the bestselling young adult novel JIM KNOPF UND LUKAS DER LOKOMOTIVFÜHRER (Jim Button and Luke the Engine Driver, 2018) and its sequel, JIM KNOPF UND DIE WILDE 13 (Jim Button and the Dragon of Wisdom, 2020).
In DER HAUPTMANN (The Captain), directed by Robert Schwenke, Peschel transported audiences to the final days of the Third Reich. He went on to play further lead roles in Til Schweiger's KLASSENTREFFEN (High School Reunion, 2018) and in DIE HOCHZEIT (The Wedding, 2020). Peschel has stayed true to his theater origins, supplementing his screen successes with stage appearances at the Volksbühne Berlin, the Maxim Gorki Theater, and the Thalia Theater in Hamburg.
In recent years, he has also made a name for himself as a director with productions like Tennessee Williams' "Die Glasmenagerie" (The Glass Menagerie), a production of "Sein oder nicht sein" (Hamlet) at the Maxim Gorki Theater, Sean O'Casey's "Juno und der Pfau" (Juno and the Paycock), Nis-Momme Stockmann's "Der Freund krank" (The Friend Sick) at the Deutsches Theater Berlin, and "Die Umsiedlerin" (The Evacuee) at the Mecklenburg State Theater.
CHRISTOPH FRIEDEL & CLAUDIA STEFFEN
Direction / Festival / Awards
PANDORA FILM was founded in 1981 and became soon a leading distribution company of international arthouse movies in Germany.
In 1997 PANDORA FILM PRODUKTION was founded as production division based in Cologne. The courage to also produce unusual cinema film projects has been rewarded during the last 40 years with numerous awards from all major film festivals, national and international film prizes. Our goal is to work continuously with directors and authors who seek to develop their own distinctive cinematic language
Today PANDORA FILM PRODUKTION presents itself as an independent production company with a catalogue of over 120 films. Our current latest releases.
JE SUIS KARL
Berlinale Special Gala
Toronto Competition, San Sebastian Horizontes
ALL MY LOVING
Sundance World Dramatic Competition, Berlinale Panorama
6x German Filmawards incl. Best Film
IN MY ROOM
Cannes Un Certain Regard, Toronto World Cinema
Toronto Gala, San Sebastian Competition
Locarno, San Sebastian Horizontes Award
Berlinale Competition / 2x Silver Bears
Key Still JE SUIS KARL © Tom Trambow
Je Suis Karl
Je Suis Karl
German, English, Czech, French
Countries of production:
Germany, Czech Republic
Pandora Film Produktion GmbH
Negativ Film Productions
in association with: Westdeutscher Rundfunk, ARD Degeto, Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg, ARTE
With the support of:
Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, Deutscher Filmförderfonds, Filmförderungsanstalt, Die Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, Státní Fond Kinematografie
Film poster JE SUIS KARL
Key Still JE SUIS KARL © Pandora Film
The Match Factory GmbH Domstrasse 60
50668 Cologne / Germany phone +49 221 539 709-0
THE MATCH FACTORY presents JE SUIS KARL a film production by PANDORA FILM PRODUKTION in co-production with NEGATIV FILM and WESTDEUTSCHER RUNDFUNK, ARD DEGETO, RUNDFUNK BERLIN-BRANDENBURG, ARTE supported by FILM UND MEDIENSTIFTUNG NRW, DEUTSCHER FILMFÖRDERFONDS, FILMFÖRDERUNGSANSTALT, DIE BEAUFTRAGTE DER BUNDESREGIERUNG FÜR KULTUR UND MEDIEN, MEDIENBOARD BERLIN-BRANDENBURG, STÁTNÍ FOND KINEMATOGRAFIE
with LUNA WEDLER, JANNIS NIEWÖHNER, MILAN PESCHEL, EDIN HASANOVIĆ, ANNA FIALOVÁ, FLEUR GEFFRIER, AZIZ DYAB, MARLON BOESS,
VICTOR BOCCARD, MÉLANIE FOUCHÉ, ELIZAVETA MAXIMOVÁ
make-up & hair ASTRID WEBER, HANNAH FISCHLEDER costumes FRAUKE FIRL production design TIM PANNEN casting ANJA DIHRBERG-SIEBLER music TOM HODGE, FLOEX original songs MAX RIEGER sound RAINER HEESCH, MARTIN JÍLEK, TOBIAS FLEIG, JAN ŠULCEK film editing JENS KLÜBER director of photography FRANK LAMM line producer FEE BUCK commissioning editors ANDREA HANKE (WDR), CLAUDIA GRÄSSEL (DEGETO), COOKY ZIESCHE (RBB), ANDREAS SCHREITMÜLLER (ARTE) co-producers PAVEL STRNAD, KATEŘINA ČERNÁ producers CHRISTOPH FRIEDEL, CLAUDIA STEFFEN writer THOMAS WENDRICH
director CHRISTIAN SCHWOCHOW
JE SUIS KARL © 2021 Pandora Film Produktion GmbH, Negativ s.r.o, Westdeutscher Rundfunk