Film producer simon happ: “kronach was a winner of the lottery!”

Film producer simon happ: 'kronach was a winner of the lottery!'

How he would describe his job in one sentence? "I am to blame, says simon happ and lets out a short loud laugh. During the shooting, which began two weeks ago at the fortress rosenberg and ended on friday (26. October 2018) end up in the upper town, the 57-year-old acts as a so-called "executive producer" for the film production company pantaleon films. Often referred to in german as the exporting producer.

But "executive" would probably be more accurate with "geschaftsfuhrend to translate. Or even more simplified: contact person for everything. "I represent pantaleon in the project and try to be a good dad to my film children", he explains. Whereby the children can also be clearly older. "These are all. Whether they are four years old or 70. Whether crew or actors – they are all forcibly adopted for the filming work."

The shooting is almost finished. How would you sum up your time in kronach so far??

Simon happ: kronach was our six in the lottery! In every respect. It’s a great place to shoot film. The welcome is friendly, the routes are short and clear, and all our locations are close together. This is a dream for a film crew. Just that we are met with such hospitality.

It sounds as if this is not the case everywhere.

There are metropolises in the world that are not exactly happy when the film people arrive. We are housed here in seven or eight hotels and annoy the poor citizens of kronach with our car parks and roadblocks. When we arrive with our caravan, the residents sometimes don’t have their regular parking space for a week or more. Here in kronach about some residents of the upper town. We are also very sorry that such restrictions exist. We film people are exhausting, we are aware of that. But the people of kronach have been very nice and open. I can only thank everyone.

How did you find out about kronach in the first place??

In the end it is relatively undramatic. In the early stages of a production, you look at a lot of photos, talk to colleagues and production designers. Then someone comes along and says, "have you heard this before??" Then the troop sets off and looks at the place.

Who all belongs to the "troupe"?? How do you imagine the first preparations??

For location visits, we gather the director, the cameraman, the production designer, we look at the location and we think about whether it could work and what exactly could be filmed there. For this you visit a lot of places. When you have fallen in love with a place, you come back with the whole gang to make a so-called technical inspection of the scene. It’s already decided where the lights will go, how certain technical details will be solved, and how much of the motif will be visible at all.

Apparently they then "fell in love" with kronach. What was the deciding factor?

We looked at a lot of cities and possibilities, but kronach was the aforementioned six in the lottery right from the start. Our film takes place between 1938 and 1942 in various towns and cities in france.

Since we were looking for motifs, which we found mainly in strabourg and limoges (french town in the northwestern central massif, anm. D. Red.) and it fits here architecturally with the fortress and the upper city just great. Not only are these great locations, they are also logistically close to each other. This is a dream for us.

Also interesting: this is how kronach’s upper city presents itself to the cinema camera

In addition, the overall logistics fit well, because we also shot in prague and liberec. And it’s not that far to furth, nurnberg and munich, where we’ll be shooting in the coming weeks.

The redesign of some of the facades in the upper town already gave an idea of what was going to be filmed there. The fortress, on the other hand, was completely closed off. What exactly did you film there??

Everything we shot there is set in a castle – blob in the france of the time. Our story is a little bit about the resistance and, among others, marcel marceau (played by jesse eisenberg, anm. D. Editorial staff) saved a lot of jewish children from the national socialists. Some of them were hidden and accommodated in the castle.

This explains why they were looking for child extras from the region in advance.

Exactly, we have a core group of actors and actresses that travels with us. We supplemented them with about 80 wonderful children from the region. But now they were also needed for the filming in the upper town.

What a logistical challenge it is when the team also includes a permanent cast of underage actors who travel from location to location?

That is already auendig. They have to be looked after and cared for day and night. It’s not just about them having to get into costume and makeup. The costumes all have to be tried on and changed beforehand, the hairstyles have to be done. And last but not least, the children are all taught and given pedagogical support.

How big is the team with which you traveled to kronach??

There are between 200 and 250 people – who of course all have to sleep somewhere, eat something or go to the bathroom. That’s a lot of logistical effort. And then there are the locations and motifs that have to be prepared. This is a rough puzzle that we are trying to put together.

How much lead time does it take to have the motifs ready for filming there??

The first team members traveled to kronach two or three weeks before filming began. First of all, there were the construction boys who, for example, made doors and windows or some kind of clapboard. Then, little by little, come the set-dressers, the painters and the carpenters.

The main difference to the shooting on the fortress was that the upper town is inhabited.

So we did almost all the interior shots in the fortress. There were many motifs. In the upper town we have furnished the empty store opposite the sharp corner. This will be in the film to a kosher butcher shop. In the immediate neighborhood we have rented interiors, which we have also equipped so that they fit into the 1940s.

Read here how the filming took place at rosenberg fortress

But of course we also approach the residents and ask if we can put a certain lamp in their window. We also rent rooms where the actors, extras or other team members can stay.

Now it has rained several times in the past few days. How satisfied were you with the clean conditions??

Nevertheless, we have been lucky with the weather so far. Of course we try to keep sufficient flexibility. If a really nasty rainy day is announced, we try to shoot so that we can switch to an indoor motif. It doesn’t always work out, but we can’t really complain about the weather.

Actors have told how they like kronach?

We are a motley crew, after all. The team and cast are very international. We have a lot of latin americans, british, americans or french people. They first find it quite charming, interesting and exciting.

This is what the film will be about

Background: when war breaks out in france in 1940 and the country is invaded by the national socialists, the jewish family mangel is forced to flee. Two years later, the two sons marcel and simon join a group of the french resistance movement against the german occupation. In the underground the young marcel first passe. For others persecuted and also for themselves. In order not to attract attention, he gives himself the name marceau, which is inconspicuous in france, and which he keeps as a memory after the end of the war and under which he performs as the pantomime "bip" will be based.

Content: in the historical drama, director and writer jonathan jakubowicz ("hands of stone") will not only shed light on how marceau came into contact with the resistance, but also how he, together with resistance fighter emma, brought thousands of jewish orphans from france to switzerland and thus saved them from the nazis.

Main actor: the young marcel marceau is played by the american actor jesse eisenberg ("the social network"). Matthias schweighofer ("keinohrhasen") has taken on the second lead role of the antagonist and plays the notorious SS commander klaus barbie, who is also known as the "butcher of lyon" was known. Adolf hitler had given him the task of crushing the french resistance. Theatrical release: it will be some time before the film is shown in cinemas. The plan so far is to have 24. October 2019.

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