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André Erkau explores the dark side of a deal in Happy Burnout


- The German director is currently shooting his new tragicomedy in Hamburg, Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia

André Erkau explores the dark side of a deal in Happy Burnout
l-r: Writer Gernot Gricksch, producer Michael Eckelt, director André Erkau and DoP Ngo The Chau (© Philip Berstermann)

German director André Erkau (Life Is Not a Piece of Cake [+see also:
film profile
) is shooting his new tragicomedy, Happy Burnout, for which he has teamed up once again with scriptwriter Gernot Gricksch (Robert Zimmermann Is Tangled up in Love), actor Wotan Wilke Möhring (The Experiment, Who Am I – No System Is Safe [+see also:
interview: Baran bo Odar
film profile
) and Michael Eckelt (Lemon Tree [+see also:
film profile
, Eyes Wide Open [+see also:
film profile
), of Hamburg-based production outfit Riva Film. “We are telling a different story, but it has the same spirit,” says the producer. Happy Burnout is about failure as well as minor and major tragedies in everyday life.

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A punk, dropout and hedonist knows all the tricks in order to live off unemployment benefits. But one day, the official responsible for him needs to prove that her efforts have had an effect. Since the charismatic client doesn’t seem to want to take any job, she issues him with a certificate that says he is not able to work because of a burnout. The dark side of the deal is that he has to undergo therapy in a clinic, where he meets people with all kinds of problems such as victims of attempted suicide, an irascible entertainer and a stressed-out mother. It’s not long until he drives the nurse nuts with his unconventional attitude. The cast of this ensemble film includes TV entertainer Anke Engelke, Michael Wittenborn, Kostja Ullmann, Julia Koschitz and Torben Liebrecht.

Thanks to the success of Life Is Not a Piece of Cake, which drew in more than 300,000 cinemagoers in Germany, Erkau’s new movie got financed quickly. “We received some very positive feedback for the script,” reports the producer, who secured backing from the Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein, nordmedia, Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, the FFA and the DFFF. The shooting of Happy Burnout is taking place in Hamburg, Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia until the beginning of July. 

NFP Marketing and Distribution is handling the theatrical distribution, while Warner Bros has acquired the German free-TV rights.

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