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Ulrich Limmer • Producer, Collina Filmproduktion

A portrait of Collina Filmproduktion


“It had always been a secret desire to set up my own company and I thought about it long and hard,” recalls producer Ulrich Limmer about his decision to establish his Munich-based production company Collina Filmproduktion in 2002. Limmer had known from his time as a student at Munich’s University of Television and Film that he wanted to make a career in production while at the same time working as a writer of screenplays for TV and cinema.

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After handling productions at university after his graduation, Limmer then worked for Bavaria Film, finally becoming head producer for the cinema division and managing director of Bavaria Verleih und Produktions GmbH before being appointed as the head of Kinowelt Filmproduktion in 1997. “When the Neuer Markt started to fall apart, I took this chance to leave Kinowelt and set up my own,” Limmers continues. “I am glad that I took this step and have never regretted it for a second”.

He explains he never wanted to restrict himself only to producing films of certain genres. “My first film was Schtonk! and then I was constantly getting offered satires on society. That also happened when I started making family films like The Slurb – I was just offered family entertainment,” he recalls. “But now I am producing other kinds of films, such as Doris Doerrie’s The Hairdresser [+see also:
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or Jo Baier’s The End Is My Beginning. The common link, if you will, from all these films is my passion for the respective project. They are very different from one another, and that has a lot to do with the fact that I like Exploring news areas – otherwise one is in danger of slipping into a routine.”

After producing three films last year – The Hairdresser, Cheeky Girls 2 and The End is My Beginning (which he also co-wrote) – Limmer is planning to spend this year concentrating on his writing before embarking on the next production, Caius om altem Rom in 2011. Adapted by Limmer and Rochus Hahn from German-American writer Henry Winterfield’s trilogy about a group of children’s adventures in ancient Rome, the family film will be directed by Tobi Baumann.

“One of the biggest projects I have in development is The Champagne Spy, which can only be made in English because it is set in Egypt in the 1960s,” Limmer says. “I am in concrete talks with an American author to write the screenplay and could imagine having either an English or American director.” The Champagne Spy is based on the life of the agent Wolfgang Lotz, whose book of the same name provided the inspiration for a successful documentary by Nadav Shirman from 2007.

Meanwhile, Limmer is particularly proud of the adaptation of Tiziano Terzani’s bestseller The End is My Beginning, which he co-wrote with Folco Terzani. He produced the film with Baier as director and a cast including Bruno Ganz, Elio Germano, Erika Pluhar and Andrea Osvart in Northern Tuscany last autumn.

“It was a big risk to make this film,” he recalls, “because it is actually more of a chamber piece and almost a monologue. But it has become a very emotional film and encourages me to continue thinking in this direction and try doing things for the cinema where one leave the beaten track for a change.”

Meanwhile, Limmer points out that his company’s name refers to his second home in Italy: “I have a house there in the hill – hence the name ‘collina’ – and, in this way, I can always be reminded of one of the most wonderful places in the world. What’s more, I think the name has a nice ring to it. However I don’t understand much about football, so it is definitely not referring to the Italian referee!”

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