Jörg Bundschuh • Producer, Kick Film
Fascination for the diversity of the human condition
Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, Munich-based production house Kick Film has always remained true over the years to a desire of “retaining a curiosity about the reality of our lives and presenting this reality in all of its unexpected aspects,” as founder Jörg Bundschuh puts it.
Over these past 30 years, Kick Films had made some 200 films and made a particular name for itself with its documentary portraits. Another mainstay is the epic feature documentary, ranging from docu-dramas and reality comedy to historical subjects and long-running studies and observations projects.
In addition, the company has made the occasional foray into feature film, either films directed by Bundschuh himself as Bavaria Blue or by other directors. Kick Film’s latest English-speaking feature is Maria Blumencron’s Escape from Tibet which wrapped principal photography in a Bavarian studio last December.
Escape from Tibet tells the story of the young German medical student Johanna (played by Hannah Herzsprung) who is confronted with the fate of Tibetan refugee children during a journey through the Himalayas. After meeting the activist Meto, she decides to help smuggle the refuges across the 6,000 meter high mountain passes into India– and freedom. But the Chinese police discover the smugglers’ hiding place and Johanna is faced with an adventure that changes her life.
Bundschuh worked on this project with Markus Fischer of Zurich-based Snakefilm who had previously been a production partner on such films as the thriller Night On Fire, and documentary Memory Books.
“For the snow parts of the movie we found landscapes in Switzerland which could double for the Himalaya after doing most of the shooting in Ladakh/Northern India for Tibet,” Bundschuh explains. “There is also a large Tibetan community in Switzerland where we could find extras and people for supporting roles,” he adds. “And the interiors were shot in a studio outside of Munich in December.”
International sales will be handled by TELEPOOL, theatrical distribution in Germany by Prokino while Filmcoopi will release the finished film in Switzerland.
Bundschuh stresses that he wants to “keep switching between documentaries and feature films” in the future, but is open to becoming involved in more feature film projects.
While Bundschuh has moved effortlessly between the roles of producer and director – some of his most recent projects with the director’s hat on were music documentaries on John Lee Hooker, JJ Cale and Klaus Voormann. He explains how he sees his function as a producer: “I am not just one who is there to collect the money, I like to be more involved on the creative side. In most cases, we develop our own projects and later on I am a partner for the director to discuss his or her vision. This kind of dialogue gives me a lot of fun and each film is like one’s own child.”
“Each director is different – sometimes the relationship is very close, sometimes less so – and there are some filmmakers with whom I have collaborated on many films, such as Georg Stefan Troller on 15 projects. But there have also been many young directors with their first or second films.”
“The subject of a film is always the most important thing for me,” Bundschuh says. “I have to be infected by the subject matter to then want to see such an idea realized.”
“I have always been fascinated by working in this industry because it enables you to live several lives in one life,” he concludes. “The experience can be such an intensive one as you immerse yourself in foreign realities and see the whole panorama of human life.”
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.