Jochen Laube • Producer, teamWorx
A free hand and great passion
- German producer Jochen Laube is preparing a film set in Genoa in 2001, during the demonstrations at the G8 summit
There’s evidently no place like home, as far as producer Jochen Laube is concerned.
Born and bred in the town of Ludwigsburg near Stuttgart, he stayed there to study Production at the Baden-Württemberg Film Academy and graduated with his production of Neele Leana Vollmar’s Vacation from Life which won the 2006 Studio Hamburg Newcomers’ Award in the category of Best Feature Film.
In the meantime, he had started a family which was another reason not to move away to one of the bigger film centers in Germany like Berlin, Munich or Cologne, and thus stay in Ludwigsburg to set up his own production company Sommerhaus Filmproduktion. Laube had considerable success with the films coming out of his fledgling outfit, but the lot of a freelance producer is nevertheless not an easy one, as he soon realized.
Thus, an offer from Nico Hofmann of teamWorx couldn’t have come at a better time. Laube recalls: “Nico knew me from the Film Academy and liked my films, and he also knew that I was someone who wasn’t planning to move away from the area, so he asked if I would be interested in taking over the running of the teamWorx office in Ludwigsburg. The most important thing for me was to have my freedom in this new function and that’s what Nico wanted to ensure as well. I have 100% support from him on the projects I do,” he continues.
Being located just 400 meters away from the Film Academy campus, the Ludwigsburg teamWorx office is a natural port of call for talented film students looking for a producer to handle their graduation film. “This can progress to their debut feature and later a TV film. We want to grow from the debuts more into the area of arthouse films,” Laube notes.
An example of this development is Christian Schwochow, whose graduation film November Child had been produced by Laube. Last year, they followed this with his feature debut Cracks in the Shell which was selected for the International Competition in Karlovy Vary in July. And the mother company of teamWorx has now hired the young director for a prime-time TV series, Der Turm, based on the epic novel by Uwe Tellkamp, to go into production later this year.
Laube is aiming to have a mixture of new talents and established names as directors for his slate of productions at teamWorx in Ludwigsburg. He is currently working on two feature debuts by Film Academy students. Papakind, the debut of Sarah Judith Mettke and 5 Jahre, directed by Stefan Schaller, which deals with the true story of Murat Kurnaz, a young Turkish-German man who was detained for five years in the camp at Guantanamo despite being innocent.
Apart from this, he is developing a new project with Florian Cossen with whom he produced the critically acclaimed first feature The Day I Was Not Born last year, and he is planning new feature film projects with such established directors as Andreas Dresen and Philip Gröning. At the same time, he has also been given a free hand by Nico Hofmann to pursue his “great passion” of producing documentaries.
The teamWorx outpost has also tried its hand at developing new formats with the production of the Dina Foxx series for public broadcaster ZDF. “This was the first time that an interactive production had been made for ZDF: a detective film which stops after 60 minutes and the audience then has to decide in the Internet who committed the crime,” Laube observes. “The show was very successful on ZDF as well as in the online version. In fact, it went down so well that ZDF’s server crashed on the first night!”
While the company will naturally continue producing projects and stories that are specifically set in and about Germany, Laube is nevertheless interested in becoming more international in the future.
A step in this direction for a more European dimension had already been taken last year with Christian Schwochow’s new film Cracks In The Shell, which cast the lead role with the Danish actress Stine Fischer Christensen, known to international audiences from such films as Susanne Bier’s After The Wedding [+see also:
interview: Sisse Graum Jørgensen
interview: Susanne Bier
Meanwhile, international partners are likely to be needed for the Philip Gröning feature project Laube has in development. The story is set in Genua during the demonstrations at the G8 summit when one of the demonstrators was tragically killed by the police and the seeds of the ATTAC movement were sown.
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