Ingelore König • Producer, Grown Up Films
"Why should a female director not make a zombie film?"
- German Films chatted with Ingelore König, producer for Grown Up Films, to discuss her latest works, Paula and Ever After, and her upcoming projects
“The film Paula [+see also:
film profile] was the reason that I decided to set up the new label of Grown Up Films in 2012,” recalls producer Ingelore König who had already been heading up Erfurt-based Kinderfilm since 2000. “I had been developing a biopic about the feminist artist Paula Modersohn-Becker since 2008 and we had reached the stage where we had a convincing screenplay by Stefan Kolditz and Stephan Suschke that was being dramaturgically supervised by Cooky Ziesche, and we were now beginning to look for a director and partners for the financing. It made sense to have a separate label because when you have been running a company with a name like Kinderfilm, everyone assumes that you only produce children’s films,” König explains.
“We had a whole list of names for the label, but we felt most comfortable with Grown Up Films,” she continues. “I liked the fact that the name was open to several interpretations: Kinderfilm has come of age, the stories that it will now tell are more grown up, and it will grow beyond itself.”
König, who was born in the former GDR and studied Philosophy at Berlin’s Humboldt University, first learned about Paula Modersohn-Becker after reading a biography. “Christian Schwochow proved to be exactly the right person to direct the film,” König recalls. “It was also thanks to Christian that our co-production with Claudia Steffen and Christoph Friedel of Pandora came about. Their standing meant that the film could be financed and realized in this quality.”
Strong women have also been at the center of Grown Up Films’ second feature project Ever After [+see also:
interview: Carolina Hellsgård
film profile] by Swedish-born Carolina Hellsgård. Based on the successful graphic novel by Olivia Vieweg who also wrote the screenplay, the action in the film is set two years after zombies have overrun the Earth, when the German towns of Weimar and Jena are probably the only remaining places of human civilization thanks to a protective fence.
“Ever After is, in many respects, an experiment. It is extremely difficult for German genre in the market. For the most part, the narrative style is dominated by men. And that’s something we wanted to do differently because Olivia’s screenplay made it possible: showing three magnificent female lead characters whose conversations were, for once, not about men. And we wanted to give a chance to an up-and-coming director. I have been involved in the ProQuote campaign for more gender equality in the film industry and looking to give more weight to women in the various crafts as far as the stories being told are concerned,” she explains. “The market tends to want to compartmentalize people, but I am for diversity, so why should a female director like Carolina Hellsgård not make a zombie film?” And so all of the key creative positions are taken by women: the three lead actresses Gro Swantje Kohlhof, Maja Lehrer and Trine Dyrholm, the director, screenwriter, cinematographer, casting director, production designer, make-up, costume designer, score composer, editor and producer.
Looking to its future projects now in development, the company appears to be holding true to its focus on strong women as protagonists. One project that König has been pursuing since 2008 will introduce cinemagoers to the eventful life of one of Germany’s best-known modern dancers and teachers, Gret Palucca, (1902-1993) who was a pupil of the famous choreographer Mary Wigman in the early 1920s before founding her own dance school in Dresden in 1925.
At the same time, König doesn’t want to restrict herself to working on particular film genres. That may have something to do with her personal background growing up in the former GDR. “Once my parents gave me the present of a book club membership and I was an avid reader,” she recalls. “I was a big fan of science fiction and also read stories taken from real life. Perhaps that influenced me to the point where I now don’t want to tie myself down to specific genres.”
Similarly, Grown Up Films won’t be working exclusively for the theatrical market: “We already tried our hand at a web series,” König notes, “and, of course, we have a lot of experience of working with television on TV movies based on classic fairytales which we have made at Kinderfilm.”
“The label of Grown Up Films also sees us showing a commitment to the young audiences that are no longer children, but haven’t yet arrived in the world of adults. Eine Saublöde Idee is a story for young people that the writing team of Anja Kömmerling and Thomas Brinx have developed with us based on a true event of three A-level students from Munich who walk from Munich to Berlin after a stupid drunken night through the Bavarian and Saxon country side.” Brinx and Kömmerling have collaborated with König on more than a dozen films and series for children: “We have grown along with each other, we trust each other and try out more and more new things – just what it means becoming grown up…”
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