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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Austria / Germany

Literary adaptation Ein Ganzes Leben finishes its first leg of shooting in East Tyrol

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- Adapted from the 2014 international bestseller by Robert Seethaler, the Austrian-German co-production takes a look at the meaning of a life well lived

Literary adaptation Ein Ganzes Leben finishes its first leg of shooting in East Tyrol
l-r: producer Skady Lis, director Hans Steinbichler, producer Tobias Alexander Seiffert, actor Stefan Gorski, producer Timm Oberwelland, actor August Zirner, and producers Dieter and Jakob Pochlatko on the set of Ein Ganzes Leben (© Nicole Giesa/TOBIS Film)

Director Hans Steinbichler has just finished the first ten-day leg of shooting for Ein Ganzes Leben (lit. “A Whole Life”) in Matrei, East Tyrol. After completion of the winter scenes, the production will be put on pause for the next few months, and will continue later this summer and autumn in East Tyrol, South Tyrol and Bavaria. The movie is an adaptation of the bestseller of the same name by Robert Seethaler. Published in 2014, it has sold 1.6 million copies in the German-speaking territories, has received numerous awards and has been translated into 40 languages.

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It follows young orphan Andreas Egger at the beginning of the 20th century, as he arrives in the mountain valley where he will spend most of his later life. His childhood and youth are marked by a loveless existence on his uncle’s mountain farm, where he is exploited as cheap labour. Later, he takes up a no-less-demanding job as a forest worker and meets the love of his life, Marie. Their happiness is not meant to last, though, as their lives will be shaped by violence, war and poverty.

Steinbichler (Winter Journey [+see also:
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, The Unheard Woman, The Diary of Anne Frank [+see also:
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, Das Boot season 3) is directing the movie based on a script by Ulrich Limmer (Schtonk!, Comedian Harmonists, The End Is My Beginning [+see also:
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, Fog in August [+see also:
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). Armin Franzen (Gladbeck, How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast) [+see also:
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, Das Boot season 3) is attached as the DoP.

Speaking about the scope of the source material, director Steinbichler states, “It is a parable about the essentials in our life – love and contentment – and thus holds up a mirror to our restless meritocracy.” Scriptwriter Limmer adds that it is a story “that offers its readers a simple but crucial reflection. You think about your own life plan and ask yourself whether, when the time comes, you will also be able to look back and say that it was a good life.”

The main character of Andreas Egger will be played throughout his lifetime by four different actors. Newcomer Stefan Gorski is taking over from age 17 to his mid-40s. Steinbichler praises the young thespian, calling him “the face of this film” and adding that he “embodies the peculiarity of a cinematic character that I feel has never been portrayed in this way”. The older Egger will be played by US-Austrian actor August Zirner, while Ivan Gustafik will take on the role of Egger as an eight-year-old boy.

Further cast members are Andreas Lust, Julia Franz Richter, Maria Hofstätter, Thomas Schubert, Marianne Sägebrecht and Robert Stadlober. The movie is a production by Austria’s epo-film produktionsgesellschaft mbh Wien (Jakob Pochlatko and Dieter Pochlatko) and Germany’s TOBIS Filmproduktion München GmbH (Timm Oberwelland, Theo Gringel, Tobias Alexander Seiffert and Skady Lis). Ein Ganzes Leben is being funded by the FFF Bayern, the DFFF and the FFA, as well as by the ÖFI, ORF, FISA, CineTirol and IDM Südtirol.

The theatrical release is planned for 2023. The movie will be distributed by TOBIS Film in Germany and by Constantin Film in Austria.

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