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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Germany

Shooting for Carolina Hellsgård’s The Flying Classroom has ended

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- The big-screen adaptation of Erich Kästner’s best-selling children’s book stars acclaimed German actors, such as Tom Schilling and Hanna Herzsprung

Shooting for Carolina Hellsgård’s The Flying Classroom has ended
l-r: Trystan Pütter, Leander Schumann, Franka Roche, Holly Schiek, Tom Schilling, Aaron Sansi, Hannah Herzsprung, Morten Völlger, Wanja Valentin Kube, Lovena Börschmann Ziegler and Leni Deschner on the set of The Flying Classroom (© Leonine Studios/UFA Fiction/Stephanie Kulbach)

German author Erich Kästner wrote his children’s novel The Flying Classroom in 1933, and it is a work that has proven very successful over the decades. Several film adaptations, all German productions, have been made so far. The first one was made in 1954 by Kurt Hoffmann and is supposed to be the most accurate to date. In it, Kästner appears as himself and plays the role of the narrator. The second film, by Werner Jacobs, is from 1973, two years before the death of the author, and featured changes to some of the main plot lines. Even bigger changes were made in the third adaptation, 2003’s The Flying Classroom, helmed by Tomy Wigand.

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Carolina Hellsgård (Sunburned, Ever After [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Carolina Hellsgård
film profile
]
, Wanja [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
) is a Swedish director who lives in Berlin. She has already made several feature films, all showing an interest in coming-of-age topics. The German auteur wrote the script of this new adaptation of The Flying Classroom, and has added a contemporary point of view to the story. Shooting took place in Berlin this summer as well as in South Tyrol in the autumn.

The film concentrates on topics such as friendship and growing up. The protagonists are four friends from different backgrounds and origins, who meet at a boarding school in the Alps. It is in this school that the main battlefronts are drawn up: on one hand, there are the kids who have come from the cities, while on the other, there are those from the local village. For years, they haven’t ever mixed, and not even the passionate and committed teachers can change the situation. Teenager Martina, from Berlin, gets caught up in the middle of a quarrel. Even though she tries not to get involved, at some point, she has to take sides. And there is also a theatre play to mark the end of the school year that has to be organised, and which risks being doomed to failure if the students don't learn to work together.

As for the adult characters, some of the main roles are played by Tom Schilling (Fabian – Going to the Dogs [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Albrecht Schuch
film profile
]
, Lara [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: GoCritic! Interview: Jan-Ol…
interview: Jan Ole Gerster
film profile
]
), Trystan Pütter (JGA: Jasmin. Gina. Anna., Into the Beat) and Hanna Herzsprung (Wolke unterm Dach, Monte Verità [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Stefan Jäger
film profile
]
). They are supported by a series of up-and-coming talents, such as Leni Deschner (Raspberries with Mustard [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
), Lovena Börschmann Ziegler, Morten Völlger, Franka Roche, Wanja Valentin Kube (Human Factors [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ronny Trocker
film profile
]
), Holly Schiek, Aaron Sansi and Leander Schumann.

The film is a production by Germany’s UFA Fiction, in co-production with Leonine Studios. Funding has been granted by the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, the IDM Film Commission Südtirol, the Filmförderungsanstalt (FFA) and the Deutschen Filmförderfonds (DFFF). Leonine Studios is in charge of the distribution of the movie.

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