Cult children’s series Spuk unterm Riesenrad gets a modern remake
by Teresa Vena
- The German TV show from the 1970s, produced in the former GDR, is being reshot with a new team both in front of and behind the camera, with Thomas Stuber directing
Spuk unterm Riesenrad (lit. “Haunting under the Ferris Wheel”) was a television series for children and young audiences that was broadcast in East Germany, starting in 1979. Now, more than 40 years later, the public television stations MDR and ZDF, as well as the children's channel KiKA, have joined forces to revive the adventures conceived by authors Günter Meyer and Claus-Ulrich Wiesner. Working from a revised script penned by writing duo Thomas Brinx and Anja Kömmerling (aka the Köbris), German director Thomas Stuber (In the Aisles [+see also:
interview: Franz Rogowski
interview: Thomas Stuber
film profile]) has turned the stories into a feature film.
“It has all the ingredients that make a successful family film. That's why I am very pleased that we are bringing this exciting story about three likeable children and three imaginative fairy-tale characters into the present day, making it accessible to the KiKA generation, and strengthening the cultural and creative industries in and from central Germany,” says KiKA programme director Dr Astrid Plenk.
The story of Spuk unterm Riesenrad revolves around an old amusement park that is on the verge of bankruptcy after its owner, Old Jackel, dies. His heirs, his two daughters and his grandchildren, do not get along well. Nevertheless, they are forced to do so in order to figure out what to do with the park. Strange things then begin to happen: during a thunderstorm, characters from the ghost train come to life and reveal themselves to the grandchildren. One of the most famous actors on the bill is Peter Kurth (In the Aisles), who plays the old man Jackel.
Filming took place from mid-October to mid-November 2022 in Bernburg, in the region of Saxony-Anhalt. The film is now in post-production and is scheduled to be ready by the end of September, with a cinema release planned for October this year. The feature is a production by Mideu Films GmbH, based in Erfurt, in co-production with MDR and ZDF, with funding secured from the Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung and the Deutscher Filmförderfond.
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