Felix von Boehm • Producer, Lupa Film
“The people we work with also have something in common - they are highly original artists"
by Martin Blaney (German Films)
- German Films met up with producer Felix von Boehm of Lupa Film to understand better his approach to the profession
Working together with international filmmakers has always had a high priority for Felix von Boehm since establishing his production company Lupa Film in Berlin in 2012.
“I’ve always found it extremely refreshing to get out of Germany and travel to festivals abroad to meet and talk with colleagues from France, England, Greece or Israel because the views from abroad about a project are always really different from what you hear at home. This starts with the sense of humour where the French are quite different from the Germans, and then there are subjects you can’t tackle in Germany.”
A case in point is the project Miss Holocaust Survivor, co-written by Donna Sharpe and Raquel Stern, which received script funding from the German Federal Film Board (FFA) last autumn. “You can’t produce the story about a beauty contest of Holocaust survivors without Israel!,” says von Boehm, who is now on the search for an Israeli partner to come onboard the project. “Similarly, the financing wouldn’t have been closed on The Audition [+see also:
interview: Ina Weisse
interview: Ina Weisse
film profile] by Ina Weisse if we hadn’t had the French partner – it wouldn’t be possible to do such a project out of Germany on itself,” he argues.
“The other common thread running through our work at Lupa Film is the focus on socially relevant topics,” von Boehm continues. “These can be both in the past like Dominik Graf’s Fabian, which addresses issues that are just as relevant for the present day even though the story is set in 1931.” And then there are projects which are both international and have a topical relevance such as Karim Aïnouz’s documentary Central Airport THF [+see also:
interview: Karim Aïnouz
film profile] which premiered at the Berlinale’s Panorama last year or the six-part Eden miniseries which was directed by Dominik Moll from an original idea by Felix Randau and Jano Ben Chaabane, and aired by ARTE this past May.
“The people we work with also have something in common,” he suggests: “they are highly original artists, each with their very own individual style and agenda.” Moreover, Lupa Film’s portfolio is not restricted to one particular format: there are documentaries sitting alongside very different feature films such as Queen of Niendorf [+see also:
film profile] by Joya Thome and Liberté [+see also:
film profile] by Albert Serra.
“I think that subject matter finds its particular form and this is something you then have to work on with the director,” von Boehm says. “I always try to make films myself every now and then because it’s something that gives me real pleasure,” he explains. “But, of course, there isn’t much time for this in my producer’s day-to-day schedule, although I am currently working with Constantin Lieb on a film about provenance research, looking at how the Nazis robbed Jewish art collectors and how their works are now being restituted.”
In its short existence, Lupa Film has started building up its own “film family” because, as von Boehm stresses, “I like working on the basis of mutual trust and am interested in relationships of a long-term nature.” This has seen him working with Ina Weisse twice, with Dominik Graf three times (with an upcoming fourth one, this time in a series project) and preparing a second project with Karim Aïnouz, while the company is also lined up as a partner for French actor Mathieu Amalric’s eighth feature film as director, Serre moins fort.
“A particular characteristic of Lupa Film is that we take our time with developing the screenplays until they are fully developed,” von Boehm says. “For example, we spent four years on developing Fabian and three years on Eden.” We produce quite a lot given the company’s size and the fact that we only have four full-time staff, but we don’t want to grow any bigger,” he observes.
Looking to the future development of Lupa Film, von Boehm suggests that the company will focus on a two-track strategy of producing 1-2 of its own films and serving as a German minority co-producer on one other film each year. “We are independent and would like to remain that way,” he stresses. “Indeed, I think that you can even see the independent element in such a primetime series as Eden, and we want to use this position to build a bridge for other independents to the financing system and other film distributors.”
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