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Gerd Haag • Producer

What a day for a dream day

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- Gerd Haag • Producer What a day for a dream day

Gerd Haag • Producer

Gerd Haag and his company Tag/Traum Filmproduktion have been producing feature and documentary films for over 25 years. "The company's name has to do with both spheres of filmmaking – the day-to-day and dreams," is how Gerd Haag explains the choice of the name Tag/Traum for the Cologne-based production company he established at the end of the 1970s with Thomas Schmitt. "This refers to a quote by Ernst Bloch where he says that it is in one's daydreams that the relationship of reality to the soul is at its most immediate because you don't have any control there anymore."

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Haag and Schmitt had worked for the public broadcaster WDR in Cologne in the 1970s. However, when the station indicated that it wanted to put them on the pay roll as salaried staff, they decided instead to take the plunge and set up shop with their own production company. Both partners were writer-directors, with Schmitt (who left the company in 2004) continuing later to work as a director on documentary portraits, in particular, long after Haag had decided to concentrate his energies on producing at the company.

Haag sees himself very much though in the role of a creative producer when working with directors: "That's what I like most of all, to develop projects and bring creative team members together to work on a regular basis. I like concentrating my work on young directors and their first feature films: this is a special challenge for me because, in the debut films of young directors, one is often presented with very personal subjects and the talent is also clearly visible, but often not yet polished. However, the challenge of looking at life in this world with cinematic means is always intensive and that actually stimulates my own view of filmmaking."

Over the years, Tag/Traum has achieved an eclectic production mix of feature films, feature documentaries and other formats for television: "Our capacity at the company allows us to handle 1-2 feature films a year – but, as a rule, it is one production –, while we will work on 2-3 documentaries that have potential for the cinema, and the rest – 10-15 projects – are programs for television on cultural and historical topics and current affairs," Haag notes.

Tag/Traum has also served as the German partner for international co-productions such as the Leidulv Risan's The Sunset Boys, the documentaries In The Mirror of Maya Deren by Martina Kudlacek and Forget Baghdad by Samir. But the company has also kept a look out foreign partners to board its own in-house projects. "It has mainly been in the German-speaking area, although I have also worked with Canada, Italy, Scandinavia, France, Benelux and now Lithuania," Haag comments. "I would like to do more, but I know that you don't build up a relationship through just one project, you have to do a couple of projects together before you have that trust."

A fruitful working relationship has now developed, for example, between Tag/Traum and the Austrian production house Fischer Film. Markus Fischer was a partner for Haag on Iain Dilthey's Locarno competition film Prisoners and attracted backing from the Austrian RTR Television Fund for the project which was partly shot at locations in Vienna.

Haag expects that next year will be largely taken up with this project which is described in its promotional material as "a glossy history format of international caliber...consisting of documentary and re-enacted parts", but hopes that production might also begin in 2007 on Iain Dilthey's next feature project, Meeresrand, an adaptation of the French novel "Bord de mer" by Véronique Olmi. A decision has not yet been made as to whether the film might be shot predominantly with French actors, but a start was made by attracting interest from a French production partner – Dominique Crevecoeur of Bandoneon – after Haag pitched the project at last year's Rendez-vous franco-allemands du cinéma in Cologne.

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