English / French Movies

André on the set of "One Deep Breath" with Manuel Blanc and director Antony Hickling. Photo © by Lucile Adam.

André on the set of “One Deep Breath” with Manuel Blanc and director Antony Hickling. Photo © by Lucile Adam.

How did it happen? I have no idea, actually. I did, however, spend a lot of time in Great Britain and Ireland, so it wasnt too unlikely that I wrote my first screenplay, Deed Poll, in English. First, we even wanted to shoot the film in London, but when my personal life interfered and production was delayed, we eventually had to reschedule and recast and finally wound up filming in Potsdam. I did not rewrite the script, though, so we filmed Deed Poll entirely in English. It felt natural at the time, and it somehow contributed nicely to the awkward atmosphere of the picture (which still is my personal favourite). It was the beautiful spring of 2004, and I co-produced the film with our magnificent director, Ingo J. Biermann, who went on to develop an astounding career. — Two years later, Half Past Ten, loosely based on a novel by Marguerite Duras, was my second Vivàsvan production being shot in English. It co-starred Kerstin Linnartz, Michael F. Stoerzer, and Sascia Haj. While Deed Poll had become somewhat of a cult film in France and the United States, Half Past Ten, much to my chagrin, hardly ever found its audience. My disappointment obviously discouraged me from pursuing any new »foreign« film projects between 2007 and 2011.

My theatre work, my writing, and a string of droll German comedies kept me quite busy until I found the spirit to prepare my first movie to be shot in Paris and Berlin: Le deuxième commencement, a little love story with Laurent Delpit, dealt with the problems of a Franco-German couple. Even though Le deuxième commencement only had a fairly limited festival run in Spain, France, and Greece, the few people who had seen it absolutely loved it. (Much to my surprise.) So France, or rather Paris, became my new career destination. My second film over there was One Deep Breath, helmed by Antony Hickling, and co-starring Manuel Blanc, Stéphane Michelini, and Thomas Laroppe. It was based on a script of mine entitled »Une nuit en eaux profondes«, One Night in Deep Waters. We were blown away by the critical acclaim the movie received after its release. It even won several awards during its 2014/2015 festival run. One Deep Breath was shown in France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Brazil, not in Germany. — After a short film, Le cadeau, I started preparing for a bigger project: Sur les traces de ma mère, a French production financed by our Parisian distributor Optimale. A budget of estimated 432.000 Euros, a good director (Ian Hansen), and a magnificent cast (Thomas Laroppe, Alexandre Vallès, Carrie Getman, Andreas Adam, Hubert Burczek, Marisa Mell, and myself) fought against several severe obstacles. The almost two-year process of finishing Sur les traces de ma mère tired me profoundly and left me — frankly — wounded. So I decided to take a hiatus from producing once the film faced its release. But the frantic experience didn’t keep me from co-writing and acting in Alexandre Vallès’ debut film, »Bd. Voltaire«, in October 2016. Also, in the spring of 2017, I am teaming up with Antony Hickling again by playing a part in his latest picture, »Frig«. For the next couple of years, Vivàsvan Pictures has three more English / French projects in the pipeline: What Spring Does With the Cherry Trees, Un amant pour trois, and The Most Tender Game.

André Schneider, February 2017

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