Czechoslovak director Juraj Herz is in production with a big-budget historical drama, Habermann´s Mill (www.habermannuvmlyn.cz), based on a true story from the Sudetenland during the era of Nazi occupation.
The ambitious Czech-German-Austrian co-production, which covers the period of 1938 to 1945, has a budget of 87 million crowns (3.3 million euros).
The international cast of the movie includes Czech actors Karel Roden, Jan Hrušínský and Oldřich Kaiser, young Slovak actress Zuzana Kronerova, and German actors Max Waschke, Hannah Hezsprunger and Ben Becker.
According to producer Jan Kuděla, the Czech producers invested some 30 million crowns. The Czech state fund for support and developing of the Czech cinematography (www.mkcr.cz) gave a grant of ten million crowns to this project.
"While the story used the authentic locations and historical costumes and decorations, we certainly needed the support of German producers as well," says Helena Hejčová, press representative for the movie.
"We would love to have the world release of Habermann´s Mill at next year´s Berlinale film festival," announced Karel Dirka, German producer from Art-Oko company, who found the issue of the relationship between Czech and German people in Sudetenland an important international subject.
Czech screenwriter and novelist Josef Urban and German Wolfgang Limmer wrote the screenplay based on the true story of Hubert Habermann, an ethnic German miller from a small village, who was supportive of his ethnic Czech neighbors who were persecuted by the Nazis. However, after the war, Habermann suddenly vanished and was later found brutally murdered. This crime was never solved, while the victim was declared "only" as a "Reich German who deserved to die".
"A story of war-time relationships and the violent German departure from the postwar Sudetenland is one of the darkest moments in modern Czech-German history," says director Juraj Herz. The director even has his own war experience: as a ten year old boy from a Slovak Jewish family, he spent several months in concetration camp at Sachsenhausen.
"I always wanted to tell a war story," says Herz, who makes a true comeback this year. In the spring, Herz finished a horror movie, T.M.A. (The Dark), planned to be release this summer.
www.habermannuvmlyn.cz (official website)
www.bontonfilm.cz (distributor company)
KN Filmcompany s.r.o. Kříženeckého323 Praha 5