Klaus Maeck & Fatih Akin • Producers
Ones for the heart
"It had been something Fatih had been planning to do for a long time," says Klaus Maeck about Hamburg-based filmmaker Fatih Akin's decision with producer/TV director Andreas Thiel to set up their own production outfit Corazón International in 2003.
Corazón was established during the production of Akin's Head-On [+see also:
film profile], which was made as a co-production with Wueste Film, with the goal of handling the filmmaker's own projects in the future as well as those of other screenwriters and directors.
"From the outset, the choice of our company's name Corazón was made to show that we didn't see ourselves as a purely German or Turkish one," Maeck recalls. "That's why we chose this international name which means "heart" in Spanish. Our motto is that in the selection of the projects to produce, the heart decides and there should also be a social relevance. We want to produce films that we would ourselves like to see in the cinema."
The success of Corazón's first productions would seem to show that they are on the right track: to begin with, Head-On won numerous awards in 2004 including the Berlinale's Golden Bear, five Lolas, the European Film Awards' Best European Film of the Year and Best European Director People's Choice Award.
In 2006, Corazón boarded the first project as co-producer by a filmmaker other than Akin: Turkish director Oezer Kiziltan's feature debut Takva – A Man's Fear Of God. The allegory for the clash between modernism and religion won nine prizes at the Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival in 2006, the FIPRESCI Critics Award at the 2007 Panorama of the Berlinale, and the Heart of Sarajevo Main Prize at the Sarajevo Film Festival last August.
Moreover, after making the music documentary Crossing The Bridge [+see also:
film profile] in 2005, expectations were running high last year on Akin's The Edge of Heaven [+see also:
interview: Fatih Akin
interview: Klaus Maeck
film profile], which Corazón produced at locations in Germany and Turkey with co-producers Anka Film and Dorje Film.
"These expectations didn't just come from outside, there was also an inner pressure," Akin observed after the film was invited to the Official Competition of the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. "I wanted to make a better film, one that was more exciting and cinematic than Head-On." For Akin, The Edge of Heaven was "the philosophical and political sequel to Head-On and a very personal film" and is intended as the second part of Akin's planned trilogy of Love, Death & The Devil.
Corazón is in the enviable position of being involved in two films which were submitted for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 2008 Academy Awards: The Edge of Heaven by Germany and Takva by Turkey. As Klaus Maeck points out, Akin's high profile after Head-On and now The Edge of Heaven has generated considerable interest from both the US and Turkey in working with him or offering projects, "but we don't want to commit ourselves to any specific direction. Each film has to be special in and of itself and the story is always what matters for us."
This diversity is reflected in Corazón's decision to be a partner on the Italian documentary Uomini D'Onore by Francesco Sbano, or Serbian filmmaker Moma Mrdakovic's Mamorosh which will be made with Serbian and Hungarian partners in Belgrade, Hamburg, New York and Budapest from this spring.
Even before The Edge of Heaven went to Cannes, Akin was turning his attention to the docu-thriller Garbage in the Garden of Eden set in the mountain village of Camburnu on the Black Sea which is in the final scene of the Cannes competition film.
"I have begun the initial research, which has been very emotional and dramatic, about this village's struggle against the Turkish state to build a waste dump on the mountain," Akin explained, describing the film as being "in the classic documentary tradition like Nanook of the North. I will be documenting this battle for this piece of paradise, but there is a lot more going on between the lines."
Moreover, he will now be getting down to work on the third and final part of the Love, Death & The Devil trilogy which Maeck describes as a "big migration drama which will travel from Germany to America. Fatih calls it his Western and part of it would have to be shot in a studio. We first have to do all the research and get the financing together, so the film could probably go into production in 2009."
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