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A dynamic improvisational film movement in Germany has in the past few years grown from a niche gen...

Germany’s Improvisational “Mumblecore” Cinema Poised for Breakout

By 18:10:00

A dynamic improvisational film movement in Germany has in the past few years grown from a niche genre to a near-mainstream phenomenon — just don’t call it mumblecore.

While generally described as a German version of the now-dated U.S. indie movement, filmmakers and actors here prefer “improvisational film.” There are some similarities: Initially led by young filmmakers, many of them graduates from the Film University Babelsberg Konrad Wolf near Berlin, it’s characterized by low-budget production values, relationship stories and an eschewal of script, but also by collaboration with actors trained in improvisation and an emphasis on humor.

After generating a great deal of critical acclaim domestically and on the festival circuit, it has begun to infiltrate the mainstream, both in film and television.
Directors that have defined the movement include Axel Ranisch (“Alky Alky”), brothers Jakob and Tom Lass (“Love Steaks,” “Kaptn Oskar”), Isabell Suba (“Men Show Movies & Women Their Breasts”), Aron Lehmann (“Kohlhaas or the Proportionality of Means”), Hanna Doose (“Dust on Our Hearts”) and Nico Sommer (“Silvi”).

Constantin Film, Germany’s leading production and distribution company, was quick to recognize the potential of the movement and filmmaker Jakob Lass. Constantin is co-producing his next film, “Tiger Girl,” about a rocky friendship between two very different women. Constantin chairman Martin Moszkowicz says improvisational film “absolutely” has mainstream potential. “It is what audiences in Germany are looking for: Innovative, energetic, surprising, original filmmaking with strong characters.”

In partnering with Lass and his team, Moszkowicz says Constantin “protected their unique approach to filmmaking” while combining “it with Constantin’s approach to marketing and distribution.”

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