Tag Archives | film

Souls of Zen – Teaser Trailer.

Check out the teaser trailer to my upcoming documentary “Souls of Zen – Ancestors and Agency in Contemporary Japanese Temple Buddhism”:

You can visit the official website at www.soulsofzen.com and stay updated through our Facebook page.


Just great: Tucker & Dale vs Evil.

Quick recommendation of a little jewel: Tucker & Dale vs Evil is a fantastic and super funny horror comedy. My wife and I are big horror movie fans so we enjoyed the hell out of this one. It’s a great spoof / twist on the typical “college kids go camping” setup that so many horror films have. I give it 8 out of 10, highly recommended. Check out the trailer:

Tucker and Dale Versus Evil — Trailer von dreadcentral


John Rabe: Some photos from the shoot.

John Rabe Shoot Shanghai Feng Shui Backlot 20

In October 2007, I had the chance to join the JOHN RABE movie team in Shanghai and took it immediately. What followed were almost 4 months full of excitement, pain and so much learning and experience. It was the best time of my life. And now, the movie finally started running in german cinemas. It will probably also start running in China on April 29th. I can’t wait to see it.

John Rabe Shanghai Nongtang Shoot 28

I started working in the VFX department under the command of Joachim Grüninger. He taught me an insane amount of things and gave me many chances to learn how shooting a movie works, what the rules on a set are, and, and, and… Thank you so much, Jo!

The rest of the crew were super nice people, too… The director Florian Gallenberger was very nice and calm, the assistant directors were very nice, too, and the rest of the international crew also. We had germans, french, chinese and japanese working in the team. And our 2nd unit director was from India, how cool is that. I love it when so many cultures work together.

John Rabe Shanghai Nongtang Shoot 48

Now that the movie has opened and many people will hopefully go and see it, I think it’s time to publish all the photos that I took during the shooting of the movie. Some were censored, due to contracts and stuff, but most of them are online now. I hope you enjoy them and the look behind the scenes that they offer.

We shot the movie in Shanghai, Wuxi, Baixian, some photos in Wenzhou… My wife and I were also working as Extras in some scenes – in one scene with John Rabe himself, played by Ulrich Tukur, and in another I was sitting right next to Steve Buscemi, who plays an doctor in the movie. I have no idea if they made it into the movie, though – I only now that my name should be listed in the credits at the end of the movie. Yay!

If you have seen the movie, please leave a little comment about it and how you liked it. Thanks.

Now enjoy the photos sets:


Review: CJ7.

Stephen Chow gained international fans with his last two movies, namely Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle – especially teenage fans and people in their twenties. CJ7 is his attempt to gain access to a even younger audience, as it really is a children movie – what a pity!

CJ7 PosterTo be brutally honest, CJ7 is Chow’s more crazy interpretation of Disney’s Blubber or Flubber or whatever the name of that Robin Williams comedy was. Of course CJ7 features a more asian humor, but it’s way more family-friendly than his previous works. Chow plays a poor construction site worker named Ti, alone with his son. To provide a better future for his child, he spends every cent earned for an expensive private school for him. No money is left for toys, but lucky Ti finds a big gum ball on a trash site while searching for goods in the middle of the night. This ‘toy’ eventually finds his way into the hands of his boy, who is even able to ‘activate’ it into an cute alien being – chaos and fun start.

CJ7 AlienThe biggest problem this movie has is it’s running time: Just when the movie is about to find it’s right pace and speed, it’s already over. It takes too long for CJ7 to finally appear alive and kicking on the screen, and Chow makes too little use of the lovely thing in various scenes. There are maybe three jokes that make you laugh out loud, but mostly you will just giggle here and there a bit. It’s a little bit funny to see Chow quote his own older movies every once in a while, but isn’t it also a bit too early for that? In 2010, Kung Fu Hustle 2 is supposed to be released – by then, most of us will have already forgotten about CJ7…

Conclusion: Too short, too childish fun. ** out of *****.


John Rabe – Little Report, With Video!

When Ben commented to my last post about the pictures from the movie John Rabe, I just headed over to YouTube to see if anything had been released there – officially or not. Sadly, I found no trailer – but a little report! DW, Deutsche Welle, was on the set reporting and seemed to have been allowed to capture some stuff with their cameras.

Now the bad side: The video is almost half an hour long and over 60 megabyte big.

But I watched through it and the John Rabe part is right at the beginning! So just watch it until the report of John Rabe is finished, the rest has nothing to with it anymore.

Here we go:


Official John Rabe(约翰拉贝) pictures.

Most of my friends know what I’ve been doing during the last three months: working with the VFX team on the german movie John Rabe. Sadly, no trailer has been officially released yet so I don’t really have anything to show. But! ‘Majestic Film Verleih’, the company who will bring the movie to german cinemas this year (or so I hope) released 8 official press pictures.

So here you go, a little something to feed your appetite in regards to this movie. 8 pictures!

Dr. Georg Rosen (Daniel Brühl)

Dr. Georg Rosen (Daniel Brühl), employee of the german embassy, tries to handle the threat in regard of the chinese civilians in diplomatic ways.
(Picture: Majestic / Ruggero Rossi)

Dr. Robert Wilson (Steve Buscemi)

Dr. Robert Wilson (Steve Buscemi), leader of Nanjing’s hospital, fights tireless for the survival of the people.
(Picture: Majestic / Tomoko Kikuchi)

Valérie Dupres (Anne Consigny)

Valérie Dupres (Anne Consigny), leader of the International Girls College, can’t enjoy the festivities – she’s worried about her students.
(Picture: Majestic / Tomoko Kikuchi)

Werner Fließ (Mathias Herrmann)

Nazi Werner Fließ (Mathias Herrmann, 3.v.l.) is supposed to take John Rabe’s (Ulrich Tukur, 5.v.l.) place as the leader of the Siemens branch in Nanking.
(Picture: Majestic / Ruggero Rossi)

John Rabe (Ulrich Tukur)

John Rabe (Ulrich Tukur) is desperate, the uncertain future worries him.
(Picture: Majestic / Jörg Gruber)

Members of the international Committee

The members of the international committee for creating a safety zone (Ulrich Tukur, Anne Consigny, Steve Buscemi, Christian Rodska, Daniel Brühl, Shaun Lawton) don’t know how to handle the rush of 250.000 people at once.
(Picture: Majestic / Ruggero Rossi)

Dora Rabe (Dagmar Manzel) and John Rabe (Ulrich Tukur)

Dora Rabe (Dagmar Manzel) tries to convince her husband John (Ulrich Tukur) to leave Nanking.
(Picture: Majestic / Jörg Gruber)

Langshu (Zhang Jingchu, 张静初)

Schoolgirl Langshu (Zhang Jingchu, 张静初), a student of Valérie Dupres, takes pictures of the japanese war crimes in Nanjing.
(Picture: Majestic / Tomoko Kikuchi)

Well, that’s it. As soon as Majestic releases more pictures and / or a trailer, I’ll post it.


SIFF: I just don’t want anymore.

I went to the Shanghai Film Art Center on friday for accreditation, like I posted earlier. On saturday the horror started: I went first to the press conference in Pudong, where I managed to take some pictures of Michelle Rodriguez (‘LOST’) and Nathan Fillion (‘FIREFLY’, ‘SERENITY’). Michelle Rodriguez told the journalists that she loved ‘CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON’ while Nathan Fillion stops zapping the television as soon as he encounters the great ‘KUNG FU HUSTLE’ from Stephen Chow on a channel. That was all fine, no problems. But what do you want to do at a Film Festival as a journalist? Watch as many movies as possible and write one review after the other. So after the press conference I headed to the Film Art Center in Puxi, by taxi to save time, I wanted to see the screening of MAPADO 2 at 1:30 p.m.. But I couldn’t get in. I had a press badge alright, but no one told me that the journalists can only see some movies. I started reading through the ‘Guide For Journalists’ that I got when I accredited, and damn, it said there that journalists can only see movies for the ‘JinJue Award competition’. So I went to the press office to figure out which movies I could see since the movies where not marked as JinJue or not at all. 15 minutes later a woman printed me out 3 pages of movies that I would be able to see. None of these were interesting, so I asked if I could get tickets for the movies that I wanted to review. 90% were sold out already. Nice!

So I said to myself, forget the festival, make some pictures from the red carpet ceremony and that’s it. No, sir, not without invitation. So I went back to the press office to get a invitation for the red carpet ceremony. I sat there for 45 minutes and waited like they told me, when finally a guy showed up and told me that I can’t go there since I ‘only’ work for a magazine and not a daily newspaper. Great!

Here’s some advice for you, dear SIFF organizers. I have been to the Festival de Cannes and many other ones in Germany. You give the journalists one card that allows them everything. You don’t mess around with your best friends like that. We had planned to publish more than two full pages of my coverage from the festival, now there won’t be anything in it at all. Get rid of this stupid bureaucracy and make sure journalists enjoy the festival rather than to send them around and make them wait for hours. You want to become the chinese Cannes, SIFF? You have a damn long way to go. I’ll try again next year.


Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF): Day 1.

It worked out in the end

In the picture above you see that I eventually got a press card for the SIFF, the 10th Shanghai International Film Festival. But what a hussle! When I went to the Festival de Cannes two years ago, they asked me for a bunch of stuff that I had to submit there – by mail, printed out! It seemed much easier for the SIFF – from the website at least – until I stood in front of the accreditation table and was asked for a chinese press card. A what? I got a german one, but not a chinese one. Knowing the chinese bureaucracy, I almost gave the festival mentally up, knowing that it would probably take months to get one. But thank god the guys there were cool, and after a small talk with the boss including a small presentation of my previous work that they really didn’t seem to care about they allowed me to register anyway. Lucky me! After I got my badge I headed with two guys from New York to the International Conference thing in Pudong, where we attended the SIFF press conference. There I learned that a word doesn’t make something international since the whole conference was in chinese and without translators. But a friendly journalist told me every once in a while what they were talking about while I was playing around with my camera: That they invited Julia Roberts but that they don’t know if she really comes since she is shooting at the moment and other stuff. Not that interesting. Tomorrow things get hotter when the stars finally show themselves. So let me get my sleep now and check back tomorrow for nude pictures of Sharon Stone walking the red carpet. Here’s one more pic to prove that I really was at the press conference:

Only chinese talking

Good night.