New York's Ellis Island to be built in Germany

8th October 2007, Comments 0 comments

8 October 2007, Berlin (dpa) - Oscar-nominated German-Turkish movie director Fatih Akin plans to build a replica of New York's Ellis Island immigration centre for his next project in Germany.

8 October 2007

Berlin (dpa) - Oscar-nominated German-Turkish movie director Fatih Akin plans to build a replica of New York's Ellis Island immigration centre for his next project in Germany.

Akin, whose fourth movie Head On won the top Golden Bear award at the 2004 Berlin Film Festival, plans a film on European immigrants who arrived by ship in New York at the start of the 20th century.

From 1892 to 1943, the island at the mouth of the Hudson River was the main point of entry for immigrants arriving on the East Coast. By 1954 it was turned into a detention centre for deportees before becoming a museum in 1990.

Akin caused a stir recently when he told Der Spiegel, the German weekly magazine, that the Ellis Island-linked film was to be "my first Western," and that from New York the action would swing to the American southwest where "Indians will be involved."

Der Spiegel said the set would be erected in 2008 at the Babelsberg Studios in Potsdam, south-west of Berlin. A spokeswoman for the studios declined to give details.

Akin's most recent movie, On The Other Side, is about six people who play out turbulent lives between Bremen and Istanbul. It won the best screenplay award at this year's Cannes Film Festival and has been nominated for an Oscar as best foreign film at the Academy Awards in January.

The movie stars the veteran German actress Hanna Schygulla, and Patrycia Ziolkowska and Tuncel Kurtiz. Another recent film co-produced by Akin and made in Turkey called Takva - Fear of God has been similarly nominated for a foreign-language Oscar.

Now 34, Akin zeroes in on everyday stories he sees around him - love, crime and family dramas - which are just as likely to be set in the Turkish neighbourhoods of Hamburg or Bremen, as they are in Istanbul or Ankara.

Akin studied at the Hamburg College of Graphic Arts and admits to being strongly influenced by the US cinema. At the time of his debut film Short and Sweet in 1998, he said film directors John Cassavetes and Martin Scorcese were his role models.

Akin is one of a spate of directors who have forged strong links, both with Berlin and the Babelsberg Film studios in recent years.

In recent weeks, Hollywood actor Tom Cruise has been active in the German capital making Valkyrie, in which he plays Colonel Count Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg, whose bid to kill Hitler led to his execution in July 1944 in the Bendler Block, the wartime German army's headquarters in Berlin.

Filming hasn't gone smoothly for Cruise. Several weeks ago film extras were injured when they were hurled from the back of a military vehicle. Then problems arose with the German Defence Ministry who at first refused permission for the von Stauffenberg execution scenes to be filmed at the Bendler Block.

That decision was later reversed and subsequently shots were heard ringing out during three ghostly nighttime film shooting sequences in the courtyard.

Later it was discovered that mistakes had been made during the developing of the film, and the negatives ruined. Cruise was given permission to re-shoot the scenes.

Curiously, at a moment when the Cruise movie is being bedevilled with problems, the star's ex-wife, Nicole Kidman, 40, is awaited in Berlin to play the lead in The Reader, a film adaptation of Bernhard Schlink's best-selling novel, based on a 15-year-old boy's affair with a woman 20 years his senior.

Ralph Fiennes, who also stars in the film, is already in Berlin, staying at the city's five star Hotel Concorde, and holding screenplay discussions with Karoline Herfurth, 23, a talented German actress newcomer who appears for the first time in an international production.

Legendary film costume designer Ann Roth, 76, is also holed up at the Concorde during the shooting, which got underway ten days ago. As is Stephen Daldry, the director, and screenplay author David Hare.

Cruise's wife Katie Holmes and 1-year-old daughter Suri have been in Berlin for weeks. Kidman announced she will be bringing her two children, Isabella Jane, 14, and Connor Anthony, 11, whom she jointly adopted with Cruise during their marriage.

Filming of The Reader has already in sites outside Berlin. Hanna Schmitz, the main figure played by Kidman, is a supervisor at a Nazi concentration camp.

Suggestions that some scenes might be shot at the former concentration camp at Sachsenhausen have been ruled out. Nowadays the camp is primarily viewed as a cemetery, with filming allowed only for "historical documentaries."


Subject: German news

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