03. Juli 2014

Munich, 3 July 2014. Ten years after the sweeping worldwide success of Academy Award-nominated "Downfall" with 145 sold territories and box-office records in Germany, the U.S., UK, France, Spain, Scandinavia and the Benelux amongst others, director Oliver Hirschbiegel returns to Germany with a new, highly ambitious Nazi drama.

Shooting for GEORG ELSER, a stunning, emotional portrait of the resistance fighter who tried to assassinate Hitler in the Munich Bürgerbräukeller on November 8th 1939, has started yesterday in Wackershofen/Southern Germany.

Hirschbiegel is supported by high-ranking talents before and behind the camera: Christian Friedel ("The White Ribbon"), Katharina Schüttler ("Generation War") and Burghart Klaußner ("The White Ribbon") take the leads; among the crew members are author Fred Breinersdorfer ("Sophie Scholl"), DOP Judith Kaufmann ("Four Minutes") and the set-designer duo Benedikt Herforth ("Rommel") and Thomas Stammer ("Generation War"). Producers are Oliver Schündler, Boris Ausserer (Lucky Bird) and Fred Breinersdorfer (Delphi). NFP ("The Lunchbox", Hannah Arendt") will release the feature on April 2nd 2015 in Germany, almost exactly 70 years after Georg Elser's death in the Dachau concentration camp. Beta Cinema handles the world sales.

A carpenter from Königsbronn in Swabia, Georg Elser was a man who could have changed world history and saved millions of human lives. If only he had had 13 more minutes. With 13 more minutes, the bomb he had personally assembled would have torn apart Adolf Hitler and his henchmen. But this was not to be, and on 8 November 1939, Hitler left the scene of the attempted assassination earlier than expected - leaving Elser to fail catastrophically.

Who was this man who recognized the danger emanating from Hitler sooner than many others, who took action when everybody else, including the German generals, meekly followed orders or kept silent? What did he see which our parents or grandparents did not see or want to see? The man who told his torturers to their faces that he wanted to prevent the bloodshed of the imminent world war?

The film GEORG ELSER relates the background of the failed attack in the Bürgerbräukeller and paints a suspenseful, emotional portrait of the resistance fighter who was called "Georgie" in his hometown. A story that takes us from his early years in the Swabian Alps - when National Socialism arrived in his hometown - to his last days at the Dachau concentration camp, where he was killed shortly before the end of the war at the command of the one whom he himself wanted to kill, Adolf Hitler.

The story: During Hitler's anniversary speech at Munich's Bürgerbräukeller on 8 November 1939, a man is arrested at the Swiss border for possession of suspicious objects. Only minutes later a bomb explodes directly behind the "Führer's" lectern, costing the lives of eight people. The detainee is Georg Elser (Chrirstian Friedel), a carpenter from the Swabian town of Königsbronn. When a map of the site of the attack, along with detonators for explosive charges, are found on him, he is sent to be interrogated by the head of the Criminal Police of the "Reichssicherheitshauptamt (Reich Defense Office) Arthur Nebe (Burghart Klaussner) and the head of the Gestapo Heinrich Müller (Johann von Bülow). Elser learns that his plan failed and that the man whom he wanted to kill in order to eliminate the threat of bloodshed in the imminent world war, left the Bürgerbräukeller 13 minutes before the explosion to plan the campaign against France. For many long days he is subjected to an "intensified interrogation" by Nebe and Müller, and for many long days he withstands their torture until he finally confesses - insisting, however, that he acted alone. Without helpers and without his friends, family and girlfriend Elsa (Katharina Schüttler) knowing anything about this. He had distanced himself from her and from all the others in the months preceding the attack so as not to pull them, too, into the abyss, should his plan fail. It was the plan that he was thinking about in his Swabian town from the day when he and his best friend Josef Schurr (David Zimmerschied) refused to cheer the rise of National Socialism. The plan that, after his interrogation by Nebe and Müller, ultimately led him from the remand prison of Sachsenhausen to Dachau, where he was murdered on Hitler's orders just a few days before the end of the war.

GEORG ELSER is being shot from July to the beginning of September in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Berlin and South Tyrol. The Oliver Hirschbiegel film, produced by Boris Ausserer, Oliver Schündler and Fred Breinersdorfer, is a production of Lucky Bird Pictures in coproduction with SWR (Manfred Hattendorf and Michael Schmidl) as well as ARD Degeto (Christine Strobl), BR (Claudia Simionescu), WDR (Götz Bolten), ARTE (Andreas Schreitmüller), Delphi Medien, Philipp filmproduction (Philipp Hoepp) and Broth Film. The production is subsidized by FFF FilmFernsehFonds Bayern, MFG Medien- und Filmgesellschaft Baden-Württemberg, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg and BLS Südtirol.