"The Turncoat" (Der Überläufer) is an adaptation of the controversial novel by German author Siegfried Lenz about Walter, a young Wehrmacht soldier who deserts to the Soviet Red Army and falls in love with a Polish partisan, Wanda. Most of the shooting for 7 million euro production took place in Poland with extensive participation of Polish talents and crew.
Oscar-winning Florian Gallenberger ("John Rabe", "Colonia") is a director and co-writer of the script. Polish DoP Artur Reinhert ("Brute", "Tristan & Isolde") is responsible for cinematography, Magdalena Dipont ("Katyn", "The Reverse") and Robert Czesak ("Europa Europa", "Red Spider") for art direction, and Magdalena Rutkiewicz-Luterek ("Der Hauptmann", "Clergy", "Volynia") for military costumes. Magdalena Szwarcbart ("Schindler’s List", "Cold War") has chosen the Polish cast. The score will be written by Antoni Komasa-Łazarkiewicz ("In Darkness", "Spoor"), and special effects will be made by Studio Produkcyjne ORKA.
The producer Stefan Raiser told Polish portal Onet.pl: - I have never been to Poland before, but we felt at home here. People are wonderful, very hospitable. I wish every film set to look like this. The Polish team is not only very professional and experienced but also full of passion. You can see that people have cinema in their blood. They are very involved. In Germany, sometimes I want to ask the question if anyone read the script at all, there are crews who don't care what they do, as long as catering is good. Here you see passion. We also care about all Polish comments and ideas. It’s priceless.
In the leading roles star Jannis Niewöhner ("Mute", "Berlin Station") as Walter, the turncoat mentioned in the title and Małgorzata Mikołajczak ("Odwróceni. Ojcowie i córki", "Bikini Blue") as a Polish partisan Wanda. They are joined by German actors - Sebastian Urzendowsky ("The Tower", "Borgia"), Rainer Bock ("The White Ribbon"), Ulrich Tukur ("The Lives Of Others") and Polish cast - Marek Sołek, Wiesław Zanowicz, Krzysztof Ogonek and Ilja Zmiejew.
The shooting took place during the summer at Lower Silesia region (in Wroclaw, Bozkow Palace, Jaworzyna Slaska and Olbrachtowice; in Warsaw and its surroundings (Kazun, Modlin, Wesola, Celestynow); in Krakow (Nowa Huta district, Old Town, Kobierzyn) and Bledow Desert. Altogether the crew had 53 shooting days in Poland.
Leading producers from Dreamtool Entertainment are Stefan Raiser and Felix Zackor. Line producer in Poland is Krzysztof Sołek from Film Poland Productions / Warrior Bear Productions. Broadcast partners are NDR, ARD Degeto and SWR. The production was funded by FilmFernsehFonds Bayern, MFG Filmförderung Baden-Württemberg and the Polish Film Institute.
"The Turncoat" is one of the first international productions using Polish incentives. 30% cash rebate is available for features, documentaries, animations and series from February this year. The scheme is managed by the Polish Film Institute and so far 10 agreements have been signed and more are currently assessed.
Beta Film is responsible for world sales and is planning to present first images at MIPCOM in autumn.