The project presentation and discussion with the leaders was jointly organised by the Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC), Alex Produkcija and Rat Pack production company from Germany. The producers explained that they are planning to make three parts of the story of the Indian chief from the Apache tribe, portrayed in his novels by German writer Karl May. Each film will be 90 minutes in duration and will be based on the first three original films. All three parts (Winnetou and His Old Friend Shatterhand, Winnetou – The Treasure of Silver Lake and End of Winnetou) will be directed by Philipp Stölzl, the lead screenwriter is Jan Berger and producer Christian Becker.
The film will be released in 2016 and the crew will be 70 per cent Croatian – 40 actors and as many as 5.000 extras.
‘Thanks to a great collaboration with HAVC, we are very proud to shoot again in Croatia and say, after almost 50 years, that Winnetou is back. Landscapes are magnificent, the local crew we work with are excellent, and the people are very friendly. Everyone welcomed us warmly and gave us the best possible feeling of hospitality. We already look forward to working closely with the locals, companies and the local government,’ said film producer Christian Becker from the German Rat Pack at the press conference.
Once again, the German production company Rat Pack applied for the incentive scheme that stimulate film and TV production with their Karl May’s Winnetou trilogy, whose parts will be filmed on the original locations of the 1960s Winnetou serial, in Lika, Gorski kotar, Velebit and Istria (Otrić, Veliko Rujno, Vranja). The films’ co-producers and production companies are Mythos and Rialto Film, and the Croatian production will be serviced by Aleks Produkcija, a Croatian production company.
‘We are really honoured to take part in such a significant project – the Winnetou trilogy. To the invitation of Rat Pack, we finished the initial preparations and now we are preparing the shooting that begins in August 2015. With great pleasure I can say that the cast and crew will be up to 70 per cent Croatian, around 40 actors and 5000 extras. The crew will hire outstanding professional filmmakers from Croatia. The shooting is being prepared on locations in Primorje-Gorski kotar, Šibenik-Knin and Zadar counties. We submitted an application for this film project to the incentive scheme and so far we have had excellent collaboration with HAVC which, I believe, will continue all until the end of the project,’ said Aleksandar Črček of Aleks Produkcija.
‘From Grobnik to Trogir, hundreds of films have been made, but when you mention a film shoot to the locals, the first thing that crosses their minds is, without exception – Winnetou. The one and the only – this is hardly explainable. Between the Adriatic hinterland people and the Apache chief there is a secret connection, just like there is a romantic memory of the first mega-production that came 15 years after the war and turned the God-forsaken desert into the centre of the world. Not even German tourists have forgotten this films; 50 years afterwards they still visit Paklenica, Jasenice, Tulove grede. When the Legend returns, the entire funny game will also return: the Dalmatians will be bona-fide Indians and some new German tourists, thousands of them – new travel writers and mainland adventurists,’ concluded Hrvoje Hribar, Head of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre.
The first film on the adventures of Winnetou was made back in 1962. After that other nine films were made by West German filmmakers in co-production with the Croatian film company Jadran film, on locations on Paklenica, Plitvice Lakes and Krka national parks, in the Zrmanja river canyon, in Vrlika and elsewhere. Winnetou Returns (Winnetous Rückkehr), with Pierre Brice, the leading actor in the Winnetou serial of the 1960s, was made in 1998 and the trilogy being currently shot in Croatia will be released next year. (HAVC)