“Provoke the heart, move the mind & entertain the soul” – that, in a nutshell, has been the ambition of the Berlin-based production outfit Flare Film with its films over the past decade and is set to be the guiding force in the future. “We began initially with smaller projects geared more to the arthouse market for both documentary and fiction, but the last couple of years have seen the projects becoming larger in size,“ recalls Flare Film’s founder and managing director Martin Heisler.
“The company’s DNA remains to this day that we want to work with people and on projects we believe in,“ he explains, pointing out that he shares responsibilities for developing the company’s fiction projects with fellow producer Gabriele Simon, while the documentaries at Flare Film are overseen by Katharina Bergfeld. “We want to ensure that every project we take on is made with the greatest passion and care,“ Heisler continues. ”We are not looking to opt for the lowest common denominator so as to be able to expand just for the sake of it.“
Instead of looking for a common thread running through Flare Film’s output, he suggests that diversity and versatility have been key factors in the company’s increasing success and standing in the German and international film scenes. The productions coming from the Flare Film stable in recent years have ranged from Bastian Günther’s US-set HOUSTON and Florian Aigner’s East-West love story LOVE BETWEEN THE WALLS to producer Florian Koerner von Gustorf’s directorial debut, the romantic drama WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN and documentaries by Christoph Röhl (DEFENDER OF THE FAITH) and David Dietl (BERLIN BOUNCER).
And the spotlight was definitely put on the company’s achievements when three of its films were invited to premiere at the 2020 Berlinale: Janna Ji Wonders’ documentary WALCHENSEE FOREVER, the third collaboration with Bastian Günther, ONE OF THESE DAYS, and Barbara Ott’s debut KIDS RUN as the opening film of the Perspektive Deutsches Kino, while Anna Koch and Julia Lemke’s Texas-set documentary GLITTER & DUST had premiered at the Max Ophüls Preis Film Festival.
Meanwhile, 2021 could see a veritable wave of new Flare Film productions descending on international festivals. “We were exceptionally active in the last couple of years and the films had fortunately wrapped shooting before the pandemic started and had now been in post production,“ Heisler says, pointing to such upcoming titles as Anna and Dietrich Brüggemann’s NÖ, Ilker Çatak’s adaptation STAMBUL GARDEN, based on Finn-Ole Heinrich’s novel Räuberhände, Marten Persiel’s hybrid film EVERYTHING WILL CHANGE, and Henrika Kull’s second feature GLÜCK. Moreover, the company made its first foray in 2020 into the field of TV series via its newly established label Flare Entertainment with the eight-parter PARADISO, based on Thomas Pletzinger’s novel Bestattung eines Hundes, and written for Sky Studios by himself, Hanno Hackfort and Bob Konrad, part of the prestigious HaRiBo writing collective. (More about here)
“Shooting a high-end series in Italy with a crew of over 120 during the pandemic was a particular challenge”, Heisler recalls, adding that directing chores being shared between Barbara Albert and David Dietl has proven to be ”a win-win situation“ for the production which is scheduled to move to the lot of Bulgaria’s Nu Boyana studios in the spring for scenes set in New York.
“It may have seemed quite daring in theory“, he admits. “but it has been a dream constellation having this combination of someone with an arthouse background like Barbara working with a more commercially oriented filmmaker like David.“
Looking ahead, Heisler says that his goal would be to follow PARADISO with new projects in the field of high-end series production as well as being commissioned to produce a documentary series for TV.
However, that would not mean that Flare Film would neglect its “core business“ of theatrical feature films and documentaries. Indeed, new projects are already in development with the company‘s family of filmmakers such as David Sieveking, Marten Persiel, Janna Ji Wonders.
And, for the near future, there are also plans to expand the company by additional producers joining and complementing the variety of projects in the company with their own experience and background.