(Cineuropa) The co-production Mission Ulja Funk has been selected for the Generation KPlus line-up
- Involving Germany, Luxembourg and Poland, Barbara Kronenberg’s film for younger audiences will feature in the selection of the 71st Berlinale
Mission Ulja Funk, the debut film by German director Barbara Kronenberg, will enjoy its international premiere at the 2021 Berlinale. The title finds itself among the 17 lucky winners forming part of the 2021 Generation vintage, painstakingly put together by programmer Maryanne Redpath. The feature film has rocketed into the Generation KPlus competition (a sub-section reserved for works offering a powerful view of young people and presented in their original language) which is dominated by stories retracing the paths trodden by determined heroines.
It’s a trait which fits perfectly with the character of 12-year-old Uja, played by acting revelation Romy Lou Janinhoff (in her big screen debut): she’s prepared to do anything it takes to freely pursue her passion for astronomy. Armed with a stolen hearse and a driver in the form of a classmate who’s barely older than she is, Uja journeys across Eastern Europe to monitor the impact of an asteroid. In the process, it’s not only her persecutors that she’ll need to shake off, but also her pragmatic view of friendship and family…
A graduate of Cologne’s Kunsthochschule für Medien (Academy of Media Arts), filmmaker Barbara Kronenberg also explored the world of adolescence in her short film Die Ballade von Ella Plummhoff (2015), which won a Jury Special Mention in the Best Youth Film category of the 44th Sehsüchte International Student Film Festival in Potsdam, as well as being screened at numerous internationals gatherings.
Geared towards children and family audiences, Mission Ulja Funk is a triparty co-production endowed with a budget of €5m, involving Germany at 67 % (In Good Company), Luxembourg at 23 % (Samsa Film) and Poland for the remaining 10% (Shipsboy). In terms of institutions, the project notably enjoys the support of the German Ministry of Culture (BKM), the Film Fund Luxembourg and the Polish Film Institute.
The movie was shot in German over the course of 21 days, unfolding at the end of 2019 in Luxembourg, with Luc Feit (recently toplining the hit series Capitani) jostling among its principal actors. Numerous Luxembourg technicians feature among the crew, including Christina Schaffer (production designer), Paul Maas (image editor), Helder Loureiro da Silva (head gaffer) and André Dziezuk (original score composer).
Bernard Michaux of Samsa Film is making no secret of his satisfaction, which he shares with the movie’s German producers Roshanak Behesht Nedjad and Linda Kirmse: "It’s an honour to be selected for the Berlin Film Festival, one of the only class A festivals to reserve a special place and dedicate an entire section to children’s films. This is also the first time a Samsa title has been selected for this line-up. It’s crucial for us to draw benefit from the fame of the Berlinale, but also to be able to focus on films which speak to future generations."
Mission Ulja Funk’s international sales are entrusted to the Berlin-based firm Picture Tree International. As it stands, the film is distributed and broadcast in Germany by Farbfilm Verleih GmbH and Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (MDR) respectively, while distribution in Luxembourg will be steered by Samsa Distribution.