Forgotten & Remarkable True Story Of Piano Prodigy Carl Filtsch From Transylvania
Brigitte Drodtloff, Writer and Director, is currently in the final throes on the preproduction of lensing Chopin’s Wunderkind, the remarkable forgotten true story of child prodigy Carl Filtsch. Filtsch was born in 1839 and at just nine years old had one big dream to appear on stage alongside Frédéric Chopin. It was a crazy, wonderful dream. Chopin’s Wunderkind is a German, Austrian, Romanian, French, British and American co-production scheduled to go into production autumn of 2020 with filming in Romania. Chopin’s Wunderkind will be produced by Munich-based Triarte International, with Romanian-based Ateelier de Film, and Hollywood-based Monarex Hollywood Corporation as the US co-production partner. The project will be shot in beautiful city of Vienna and the countryside of Transylvania.
Drodtloff says: “The script is inspired by a true story and this film brings Carl Filtsch to life. This Wunderkind from Transylvania, who lived 1830-1845 was known, loved and admired all over Europe and became the favorite pupil of Chopin. Why has everybody forgotten him? Chopin admired Carl Filtsch and trusted him to perform for the first time his music in front of Queen Victoria. In spite of his ill health, Carl performed all across Europe, committing several of his compositions to paper. Two weeks before his fifteenth birthday, though, he lost his battle against tuberculosis. Three years later, his friend and master Chopin followed him to the corner of heaven reserved for great musicians and composers.”
The experienced European crew assembled for the making of Chopin’s Wunderkind alongside German writer Director Brigitte Drodtloff include well known German Director of Photography Gernot Roll, known for Nowhere In Africa, (a 2002 Academy Award winner) with a music score by London based Anne Nikitin. Romanian Gabriela Suciu based in Romania is the producer on the project, with more talent below the line to be announced shortly. Brigitte Drodtloof is currently assembling an ensemble cast of above the line European talent for roles in the film, and the race is on to find a gifted young European pianist to play Carl Filtsch.
The film Chopin’s Wunderkind takes place in 1839. Carl Filtsch (9) is already being hailed in Vienna as the ‘Wunderkind of Transylvania’. It is said he plays piano like an angel. His mother is reluctant for him to go as he‘s fragile, to meet the demands of the many concerts lined up for him, but Carl is adamant and wants to be taught by Chopin, who, because of his ill health, is no longer taking on students. Through his best friend, the Archduke Franz from Vienna, Carl is finally introduced to Chopin.
Carl is fascinated by the aura of the grumpy and reticent master, but Chopin does share the same enthusiasm for the prodigy from Transylvania. Chopin finally decides to teach him, Carl blooms in spite of Chopin‘s mood swings. Chopin is demanding and rarely drops a word of praise to his student and shows no mercy for the slightest error. At the same time, he can‘t hide the fact that he‘s fascinated by Carl‘s talent, and refers to him as “mon petit gamin” (my dear little friend). On the rare occasion, Chopin smiles and Carl knows that this was a good day for him at the piano. However the intensive work is taking its toll, with both showing the same symptoms of a serious disease. Undeterred, the master and his student don‘t care. Chopin wants Carl to be perfect, and drives Carl to practice endlessly, pushing him to the point of desperation. Until Carl breaks down and has to stop.
Chopin is angry, then compassionately, asks Carl for one last favor, because he is no longer able to travel. So in 1843 Carl regains his health, to bring Chopin‘s music to England and perform for Queen Victoria. The concert tour to London is a magnificent success. Carl becomes everyone‘s darling. A few months later, Carl is to perform a concert in the Conservatory of Music in Paris, before heading back to Transylvania. He‘s sad to hear that Chopin is not in the city. What a surprise to see his master performing with him at a second piano. Chopin embraces him in front of everyone, saying: No one understands me like mon petit gamin. Carl‘s dream has come true!
In spite of his ill health, Carl performs all across Europe, committing several of his compositions to paper. Two weeks before his fifteenth birthday, he loses his battle against tuberculosis. Three years later, his friend and master Chopin follows him to the corner of heaven reserved for great musicians and composers.
About Brigitte Drodtloff – Writer and Director
Brigitte Drodtloff was born in Bucharest into a German-Romanian family. By the age of ten, she was a well-known face in the Romanian media. For seven years, she moderated a German children’s program on Romanian television, eventually graduating from the renowned School for Film and Theater in Bucharest. Since moving to Germany, Drodtloff has successfully worked as an author, director, dramatic advisor, producer and manager of cultural events. In Sibiu she directed several plays to critical acclaim. The German Film Rating Agency (FBW) deemed Brigitte Drodtloff’s last short subject Human “particularly valuable.” Her short was six times an award winner, including Lady Filmmakers Festival in Beverly Hills, LA. Her historical period drama Maria, Queen Of Romania (screenwriter and director) is due out. The film is based on a true story obtained the film funding in Romania for the best script.
About Gabriela (Gabi) Suciu – Producer
Gabriela (Gabi) Suciu (b. 1987 in Sebes, Romania) graduated the Directing Class at the National University of Theatre and Film (UNATC) I. L. Caragiale in Bucharest, in 2010. Since 2008, she has consistently produced 6 to 8 titles a year, films of all lengths and genres. In February 2012, she graduated the Film Production Masters‘ Program at the same university and founded Atelier de Film, a Romanian, Bucharest-based production and distribution company, supported by the UNATC to produce works of the graduates in the Film Faculty, studying for her PhD in Co-Production in the process. She’s an alumni of Berlinale Talents 2014 and Talents Sarajevo 2012. Among the most successful films she produced during her studies we can count Strung Love and The Photograph (both directed by Victor Dragomir, 2010) and The Camp in Razoare (directed by Cristi Iftime, 2013), highly selected and awarded in important festivals around the world. While continuing to produce other shorts and some first features, she was also involved in the organization of the Victoria Film Festival (Victoria, Romania) and Ideo Ideis Theatre Festival (Alexandria, Romania). In 2014, she started her collaboration with Elefant Film (RO) and Elefant Films (CH), for the feature film The Miracle of Tekir, continuing her collaboration with the Romanian production company in 2015. Their fruitful collaboration is the base on which Ultraviolet Media – a film distribution company and the first Romanian world sales company – was started.
About Gernot Roll – Director of Photography
Gernot Roll is one of the most important German DOPs, who is also successful as a director. He completed his education in the DEFA studios in Babelsberg. In 1960 he moved from the GDR in the Federal Republic of Germany and then, one year later to Bavaria Film in Munich. He was part of around 100 productions, including 40 large television films and television series and over 20 very successful cinema productions. His work has been honored several times: Adolf Grimme Award, German Film Awards, German Camera Prize, Star on the Boulevard of Stars in Berlin and in January 2015, and the Honorary Award of the Bavarian Prime Minister at the Bavarian Film Prize. The feature drama Nowhere In Africa, filmed by Gernot Roll, received the Academy Award in 2002.
Anne Nikitin – Film Score
Anne Nikitin is an award-winning composer for film and television. She has scored a wide range of films including action-thrillers, emotional dramas, cutting edge documentaries and natural history. In 2011 Anne scored The Imposter, a BAFTA winning feature film and 2015 she composed the score for This Beautiful Fantastic, a modern day fairytale. Her score has been nominated for a Music+Sound Award. Recent films include Darkhorse: The Incredible True Story Of Dream Alliance, which won the Audience Award at Sundance as well as the Moet British Independent Film Award for Best Documentary; Chuck Norris Vs Communism; Freistatt, a German feature film shortlisted for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. She has recently completed scoring American Animals.
(Source: The Business of Film)