Thank you all so very, very much for having supported us – it has been a great joy to embark on this adventure together with you! The money raised will be well spent once the SAMURAI will let the mayhem commence come August! :)
Hi everybody! This is Till speaking, writer & director of DER SAMURAI, an independent feature film due to be shot this September in the deep forests of rural East Germany close to the Polish border, starring the amazing young actor Pit Bukowski in the titular role, with whom I have already worked on the award-winning medium-length film 'Cowboy' (see trailer).
DER SAMURAI is, as we say in German, a real 'Herzensangelegenheit', a matter of the heart, for me. Being my graduation film from the German Film and Television Academy Berlin (dffb), it sets out to reclaim a part of our storytelling tradition that sadly has become almost extinct in German cinema today: that of the grim, fantastical thriller.
Ever since I was a small child, I have been most drawn to the adventurous, the mysterious and the uncanny in fiction, be it in the Grimm Brothers' fairy tales or in films like the Swedish 'Ronja Rövarsdottir'. The dark forests and abandoned, desolate estates around Berlin, although appearing very frightening to me at first, later became favourite places of mine to explore. Somehow, the feeling that the world was filled with wonder and awe for me always went hand-in-hand with the subliminal fear of something dangerous lurking at its edges.
As a 'grown-up' writer and director, I have made it my ambition to explore those edges, to discover, confront and become aquainted with the monsters that dwell in the dark corners out there. The process of my own coming out as a teenager could well be translated into one of those explorations of the unknown, and maybe it is the vague 'otherness' from my surroundings I have felt back then that has gone on to become one of the primal causes for my inclination to gleefully delve into the realms of the monstrous and the deviant.
I have to admit that my reasons for seeking out those creatures of the night might not be all that noble. Indeed, there seems to be some sort of secret anarchic urge within me to see the monsters set loose and rampantly reclaim what's theirs, to witness them bringing back some wonder and excitement into a world so controlled by order and reason that it at times threatens to suffocate all sense of joy and opportunity.
DER SAMURAI tells of an encounter with one such monster.
ABOUT THE FILM
JAKOB, a young policeman from a remote village in the middle of nowhere, finds his small world unhinged and shattered as one night an ominous, nameless stranger in a woman's dress emerges from the forest and commences a wave of destruction, descending on the unsuspecting town like a supernova of irrational violence.
Both appalled and drawn by the frightening young man and his self-proclaimed mission to liberate people (incidentally and disconcertingly by cutting off their heads with a Katana, a Samurai's sword), Jakob propels himself for a roller coaster of reflection and revolt as he relentlessly pursues the SAMURAI through the night. There is something about the mysterious offender that strikes a hidden chord within him - threatening to unlock and reveal his own innermost demons...
DER SAMURAI tells a thrilling tale of fear, seduction, loss of control and liberation – a cautionary tale, if you will, about the precarious relationship between the conscious and the unacknowledged and about the consequences that ensue if you don't confront your inner monsters. The androgynous Samurai acts as a threateningly wild and untamed alter ego to Jakob's compulsively 'straight', dutiful self, confronting the young policeman with all the raw, irrational, antisocial and sexual urges that lie repressed and buried within him. It is the intense, almost romantic struggle for prevalence between those two seemingly antipodal characters that fuels DER SAMURAI’s fiercely beating heart.
As the film peaks to its zenith, when blood erupts in orgasmic geysers, heads tumble over asphalt and the village square is set ablaze by an all-consuming fire, the audience will find themselves shocked and exhilarated in equal measure by the small-scale apocalypse the Samurai has set forth in front and behind both Jakob's and our own eyes.
FUNDING OUR LOVECHILD
Unfortunately, the particular brand of thrilling, audacious and deeply personal genre cinema DER SAMURAI strives for has a hard time finding financial backing in Germany, where public film funding is mostly designed to fulfil the need of television channels for worthy and morally safe realist drama. Since DER SAMURAI has been deemed 'incompatible with the taste guidelines governed by public law' by TV commissioning editors early on, we knew right away that we'd be in for an uphill battle. But that only served to encourage us! :)
Even under those unfavourable circumstances we stood firm to our vision and passed on our enthusiasm, somehow managing to raise a substantial portion of our $150.000 budget, which is now held out in prospect for us by private equity, pre-sale distributors in Germany and the UK and a potential grant from the regional film board.
But here's the catch: we will only be awarded those finances if we can manage to raise the remaining $45,000 still missing from our budget and thus complete our financing.
Which means that we will have to gather all our strengths now to prevent DER SAMURAI from being stopped in his tracks at the very last moment!
AND THIS IS WHY WE NEED YOU
45,000 is a substantial figure. We are very aware of that. It is however severely needed in order to adequately put on display all the ambitious special make-up effects (gratuitous blood, decapitations and other fun stuff!), special fx, visual fx and stunt work required to convey the scope of the Samurai's rampage. Also, it will, among other things, afford us one of the film's star attractions: a trained wolf who will play a vital role in the link between Jakob and the Samurai.
Please don't let yourself be intimidated by our ambitious goal - even the smallest amount you can spare will have already helped us immensely to have reached our goal! Even if you can't afford to contribute, please spread the word among your friends to help us raise awareness for DER SAMURAI. We are incredibly grateful for any support and would be thrilled to welcome you on-board as a friend and supporter of the project!
If you would like to find out more about DER SAMURAI, our team and the progress that we are making, please visit our homepage at
or follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
If you would like to contact us with questions and remarks, please send us an e-mail to
We're looking forward to hearing from you!
I really hope that we can win you over to unleash DER SAMURAI onto the world together with us!
Thank you so much!
Till Kleinert is a 31-year-old German who was born and is based in Berlin, writer and director of up until now primarily short films which were successfully screened at many international festivals including Locarno, Oberhausen, Edinburgh, Sao Paulo, the German Fantasy Film Fest and Raindance London, and went on to receive numerous awards, most notably the Iris Prize for 'Cowboy' in 2008 and the German Academy Short Film Award (the German Oscar) for 'Kokon' in 2009.