The Munich/Berlin-based production house maze pictures has had a pronounced international approach to its activities since being launched by producers Philipp Kreuzer and Jörg Schulze in summer 2015.
British actor Rupert Everett‘s directorial debut THE HAPPY PRINCE heralded the new company‘s arrival on the international production scene: “It was our first calling card and showed that one can develop and produce large-scale and high budgeted feature films out of Germany,“ Kreuzer recalls, pointing out that the experience of working on this film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and the Berlinale in 2018, “provided the basis for the other films and series we are now producing and opened many new doors.“ In addition, the producing duo‘s achievement was recognised at the Bavarian Film Awards that year with the prize for Best Production.
Kreuzer and Schulze are not new to the world of production: as a trained lawyer and graduate of the Media Business School, Kreuzer had worked for international entertainment law practices before serving as a project manager at the pan-European co-production fund Eurimages in Strasbourg and then as a studio executive at the Bavaria Film Group for ten years from 2005, while Schulze had been Head of Production at Berlin‘s Cine Plus Filmproduktion for 17 years with credits on such films as Baran bo Odar‘s THE SILENCE.
THE HAPPY PRINCE has since been followed by other international feature film projects, ranging from the action comedy GUNS AKIMBO, starring Daniel Radcliffe, through Abel Ferrara‘s SIBERIA, and the martial arts film KUNG FURY 2, to a second collaboration with Ferrara, the war thriller ZEROS AND ONES, which received the Leopard for Best Director on its premiere in Locarno in August.
maze‘s international DNA can also be found in the TV projects it has been involved in so far such as the Italian drama series MALTESE set in Sicily, the English-language fantasy series HEIRS OF THE NIGHT, and the French high-end procedural THE CRIMSON RIVERS. The company has also adopted a similar approach for its Lucerne-based affiliate maze pictures swiss to develop online strategies and produce audiovisual formats for such cultural institutions as New York‘s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Kunstmuseum Basel and the Paul Klee Centre.
“We‘ve also been an international pioneer in innovative digital education formats, Maze worked with the Städel Museum on the further development of its innovative ‘digitorial’ mediation format and implemented it as a pilot format at several Swiss museums,“ Kreuzer notes. “And we‘ve worked successfully with the Migros Pioneer Fund on the digitisation of Switzerland‘s museum landscape. Since then, maze has developed and produced a wide range of digital content for many clients. Ultimately, it‘s our strategic definition of content creation and the desire to generate genuine synergies between our various activities.“
“We co-produce when it makes sense both creatively as well as financially, is on an equal footing and ideally as a co-development starting at an early stage,“ Kreuzer explains. With international studio productions such as KUNG FURY 2, for example, maze pictures handled the European end of the film‘s shoot and subsequently entered into a joint venture with its US producer Occupant Entertainment to co-develop new projects.
“However, our focus is on in-house development and the creation of our own IPs like HEIRS OF THE NIGHT and THE CRIMSON RIVERS or our digital ‘formats’,” Kreuzer says, adding that local commissioned TV productions such as Dominik Graf‘s POLIZEIRUF are also an important part of the mix as is fostering promising new talents such as Felicitas Korn whose debut feature PARTYNATION is now in postproduction.
Meanwhile, maze has plenty in store to whet the appetites of cinema and TV audiences alike in the future with its slate of projects currently in development including another major international production with Occupant Entertainment as well as new features by the Polish Sundance winner Michal Marczak and the Canadian avantgarde filmmaker Guy Maddin and the comedy TV series PAWNS by the husband and wife writing duo Lily and Michael Idov.