“The essence of the film lies in the phrase “it’s not all about you!” and dogs help us to realise this”
So said WUFF director Detlev Buck (BIBI & TINA). Since it’s not all about us humans, some introductions to the real stars of the show are in hand. And who better to do them than the trainer of the dogs herself, Carola Conrad?
Carola has been in the business since 1988 and works in equal measure for cinema, TV and theatre. Dog-training is her speciality, but she also works with chickens, cows and even pigs. According to her, every dog in WUFF is different, with a unique nature. Moreover, the dogs have leading roles in the film and carry the story forward at crucial moments: “Buck has formed real characters, both from people and dogs”.
Meet the four-legged stars of WUFF
Breed: Schnauzer cross
Age: Probably 2 years old
Character: Inquisitive, loyal, charming
Life: After an intense search, Carola met the half-breed in Poland. He seemed to be a stray, who has repeatedly run away from his owners. Bozer was immediately very open and responsive, except for when he took advantage of the slightest pause in filming to try and make a getaway. This is a quality he has carried through into the film. A lot of training was necessary in order to avoid him making a run for it on shoot.
“Ella’s dog Bozer loved doing the action scenes. The scenes in the wood were particularly exciting for him, where he calls the ranger for help, in order to rescue Ella. He has to run between two cars – in the front the car with the camera and Carola, and behind the car with the ranger. Bozer has to be very precise with the timings, although this was only in the second week of filming. I was really proud that he managed it! Even if he had just had to run the hut and bark at the door to fetch the forester, that would have required a lot of concentration! I think he feels like Lassie!”
Real Name: Toshi
Breed: Saint Bernard
Age: 8 years old
Character: Reliable, loving, clever, confident
Life: Toshi came to Carola at the age of eight weeks. Carola actually wanted to find a female from a fresh litter, but Toshi pushed his way to the front and signalled, that he was ready to begin his film career. He didn’t need much teaching: after a year and a half he began his work with the children’s series LÖWENZAHN, where he delighted children for six years at the side of Fritz Fuchs (played by Guido Hammesfahr).
“Toshi, the good-natured dog of Cecile and Max, brought his experience and calmness to the family scenes. Nico, Cecile’s son, could really play with him, lolling around with him and hugging him as much as he wanted – Toshi always stayed relaxed.”
Breed: Great Dane
Age: 2 years old
Character: cuddly, greedy, inquisitive, cheeky
Life: Elfriede was meant to be a breeding dog, and was discovered for the film when she came to Carola’s dog-school. She was very headstrong, jumping over tables and benches, and didn’t like being alone. She was searching for new challenges. These she found in WUFF, her first film role. She is not exactly the cleverest, but her appetite is legendary which makes it relatively easy to get to learn something new when you’ve got treats at the ready.
“For Elfriede, the shoot with Katharine Thalbach in the hospital was huge fun. Both characters got on well, and are a bit crazy so their interaction was really funny and full of life.”
Real Name: Marnie – names after a film by Alfred Hitchcock
Age: Nearly 3 years old
Character: Clever, uncertain, likes being on set
Life: Marnie came with her owner to Carola’s dog-school. WUFF is her first feature film. It was Marnie’s beauty, above all, that captured Carola. And it then turned out that she was keen to join in.
DCM will be bringing WUFF to German cinemas on 25. October 2018, and to Switzerland on 01. November 2018.