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Cult-Wild West adventure “Winnetou” (WT) reloaded: Beta Film/RTL/RatPack shoot high budget drama in Croatia


Aug 26 2015

Munich, 26 August 2015. German star producer Christian Becker (“The Wave”, “Suck Me Shakespeer”) and Beta Film join forces to bring a myth back to life: The stories of Karl May’s Apache chief Winnetou and his companion Old Shatterhand. 50 years after the last Winnetou adventure kept a whole generation glued to the screen, director Phillipp Stoelzl (“North Face”, “The Physician”) starts shooting the three-part high-budget drama for Germany’s RTL in Croatia and Cologne/ Germany. Beta Film is co-financing and handling the world sales.

The books of Karl May’s Winnetou western cycle are the most successful German adventure series ever. They have sold over 200 million copies worldwide, making Karl May, an adventure writer around 1900, who actually never visited the West, one of the most famous German authors of all time. The fame and success of the books were further cemented by the classic 1960s cult Winnetou feature film cycle.

In Winnetou (WT, 3x90’), the legendary friendship of hero Old Shatterhand and of the Apache chief Winnetou is reimagined as an exciting reboot, given a modern-day treatment as an emotionally moving and fascinating adventure journey through the American West. The scriptwriters are Jan Berger („The Physician“) and co-author Alexander M. Rümelin („Volcano“, „Transporter“).

A favorite among women and men alike, the versatile actor Wotan Wilke Möhring („Hindenburg”, “Valkyrie”) plays ‘Old Shatterhand’, the up-and-coming international shooting-star Nik Xhelilaj ("The Albanian") assumes the role of ‘Winnetou’, the multi-faceted and outstanding Milan Peschel ("Open the Wall") will be seen as ‘Sam Hawkens’ and the Mexican Iazua Larios (Mel Gibson's "Apocalypto") as ‘Nscho'Tschi’. Alongside them are brilliant actors for the villains such as Jürgen Vogel ("The Wave"), who begins to make the heroes' life difficult as ‘Rattler’, Fahri Yardim ("Almanya") and Matthias Matschke ("Grand Budapest Hotel") all set off for Silver Lake and Italian cult actor Mario Adorf ("The Tin Drum", "Nights, When the Devil Came") is returning as ‘Santer Sr.’.

The TV event is signed by Rat Pack’s Christian Becker ("Vicky the Viking", "The Wave ") and Christoph Müller ("Sophie Scholl", "Young Goethe in Love!"). Co-producers are Matthias & Felix Wendlandt/ Rialto Film (whose company produced the Winnetou feature films from the 60ies), Dr. Marcus Englert, Mythos Film and Tabbenoca. Responsible for RTL are Philipp Steffens ("Deutschland 83") with Brigitte Kohnert and Nico Grein.

The films are funded by the Film- & Medienstiftung NRW (North Rhine-Westphalia), Bavarian FFF FilmFernsehFonds Bayern and HAVC Croatian Audiovisual Centre (Hrvatski audiovizualni centar).  

As to the film music, the producers were delighted to attract cult composer Martin Böttcher to this project with his beloved and world-renowned original Winnetou melodies, which will be newly arranged and interpreted by Heiko Maile ("The Wave ", "Turkish for Beginners“).

Beta Film will present the first images at this year’s MipCom in October in Cannes, RTL will broadcast Winnetou in 2016.


For further information:

Beta Film Press, Dorothee Stoewahse
Tel: + 49 89 67 34 69 15,,

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