RTL is doing a big project on the Johannes Erlemann case

RTL Germany wants to process the Johannes Erlemann case with a feature film, a documentary, a podcast and a book. It is considered one of the most spectacular kidnappings of the German post-war period. “For me, this project is a vital work that I have been working on for ten years,” says Johannes Erlemann. “During this time I realized how important it is to share this story, I consider it a great privilege, despite the dramatic events of the time, to have familiar perspectives on the relationship with each other and to be able to exchange them in dialogue. . “


On March 6, 1981, eleven-year-old Johannes Erlemann, the son of multimillionaire investor Jochen Erlemann, was abducted on his way home from Cologne and held captive in a dark coffin-like box. He was finally released after 16 days and handed over a ransom of three million marks. The four kidnappers were able to escape, but were caught two months later and sentenced to between three and ten years in prison for extortion.

Because memories of his abduction still haunt him to this day, Erlemann decided to retell them in detail using photographs, files, and recordings still unpublished. RTL Germany has secured the relevant rights for him. The implementation also includes Veronica Ferres, who will produce the feature film, documentary and podcast with her company Construction Filmproduktion. “Without Veronica Ferres, I would not have been willing to reveal everything unconditionally,” said Erlemann. “Through a fatal encounter a few years ago, not only did I gain a friend, but Veronica is also one of my closest confidants.”

“I am particularly pleased that we, as a small, independent production company, managed to gain the trust of Johannes Erlemann and RTL Germany,” says Ferres. Also on board is Oscar-nominated director Marc Rothemund (“Sophie Scholl”, “My Blind Date with Life”), for whom it is the first television feature film in 20 years. Ahmet Tan is in charge of the camera, Beatrice Huber and Marcus H. Rosenmüller wrote the screenplay. The accompanying documentation is being created in collaboration with eitenlsonnenschein, the production company of director Lutz Heineking jr. The publication of the cross-genre project is scheduled for next year.


Sascha Schwingel, Deputy Head of Television and Entertainment at RTL Germany: “The story of Johannes Erlemann is absolutely extraordinary. It is the story of a boy who flew to St. Tropez or St. Moritz on a private jet at the weekend and suddenly had 16 days kept imprisoned in a box, which he finally leaves with a 600 mark win from the game of poker with his captors.It is the story of a kidnapped child – but it is also a story of great fighting spirit and willingness to survivors.the story that inspires courage.We would like to thank Johannes Erlemann who trusted us to show it to us.And we are pleased that we at RTL Germany can offer him the opportunity to reproduce it in all genres and in all its aspects. “

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