Project image
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€735
pledged of €40,000pledged of €40,000 goal
11
backers
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Apr 8 2017
€735
pledged of €40,000pledged of €40,000 goal
11
backers
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Apr 8 2017

About

What's this project about?

Travel with us and Helmut to Salzburg, Paris, Rome and Ischia, the stations that let us tell his personal story – a story of a world wide known actor with a controversial reputation and a unique state of mind. In our documentary film we're accompanying this great storyteller reflecting the different stages of his life, as someone who has experienced "everything".

Who is Helmut Berger?  

The older generation will think of Helmut Berger as the bisexual muse of Luchino Visconti, a 1970s icon... the most beautiful man in the world. But he was far beyond then beautiful - he was extremely talented and worked with international stars like Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Caine, Kirk Douglas, Al Paccino, Dirk Bogarde and - of course - Romy Schneider. Both had their origins in Austria, and both were international stars, in fact. They worked together in Ludwig II, directed by Visconti, where Berger embodied the tragic Bavarian king in a powerful performance.

Berger was also a highly demanded photo model and was photographed by Victor Strebneski, David Bailey, Helmut Newton, Andy Warhol, Bryan Adams, Francesco Vezzoli and Daniel Josefson to only name a few. He was the first male model on the cover of Vogue ever.

 

It is hardly surprising that he had and still has a huge impact on other artists, musicians, and filmmakers. Madonna called him an idol, and they worked together on one of her books, and he made an appearance in her music video „Erotica“. In Christoph Schlingensief’s film „Die 120 Tage von Bottrop“ from 1996 the question „Where is he, Helmut Berger?“ is asked about every five minutes. In popular culture, he is known as Peter de Vilbis from the long running TV-series „Dynasty“. The film „Mad Dog Killer“ had quite an influence on other filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino who is showing snippets in his film „Jackie Brown“ where Berger is angrily slapping Marisa Mell with a newspaper. 

The younger generation may only know him from latest headlines that show Berger in a different and disturbing light. In 2013, he participated in the German version of „I’m a Celebrity... Get me out of here!“ where he had to leave after a couple of days due to health conditions. Although he was always known for his eccentric lifestyle and his waywardness in talkshows and such - the image created via internet and (social) media, that brutally memorizes his moments of weakness, where he lost his temper and self-control due to health problems and addiction - is by no means sufficient.

 

But who is Helmut Berger really? 

How does it feel to live one’s life torn between those extreme images created by the public? With „Damned Man’s Speech“ we are going on a documentary journey together with Helmut Berger himself.

To understand Helmut Berger’s development, we need to go back into the early 1970’s where his popularity started. Aged only 25years, he starred in Visconti’s „The Damned“ (1969), which was not only his international breakthrough, but also a ticket into a life of decadence and jet set. Helmut lived his intense homosexual relationship with Luchino Visconti very much in the focus of the public eye. Regardless that homosexuality was not socially accepted at that time. Although Helmut Berger and Visconti lived a marriage-like relationship (as well as director and muse), Helmut was neither financially secured nor even accepted by Visconti’s family as his partner. But Visconti continuously indulged his spoiled and eccentric lover for 12 years, until he succumbed by a stroke in 1976. With Visconti’s death, his family declared Helmut a „persona non grata“. Visconti’s family did everything to get rid of Berger as quickly as possible. Even at Visconti’s funeral, Berger faced difficulties to lay down a bouquet of gardenias at his lover’s coffin. The family told Helmut that Visconti’s testament was gone - which assured that Helmut would not inherit anything. Prior to this, Visconti had reportedly told his lover that Helmut would never have to worry about money in the future.

After Visconti’s death, Helmut lived by himself in Rome desperately trying to compensate for his loss with drugs, alcohol, and work. One year after Visconti’s death, he even attempted suicide to rid himself of his emotional torment.

For the next 20 years, Helmut Berger continued living in Rome until he had to move out of his apartment due to financial reasons. He moved back to Salzburg, and lived there with his mother who passed away 7 years ago. To this day, Helmut lives off a small pension in the same apartment he shared with his mother.

Helmut Berger is an exceptional interesting conversationalist and it is our pleasure to let him tell his own story. Our role as filmmakers is to follow his lead. What remains when the actor’s mask falls? We will not take the easy way out by making another scandalous report about Helmut Berger. This film will be a lively but also profound look back on an incredibly life with humorous insights into the world of glamour and the film industry of times past.

Dear Kickstarter Community, Film Lovers, and Helmut Berger Fans

We need your help to raise $40.000 at least. This is the minimum to finish the shooting and the postproduction of our film. Goes without saying, but if we could raise more money from Kickstarter, we would be able to produce in a higher quality, and we would be able to obtain the rights to use archive footage.

How It Started  

In March 2015, Bettina received a Facebook message that a new documentary about Helmut Berger was going to the Venice film festival. Curios about Helmut Berger, she did some internet research about his life - and the results totally took her by surprise. She had known the actor’s films and his reputations from her youth, but she was shocked when she saw the trailer „Helmut Berger, Actor“: It showed an older man in a very bad shape under the influence of drugs/alcohol masturbating on camera. She realized that it was about time to make a sincere documentary about the actor’s extraordinary life. Bettina talked to her daughter Valesca - a professional editor and author. Together, they invented an idea on how such a film could look like. Then they worked out a treatment, which Bettina wanted to show Helmut Berger in person. In June 2016, she met him in Salzburg to discuss the film project. And he liked it! „The Damned Man’s Speech“ was born.

The Shoot

During the past year, we filmed Helmut in Paris talking about life, fame, and beauty. We also captured Helmut watching the play "The Damned“ at the theatre "Comédie Francaise“ and his meeting with Christoph Montenez, a young actor playing the same role Helmut did in 1969. In February 2017, we went to Salzburg to talk with Helmut about his memories growing up there.

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Extract from the footage: "Helmut Berger talking about respect." See more short clips on https://www.facebook.com/helmutthedamned

The Holdup  

After the last shooting, the film was put on hold because we need more money to continue filming. We really would like to use some archive footage, and we would like to pay the people who helped us so far.

The Promise  

We have promised to pay Helmut a salary, and to share 33% of the profits with him. We also would like to finance Helmut’s biggest dream, a final trip to Ischia. He wants to see La Colombaia again, which is the house where he spent his happiest time with Luchino Visconti. Italy will be his emotional journey. There, he wants to talk for the first time about his love and the Viscontis. We would really appreciate your help and thank you for your time!  

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    THE CREW

    DIRECTOR /SCRIPT / EDITOR 

    VALESCA PETERS

    • born 1982  
    • Film and Television Academy - HFF "Konrad Wolf" Babelsberg gradutate Editor working as a freelancer since 2006

    IDEA / SCRIPT/ PRODUCER  

    BETTINA VORNDAMME  

    • born in 1957 in Germany 
    • currently working as a CFO at GISMA European Business School. From 2000-2008 she had been a financialcontroller of Berliner Synchron AG. Prior to that, she was employed as project controller at the film production company Artemedia AG Potsdam.

    DIRECTOR PARIS 

    ELINE GEHRING

    • born 1984
    • Student dffb in Berlin

    MUSICAL COMPOSITION

    DAVID MINOR

    DISTRIBUTOR(S)

    So far we have received a Letter of Intent from https://www.indierights.com/.

    THE REWARDS

    PARTY IN BERLIN

     

    SIGNED FOTO FROM HELMUT BERGER IN PARIS

     SIGNED COFFEE Table Book

    SIGNED POLAROID with a DEDICATION

     

    THE BOOK ( Schwarzkopf Verlag )Helmut Berger - Ein Leben in Bildern with a personel dedication

     

     

Risks and challenges

The film is 50% finished. We already shot great footage in Paris, France Salzburg, Austria and Nordsehl, Germany and we have the skills to make a great film - the only thing we need is your support!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge €5 or more About US$ 6

    Entry on Backer Wall

    Find your name (first name plus first letter of last name) on the wall of fame on our website www.helmutberger.org.
    Access to our Comments and Updates pages Name on our backer wall
    Thank you for your support.
    Every little bit helps.

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    Pledge €15 or more About US$ 17

    A POSTCARD FROM The Damned man´s speech

    A personalized postcard direct to your mail box.

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    Pledge €25 or more About US$ 28

    EARLY DIGITAL DOWNLOAD

    You'll receive an DIGITAL Download after the main festivals of the film before it's available to the public.

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    Pledge €50 or more About US$ 55

    BERLIN PRIVATE FILM SCREENING

    Prior to the release of the film THE DAMNED MAN´S SPEECH you and a guest will be attending a private screening of the film in Berlin (travel and accommodations not included). The filmmakers and cast will be there for a Q&A.

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    Pledge €150 or more About US$ 166

    T-SHIRT THE DAMNED MAN´S SPEECH

    You'll also receive a THE DAMNED MAN´S SPEECH T-Shirt and a later DOWNLOAD of the film after publishing the film on festivals.

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    Pledge €180 or more About US$ 199

    SIGNED PHOTO FROM HELMUT BERGER IN PARIS

    Signed Photo from Helmut Berger behind the scenes.
    You'll also receive later a DOWNLOAD of the film after publishing the film on festivals.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge €250 or more About US$ 277

    Signed COFFEE Table Book

    You will get a SIGNED COFFEE TABLE BOOK WITH HELMUT BERGER from our Shooting in Salzburg or Paris and a thank you in the credits.

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    Pledge €500 or more About US$ 553

    SIGNED POLAROID with a DEDICATION

    A dedicated POLAROID from Helmut Berger behind the scenes and a thank you in the credits.

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    Pledge €600 or more About US$ 664

    Book with a personal dedication

    The Book from Schwarzkopf Berlin
    Helmut Berger- Ein Leben in Bildern with a PERSONAL DEDICATION.
    Text in German, English, Italien,French

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    Pledge €1,000 or more About US$ 1,107

    Premier and Beer in Berlin

    You are welcome to the PARTY" LOOKING LIKE HELMUT BERGER" with ten tickets in Berlin. The best "Helmut Berger" in town" will be elected by Helmut Berger himself and will be honored with a signed Polaroid. Enjoy it to be a part of the community.

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    Pledge €2,000 or more About US$ 2,214

    ASSOCIATE PRODUCER

    ASSOCIATE PRODUCER credit in film and on IMDB.
    You'll also receive a later DOWNLOAD of the film, TWO TICKETS to THE PREMIERE in BERLIN (travel and accommodations not included) and a thank you in the credits.

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    Pledge €3,500 or more About US$ 3,874

    CO-PRODUCER

    CO-PRODUCER credit in film and on IMDB.
    You'll also receive a signed 24" x 36" THE DAMNED MAN´S SPEECH movie poster, a POLAROID from a shooting with Helmut with a personal sign, a later DOWNLOAD of the film, TWO TICKETS TO THE PREMIERE or screening of your choice (travel and accommodations not included) and a thank you in the credits.

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    Pledge €5,000 or more About US$ 5,534

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER credit in film and on IMDB.
    You'll also receive a signed 24" x 36" THE DAMNED MAN´S SPEECH movie poster, a POLAROID with you and Helmut Berger, a later DOWNLOAD of the film, TEN TICKETS to the PREMIERE OR SCREENING IN BERLIN (travel and accommodations not included) and a thank you in the credits.

    *The Filmproducers reserve the right for final approval

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Funding period

- (30 days)