Top German producer and longtime Constantin exec Martin Moszkowicz has revealed his concerns over “growing anti-Semitism’ in Germany and anger over the muted response from the country’s cultural scene in the wake of the October 7 Hamas terror attacks on Israel.
The Resident Evil producer broached the subject in a recent interview with Munich-based newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung to mark his upcoming departure as chairman of Constantin Film after 10 years in the role, and a total of 30 years at the company. Current Deputy Chairman Oliver Berben will take on the Chairman role from March 1, 2024.
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Moszkowicz, whose film and theatre director father survived Auschwitz but lost most his immediate family in the Holocaust, said he had been “outraged” by the silence of the German culture sector in the immediate aftermath of the Hamas attacks, which killed at least 1,139 people, most of them Israeli civilians.
“It was one of the most depressing times I’ve personally experienced, first of all the Hamas attack and everything that followed, including the fact that there was no really good idea of how to end this conflict,” he said in the interview which has been translated from German.
“I was also incredibly annoyed and surprised that there was virtually no reaction from the German cultural scene – and then only after a few weeks’ delay. I was particularly surprised in our industry, as the film and television world is usually quick to speak out when injustice happens somewhere in the world. I would have liked clearer, more explicit words, also against the growing anti-Semitism in the country.”
Moszkowicz also revealed that he sporadically receives anti-Semitic hate mail, and suggested that people were becoming bolder about openly expressing anti-Semitic beliefs.
“I’ve been getting hate mail for many years. If you publish this interview, I can be absolutely sure that I will receive disgusting messages in the coming week,” he said.
“My father also received anonymous letters, at times, the BKA [the German equivalent of the CIA] had to protect our house, but people preferred to keep their radical views hidden. Today, people stand behind their verbal attacks with clear names or recognizable emails. But I’m not afraid and remain an optimist. I try not to let it get too close.”
Moszkowicz said his father had remained faithful to his German homeland.
“My father was a great reconciler, a German Jew who loved the German language… As a family, we also tried to live in Israel, but he didn’t feel comfortable there in the long term.”
The producer said he did not regard himself as a religious person but had gotten close to the Jewish faith during his time in the U.S. in the 1990s.
“The Jewish life in Los Angeles fascinates me, including the liberal synagogues where origin doesn’t play such a big role,” he said.
Süddeutsche Zeitung touched on highs and lows of Moszkowicz’s 30-year career at Constantin, which he joined in 1990 at the behest of late owner Bernd Eichinger, who put him in charge of Germany while he set up operations in L.A.
“Those were wild times with Bernd, money was always tight, we were often almost broke,” said Moszkowitz, citing hits of the period, such as The House Of Spirits, Smilla’s Sense Of Snow and The Most Desired Man, which contributed to the company’s renown.
He suggested the past decade had been less rocky, pointing to the 75M admissions and $700M gross generated at the German box offices by Constantin’s Suck Me Shakespeer, Manitou’s Shoe, the Franz Eberhofer police detective comedies and the Resident Evil franchise.
On the lows, Moszkowicz described the death of Eichinger following a heart attack while they were lunching at Cecconi’s Italian restaurant in West Hollywood in 2011 as the “worst day” of his life.
“Suddenly he collapsed at the table over his plate. At first, we thought it was a joke. But it was a sudden cardiac death. The ambulance was there in a few minutes… but Bernd never woke up. That was terrible,” he recalled.
The interview also tackled Moszkowicz on his handling of allegations of misconduct against actor and director Til Schweiger on the set of 2023 box office hit Manta Manta 2, which reportedly included the leading man turning up under the influence of alcohol and getting into a physical altercation with a member of the production staff.
Moszkowicz acknowledged that Constantin had failed to ensure that everyone on the film had a “positive experience” but added the company had put measures in place to prevent this happening in the future.
“On the day things got out of hand, an executive at Constantin forbade Til Schweiger from starting the shoot, so there was a dispute. We did what a good employer does by protecting the crew. Til Schweiger has also apologized for this. I very much hope that he gets his personal problems under control. Something like this must not happen again.”
He said that a code of conduct had already been in place at Constantin prior to the Manta Manta 2 incidents but suggested that such rule books could not guarantee good behavior on set.
“It’s like the Ten Commandments, that’s where you want to go. It doesn’t mean that adultery no longer exists,” he said.
Andreas Wiseman contributed to this report.
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