Saturday, December 29, 2012

Living The Steiff Life On German Television

If you love something, why not share it with the world?  Especially when it comes to Steiff!  Over this past summer, Steiffgal had the once in a lifetime experience of working with a TV crew from Germany on a half-hour television documentary about Steiff collectors and the Steiff Summer Festival, which is held the first week in July every year.  The program ran on German prime time television in mid-December.  

You can click here to see the show Perhaps you will recognize a face, or two, or three! Even if you do not speak German, it is quite entertaining.  After all, the love of Steiff is a universal language we can all understand. 

Petra Peters at the 2012 Steiff Auction
The documentary was produced by Petra Peters, a talented and experienced film maker.   She and Steiffgal really hit it off, and Petra agreed to be interviewed about making the film.   Come and learn a little about her, and what it takes to make a program which millions of viewers will see!

Steiffgal:  Tell us a little bit about yourself: Your name, where you live, and your profession.

Petra:  My name is Petra Peters. I am 44 years old and I live outside of Hamburg in the countyside of Northern Germany. I´m a film director and author and as for this I have been working for German Television for 20 years now.

Steiffgal:  Are you interested in Steiff? If so, do you have a collection, and if you do, tell us a bit about your collection. 

Petra:  Actually I just have a few Steiff animals, which my parents gave me, when I was a child. And then I have this little, sweet pony, which you gave to me. After making this film, I am really considering to build up a collection step by step. I think it is such a nice hobby and passion.

Steiffgal: How did you come up with the idea of making a documentary about Steiff and Steiff collectors?

Petra:  I read something in the Internet about the Summer Festival in Giengen. And then I searched online for further information and I found Carsten Eßer and his company Teddy Dorado. After a few interesting and funny talks on the telephone, I was sure, that this would be a beautiful great subject for a film. I thought, that there might be a lot of crazy, interesting, and passionate Collectors and Steiff Enthusiasts coming to Giengen in the summer. And this from all over the world and the Teddy bears connecting them all together. What a wonderful story!

Filming in the Steiff Sales Tent During The Festival
Steiffgal:  Who did you choose to feature in the film, and how and why did you choose those particular collectors?

Petra:  First of all I connected Carsten Eßer. It was pretty clear soon, that he would take part in the film. He gave me several contacts to collectors in Germany. I choose the Eichel family, because they live with Steiff animals for more than three generations and they are completely crazy about Steiff. Furthermore they have a very exclusive collection at home. Then Carsten told me about you and your friends coming the long way from the USA to this year's Summer festival. What a gift and luck for the film, I thought. Carsten then recommended you to be a part in the film, as you have a very special collection, too, and your whole life is Steiff. And, you are of course an open-minded person and a real Steiff expert.

Steiffgal:  How did you study or prepare for the filming and interviewing?

Petra:  I read a lot and studied everything about Teddy bears and their collectors I could get. Internet, books, and so on. I visited the Eichels and also Carsten Eßer and we talked a lot. You and me, we talked on the phone and we Skyped.

Steiffgal:  What were some of the surprising or unexpected things you saw or learned about Steiff during the filming process?

Petra:  I was very surprised, that the worldwide connection really works out. You met so many friends on the festival – that was amazing. I think I never met such a lot of crazy, but very likable people in such a few days. We really had a great time. And we learned that collecting Steiff is a real passion and love.

Steiffgal:  Looking back, what was your favorite moment overall during the Steiff filming process?

Petra:  There were so many favorite moments, so many. For example: To see, how the Eichels live with their collection. Then, when your arrive and you meet Carsten for the first time. Or, when you meet your friends on the festival. And, of course Othello: A beautiful bear. And the auction was very exiting.

Steiffgal: How do you decide what ends up in the film and what ends up on the cutting room floor?

Petra:  That was the most difficult thing. The film can not be longer than 30 minutes at the end. During the editing process we first had a version that took 90 (!!) minutes. So we had to shorten it more and more. I had to separate from good pictures – that wasn´t easy. At the end I decided for the almost best scenes and those which are important to tell the story.

Steiffgal:  How long does it take to go from the raw footage to the finished project?

Petra:  After the shooting I always have to watch picture by picture and make lists about the raw footage. That takes about three days. Then the editing and finishing (including speaker and voice over) takes about 10 more days.

Steiffgal:  Petra, many thanks for your time.  It was a pleasure to work with you on this project!

Steiffgal hopes this interview with Petra has made you feel like a TV star!

Have a question about one of your Steiff treasures? Let's talk! Click here to learn more.

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