Entertainment15 January 2023
Written and directed by: Fabienne Hurst and Andreas Spinrath
Creative Producer: Teresa Messerschmidt of BTF Bildundtonfabrik
Executive Producers: Matthias Murmann and Philipp Käßbohrer of BTF Bildundtonfabrik
Editing: Nathalie Bartel, Johannes Hiroshi Nakajima, Florian Böttger
Coming to Netflix on January 20, 2023!
Berlin, January 16, 2023 – Amid two robberies, multiple court cases, a prison sentence and numerous witnesses, one name keeps popping up: Donald Stellwag.
New images provide a glimpse into the true crime feature film that tells the incredible story of Donald "Big Mäck" Stellwag—a story that is both tragic and peculiar. For the first time, he tells his own story in front of the camera. Guilty or innocent? That’s the question.
Fabienne Hurst and Andreas Spinrath wrote and directed BIG MÄCK: Gangsters and Gold.
Fabienne Hurst on the idea for the film: “We read the Wikipedia entry about Donald Stellwag and thought: What an incredible story! Our first research revealed that Donald Stellwag had disappeared. Someone said that he had fled to Italy. Someone else thought he was dead. We contacted every person who might know him and really got on his former lawyers' nerves. Several months later, the phone suddenly rang: ‘Stellwag here; you wanted to talk to me?’”
“We quickly realized that we had to check each of his statements, get copies of the judgments, find witnesses. Stellwag is a fabulous storyteller, but he tends to embellish details,” recalls Andreas Spinrath. “He’s been successful at that for years. So, that is what we decided to focus the film on: The power of a well-told story.”
BIG MÄCK: Gangsters and Gold, coming to Netflix on January 20, 2023, was produced by the Bildundtonfabrik company, which has also produced titles like How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast), King of Stonks and Shiny Flakes. In BIG MÄCK: Gangsters and Gold, cellmates, childhood friends and business partners give us a comprehensive picture of Donald Stellwag.
About BIG MÄCK: Gangsters and Gold
Donald Stellwag is an outsider: He is bullied and moves away from his small Bavarian hometown to Frankfurt, where he descends into drug addiction. In the early nineties, just as he’s getting his life under control, he’s linked to a bank robbery by the German TV program Aktenzeichen XY. They describe the perpetrator as “very tall and noticeably obese.” Just like Stellwag. A controversial expert witness convinces the judges of Stellwag's guilt based on an analysis of his earlobe, which they claim is distinctive. Despite his alibi, he is convicted and spends nine years in prison. Less than two weeks after his release, he finds out that the real perpetrator has been caught. Stellwag is exonerated—and becomes an absolute media sensation. However, when a gold transporter is hijacked near the A81 highway and 1.8 million euros worth of gold is stolen, everything changes. The ringleader of the heist, notorious gangster rapper Xatar, gives a revealing testimony in court. The gold thieves and their victims have one thing in common: They all know Donald Stellwag. Has he now committed the crime for which he’s already served time in prison? Has this made him the avenger of his own fate?
About BTF Bildundtonfabrik
Founded by Philipp Käßbohrer and Matthias Murmann in the Ehrenfeld district in Cologne, BTF celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. Under Philipp’s and Matthias' creative and content management, BTF has won numerous prizes for various made-for-TV show formats, series, documentaries, promotional films and video games in its relatively short history. This includes winning the renowned Grimme Award 12 times, eight German Television Awards, two ADC Awards, the German Comedy Award and the German Computer Game Award.
Journalists Fabienne Hurst and Andreas Spinrath have both worked together with Bildundtonfabrik numerous times, including for the documentary series docupy: Ungleichland, which won a Grimme Award in 2019.
In addition to her work as a journalist, Fabienne Hurst is also a fiction writer (King of Stonks, Netflix). As an investigative reporter, the primary focus of Andreas Spinrath’s most recent work has been producing documentaries for German networks WDR and ARD.
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PR Specialist DACH