Thomas “Tom” Zickler, one of Germany’s most successful producers, died Monday following a short illness. He was 55.
Zickler worked with actor-director Til Schweiger on some of Germany’s most successful films of the past two decades. Overseeing production at Barefoot Films and Mr. Brown Entertainment, companies he ran with Schweiger, Zickler produced such hits as 1997’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” 2010’s “Friendship!” and 2014’s “Head Full of Honey.”
In 2017 he teamed up with Christoph Fisser, vice president and COO of Studio Babelsberg, to launch a new shingle, Traumfabrik. Zickler most recently produced a movie of the same title, “Traumfabrik,” a period-piece love letter to East Germany’s famed DEFA film studios, in Potsdam, which became Studio Babelsberg.
The new shingle marked a return to his professional roots. Zickler began his film career at DEFA, in what was then East Germany, in 1986, three years before German reunification led to the privatization of the studio.
“We are stunned, upset and deeply sad,” Fisser said in a statement. “The German film community has lost one of the biggest film producers and most passionate storytellers, who knew, like no other, how to inspire viewers. Cinema was his life. Far too soon we have to say goodbye to a wonderful man and longtime good friend. Our thoughts are with his son, his parents, the entire family and all the people who loved him as much as we did.”
Zickler and Schweiger established their first company, Mr. Brown Entertainment, in Berlin in the 1990s. They later formed Barefoot Films, where Zickler remained managing director until 2016.
At Traumfabrik, he also co-produced Markus Goller’s road movie “25 km/h” and Christian Alvart’s actioner “Steig. Nicht. Aus!”