From award-winning production company RAW (The Tinder Swindler, Three Identical Strangers, Don’t F**k With Cats)?comes an enthralling and atmospheric feature documentary that delves into one of Europe’s most chilling?murder cases and explores the ongoing efforts to solve this inconceivable crime.??
40 years ago, ten-year-old Ursula Herrmann left her aunt’s house in the?Bavarian village of Schondorf, Germany to ride home on her bicycle.? She never arrived. Her disappearance set in motion a horrifying case of kidnapping and killing that, four decades later, continues to haunt Ursula’s family and the nation.??
Ursula’s body was found nearly three weeks after her disappearance, in a box in a nearby forest. She had been buried alive with a pile of comics and some sweets, then left to suffocate while her kidnapper attempted to extract a two million Deutschmark ransom (about $750,000 at the time).??
At first it seemed that the killers?would be quickly caught, but it took a further 30 years for a suspect to be charged and convicted. A former TV repairman named Werner Mazurek was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2010 for kidnapping and killing Ursula Herrmann, a conviction that was based on very little circumstantial evidence and which many continue to question.???
The documentary will transport audiences back to the evening of 15 September 1981 as Ursula Herrmann pedalled her bright red bicycle along a lakeside path before turning up a small track into the woods. This film revisits the dramatic events that followed: the ransom notes, the haunting phone calls, the manhunt, the discovery of a box buried deep in the forest and the eventual arrest of a suspect.??
Bringing the story right up to date, the documentary will follow the continuing efforts being made by Ursula’s own brother Michael Herrmann, along with a group of armchair detectives, to discover the truth behind Ursula’s killing.? Sound experts,?linguistic profilers, investigative journalists will uncover tantalising new evidence that casts doubt on the safety of Mazurek’s conviction.??With?the?specialists’ extraordinary?new?findings,?and?with?access to Werner Mazurek as he serves time behind bars, this film will journey to the heart of the investigation and ask: Is he innocent?.??
Halo provided full Picture and Sound Post Production.
Flame Online Editor, Tom Young says, “I always love working with old footage and archive materials that bring a sense of reality to a story that’s being told. For the Ursula Herrmann documentary, we were fortunate enough to have access to much of the original archive footage, crime scene photos and police documentation that surrounded the event. The challenge was to restore and present these materials in a way that’s both creative and distinct while remaining sensitive to the fact that this was a real event that affected the lives of real people. It’s a brilliant film that sheds some much needed light on a horrific crime. The whole team really came together here to create a beautiful documentary – although after our final watch-through I definitely needed a large cup of tea and a hug.”
Director, Gareth Johnson says, “Overall I was really impressed with Halo. I’ve had very good experiences with Halo before over the years. The post team were excellent: Paul Koren did a lovely grade. Tom Young – a pro in the online. He listened and found creative solutions. Gerrit Swanepoel did a great job with the audio. Lovely team from runners upwards. We felt well supported throughout“.
Exec Producers: Keeley Van Dyke / Liesel Evans
Director: Gareth Johnson
Producer: Marcella Gasche
Editor: Hamit Shonpal
Online Editor: Tom Young
Sound Team: Tom Forster / Anna Sulley / Sam Castleton
Post Producer: Jon Osborne
Sales Exec: Will Garbutt
The Child In The Box airs on Sky Germany 3rd Nov at 8.15pm