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It was in November 1996 when I came across the idea of a haunted forest story for the first time. Encouraged by amazing feedback I had developed this further and after interruptions a script got optioned by a production company in 2001 and was presented as “Otherworld”. Further drafts and developments followed with an important translation in 2003 and a new approach in 2008 and newer developments – as the important Forest Dark Redemption script 2012 – over the last years till 2016.

Since the early beginnings the plot of the story centres around the same core idea: a successful young woman, a lawyer, gets a long distance call from her mother that her younger sister disappeared in the notorious haunted woods surrounding their remote village. The young woman returns home and starts a search with the local police commissioner and a treacherous guru type as her guide and they walk into the lonely mountains. Soon they feel the power of place and become entangled and threatened by the deadly cosmic force residing in the Dark Forest.

It was soon very obvious that this project was different from any other material or movie I had worked on mostly due to some very intense reactions people had. Nevertheless it seemed impossible to get it produced despite a lot of promising feedback. Of course there were weaknesses, but what’s special is that this forest horror story seemed like a living being which wanted to be explored and discovered. It was more like a message I got from another realm which had to be encrypted.

As I said this is a story “based on true events” the other way around: It turned out that things started to take on a development of its own. Events in real life which seemed to somehow induced by the forest horror story and events occurred which shaped also the on-going development of the feature film project.

Perhaps it sounds strange because often projects are either got realized or producers and artists give up. In the case of the Forest Dark it turned out that the very nature of the story demands long-term development. Both people who were creatively involved as readers were touched by something nearly indescribable, like an invisible force, and as a writer I often felt close but haven’t completely unravelled the secret.

Therefore my role models became scholars or scientists who do long term research – I know about a weather researcher who conducted an experiment over 30 years until there was a breakthrough, and I heard about scholars of the Bible who spent 12 and more years to understand specific chapters in the scriptures.

I want to give the audience an original forest horror story which reveals a deeper truth. Today I am looking forward to get not only my story into production but to enlarge this much further as a crossmedia project on different platforms.

With a unique approach both in development and production I am positive to make this an outstanding movie and both technically and creatively a fresh and unique experience.

Peter Engelmann

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