The True Snow White is a novel by Harald Walter Azmann, based on the classic tale as published by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, and the original screenplay by Harald Walter Azmann, Conny Hart, and Hartmut Zingel.
Harald Walter Azmann, born on March 13, 1960 in Klagenfurt, Austria lives with his family near the mountains, lakes and forests of their beautiful land.
Growing up, like many of the baby boomers, with cartoon pioneer Walt Disney’s children- and family entertainment, and a 1978 graduate of Orem High School, Utah he continued to Brigham Young University to study television- and film production.
That summer, he was invited to visit Los Angeles where he first saw Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope by legendary filmmaker George Lucas in a high tech movie theatre near Disneyland. It was there and then that his first ideas concerning The True Snow White were conceived.
Other filmmakers to leave a lasting impression in years to follow were Steven Spielberg, particularly with his 1982 box office hit E.T., surpassing Star Wars to become the most financially successful film released to that point, as well as Jim Henson and his ingenious Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.
After returning to Europe, he became one of the General Managers of a multi-million dollar German/Czechoslovak joint venture with Barrandov Film Studios, Prague in 1987, funded by German investors and high profile KPMG, one of the “Big Four” auditors, supervising all financial operations.
This allowed him not only to get in touch and work with some of his favorite TV and movie heroes from his childhood, but also to continue defining his vision of bringing timeless, high quality fairy tale productions to the movies.
In 1991, veteran German cinematographer and screenwriter Hartmut Zingel was hired to collaborate on The True Snow White first draft, contributing much of the beauty and regal atmosphere of the opening scenes up to Snow White’s encounter with the Seven Dwarves.
And thanks to Conny Hart, co-contributor of the early stages of the script, the transcendent and deeply emotional dream sequences and dialogues between Snow White and her deceased mother were added in their initial form.
All of which enjoyed Hollywood development executive Christopher Vogler’s extraordinary appreciation in his 1995 story analysis:
“Thank you for the opportunity to review your screenplay for ‘Snow White’. As someone who has evaluated many adaptations of fairy tales, I can say that this one comes closest to the spirit of the original tale and to the feeling of fairy tales in general.
You have also expanded on the tale, as is necessary in making a film adaptation, by exploring the character development of Snow White. The Dwarves have a more elaborate function as mentors and teachers for her, giving her wisdom and guidance. This gives your version a unique dimension and some strong themes to support the well-known tale.
The opening scenes do a great job of establishing the good Queen and the atmosphere of the court. The Music Box is a lovely touch that makes the influence of the dead Queen tangible and emotional. The scene between father and daughter is also very moving.
The Stepmother youthening herself in the bath is very eerie and effective. There’s something charming (and also horrifying) about the motherly way the disguised Stepmother combs Snow White’s hair. The final images are terrific – the fireworks, the starry sky, and the fully blossomed rose. They give exactly the right feeling.
Part of the pleasure of adapting fairy tales is getting the chance to give logical answers to the questions raised by the original tale. Here you’ve really done a beautiful job with symbols and scenes that fill in the blanks intelligently. The use of these devices fleshes out the scant details in the original story in a thoughtful, emotionally effective, and highly visual way.
You and I have come to the same conclusions about some of the inner meanings of the tales. One is that the spirit of the dead mother often hovers invisibly over these stories. You have captured this in a great scene with the Queen’s spirit visiting Snow White, a transcendent moment. The Queen’s words could serve as the theme of the piece: ‘To pass through fear is the only way to find yourself.’
This is an exciting project with great potential to bring new depth to the beloved story of Snow White. The Dwarves are charming and clever teachers for Snow White in her spiritual and emotional quest. The combination of contemporary ideas and loyalty to the original spirit should prove attractive to audiences all over the world, and I know you will bring the best production values to the work.
Good luck with this project – it has the potential to become a classic that rediscovers for a new world audience the magic of the original tale.”
(Excerpts from the script analysis by Christopher Vogler, consultant of Disney productions like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King, regarded an expert in the field of mythology and fantasy)
However, the Czechoslovak Velvet Revolution in 1989 and the subsequent abolishment of all of the iron curtain in 1991 both fundamentally changed German investment strategies and Barrandov Film Studio’s repositioning in the free market.
Harald Walter Azmann continued as freelance producer for German children’s television. Hartmut Zingel also moved on to other projects. And Conny Hart visited the Canary Island of La Gomera, where she fell in love with and married retired English folk singer Tim Hart, best known as a founding member of electric folk band Steeleye Span.
Thus, the completion and eventual novelization of their original screenplay, but most of all the exploration of the Seven Dwarves’ astounding characters and Snow White’s time with them, remained with Harald Walter Azmann for years to come, until they were ready to proceed into the world.
Three of the first 100 comments:
Camellia, London: Fairytales are universal. The ancient art of storytelling has been around since the beginning of time, and the messages of these legends are still as relevant as they have ever been. It would be great to have more films where good triumphs over evil in our world today. And while I enjoy cartoon fairytales, I feel their basic values are forgotten when they are shown this way. The True Snow White brings the original story of the Brothers Grimm back to life again. And it’s like real storytelling on the big screen! ● Rena, New York: I am fascinated by how The True Snow White has opened itself up to a worldwide audience for feedback and suggestions, which creates a truly global vision for the classic story, and will ensure the project’s universal relevance and appeal. Snow White has already proven to be a much loved, timeless tale. But The True Snow White takes it a step further, and the honest human portrayal of all its characters whilst keeping the elegance of a genuine fairy tale is really inspiring. A true gem! ● Elisa, New York: What fascinates me most about The True Snow White is how the original story has been expanded. It’s no longer seen through the naive eyes of Disney characters whistling while going off to work and baking apple pie. Rather, Snow White is transposed into a real world, where fantasy is still a main component of the story, but the line between the historic world it takes place in and its fairytale aspects is blurred. The audience will be able to relate much more to this new version, seeing genuine emotions played out in front of them, like hatred and love, in a tangible way that will draw them in. No cartoons, just the story of a young girl’s coming of age in a world different from our own, but one we can step into. And that’s why I am so passionate about the work this project represents, and would love to be a part of it.