German filmmaker’s estate files Florida Chapter 15

Funds in a Florida bank account belonging to the late German filmmaker and Federico Fellini collaborator Gideon Bachmann are at the centre of a new Chapter 15 application, two years after he died seemingly bankrupt in Germany.

Peter Jost, a partner at Jost Rechtsanwälte in Stuttgart, applied to the Tampa division of the US Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida for recognition as foreign representative of Bachmann’s estate on 13 March.

Represented by Sequor Law, Jost is seeking US$495,000 held in two Bank of America accounts in Bachmann’s name to pay off debts Bachmann owed to eight creditors at his death.

In the Chapter 15 application, under which Bachmann is referred to by his birth name of Hans Werner Bachmann, Jost says the filmmaker’s creditors have US$12,617 in claims against him, an amount easily exceeded by the amount in the Bank of America account.

Bachmann, who died in Karlsruhe, a city in the south west German region of Baden-Württemberg, on 24 November 2016 at the age of 89, was born to a Jewish family in Germany in 1927 before emigrating to Tel Aviv in 1936 after the rise of the Nazi party.

He initially worked as a journalist for Haaretz, returning to Germany in 1947 to document concentration camps left by the Nazi regime.

The following year he began to study under the celebrated Dadaist film director Hans Richter in New York, moving in the 1960s to Italy, where he was a close friend of Federico Fellini, even creating a documentary film about the Italian director, Ciao, Federico!, in 1970. He also performed in a number of Fellini’s films.

His film output also included Underground New York, a 1967 portrait of the underground film movement in which he was a player, which featured rare films of Andy Warhol, Shirley Clarke and Allen Ginsberg. That moved him to direct A Camera Is Not a Molotov Cocktail in 1977, in which he explained his belief that film’s purpose was not to “convince the unconvinced” but to provide solidarity for people of shared views.

He also performed in films, including for Fellini and his own 1983 film Peppermint Peace.

He returned to Germany in 1996, and in his latter years worked as a film critic for a US radio programme, also establishing and editing periodical magazine Cinemages.

The District Court of Karlsruhe appointed Jost as liquidator over Bachmann’s estate in November 2018, two years after his death.

In the US Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida

  • Chief Judge Michael Williamson

Counsel to Jost

  • Sequor Law

Partner Gregory Grossman and attorney Amanda Finley in Miami

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