Interview with Simon Stefani, Founder and Managing Director of EVO7
“The BILSTER BERG is a spectacular background for filming”
EVO7 is a film production company that specialises in the automotive industry. That’s why you’ll often find them at the BILSTER BERG. Even before the circuit was built, they were already filming on the former site of the NATO military depot. Their latest project: the staging and filming of the Porsche Sound Night, also at the BILSTER BERG.
EVO7 GmbH was founded in 2005 by the two managing directors Simon Stefani and Mathias von Kurnatowski. As a film and TV production company, their services range from image and advertising films, product visualisations, social media content to interactive multimedia solutions and TV formats.
At the beginning, the focus was mainly on editorial contributions on the topic of cars as well as press and marketing content. In the meantime, EVO7 GmbH has specialised as a creative film agency in the automotive sector and works for a large part of the German automotive industry. This requires a highly specialised crew as well as technology. A self-designed CamCar is used for particularly high-quality productions. This is a Porsche Cayenne with a camera crane on the roof. Thus, the team can shoot driving footage at full speed and from all angles on closed-off tracks or race tracks.
High-quality equipment is important to both of them, which is why Simon Stefani and Mathias von Kurnatowski have founded another company in addition to EVO7: KTL Rental, a film camera rental company that, in addition to advertising film productions, also equips series such as “Tatort” and even feature film & cinema productions (e.g. Skrupellos and Wackersdorf).
The two got to know each other during Stefani’s job as editorial director at Motorvision in 2002. Mathias von Kurnatowski worked as an editor during that time and so there were one or two joint projects. It quickly became clear to both of them that they could make a great team together. Simon Stefani explains why the cooperation between the two directors has harmonised so well for almost 20 years: “Our skills simply complement each other perfectly. Mathias has the know-how in technology and I in storytelling. So we complete each other without getting in each other’s way. That is something very special.”
Early photographs at the NATO ammunition depot
In addition to producing films for car manufacturers such as Porsche, Audi or VW, EVO7 also produces TV features and its own TV formats. It all started with the classic car magazine “Klassik Mobil” on NTV and the classic car magazine “Classic Wheels” on Sport1. For the first episode of “Classic Wheels”, they even filmed at the BILSTER BERG in 2010. But since the circuit didn’t even exist back then, the footage shows the British NATO ammunition depot at the time. On the small connecting roads between the munitions halls, there was a Porsche 911 3.0l RSR competing against an Audi Quattro Rallye from 1984. The protagonist: Walter Röhrl, two-time rally world champion and race car driver, who was also significantly involved in the design and creation of the BILSTER BERG.
BILSTER BERG: the ideal location for filming.
Even today, filming regularly takes place at the BILSTER BERG, for example for the TV format “PS Automagazin” on NTV and the in-house programme “DRIVE” on WELT. For Stefani, the BILSTER BERG offers a professional environment with a challenging race track. “The Mausefalle is particularly spectacular. You can drive well at the limit and in drift at the BILSTER BERG. It’s definitely my favourite location for dynamic driving shots because the BILSTER BERG manages to show the character of the cars.”
Anyone who works in the automotive sector should also be automotive-savvy. When asked if he has ever taken the wheel himself, Simon Stefani says: “In fact, I often sit behind the wheel myself on various film shoots, for example for programmes or trailers. However, it is important to me that I have the appropriate vehicle control for this.” That’s why he takes part in driving safety training at regular intervals. “I’m not active in motor sports myself, but I definitely enjoy driving.”
“It’s important to know where your limits are. Tim Schrick is our driving dynamics expert, he regularly drives for the camera as part of our track tests, because no one knows how to drive a car – no matter which one – safely and spectacularly at the limit as well as Tim. And to philosophise about life along the way,” adds Simon Stefani.
The Porsche Sound Night
EVO7’s current project is also connected to the BILSTER BERG. On September 18, 2021, the Porsche Sound Night took place as a live online show. With them: Walter Röhrl, Hans-Joachim Stuck, Marc Webber, Timo Werner and many more. For this show, EVO7 was at the BILSTER BERG in advance to make recordings with very special Porsche vehicles. The trailers with Porsche 959 S, Carrera GT, Taycan and “Louise 911 Turbo” will flow into the live stream of the sound night. With a focus on sound, of course. “The Louise is a very special vehicle. Ferry Porsche gifted the prototype ‘Turbo Porsche No.1 ‘, as it was officially called, to his sister Louise Piëch for her 70th birthday in 1974. It was not until 1975 that the first vehicles of the model were officially delivered,” explains Simon Stefani.
For the future, EVO7 wants to combine the topic of cars with even more emotionality. “Special cars have their own unique character, and we want to emphasise that in our films. No matter whether it’s a high-revving naturally aspirated car or a vehicle with an e-drive. The feeling of driving pleasure must not be missing!” And the BILSTER BERG also features in EVO 7 GmbH’s future plans. “We would be delighted if we can come to the circuit even more regularly in the future for further track tests and other projects and continue this great cooperation,” Stefani concludes.