The mist still lingers over the polo field on this chilly and damp late summer morning. While the sun still tries to break through the clouds there are already 8 players chasing across the field trying to hit a goal. Nothing unusual at the Polo Club Bayern in Thann nearby Munich, Germany, but today there is no ordinary audience watching the game from the sidelines. Today a film crew is present. They are shooting for the TV show „storm of love“ broadcasted on the network ARD viewed by more than 2 million audience a day.

Within the past 10 months the show also reached online viewers of 59,4 million. The series is produced by Bavaria Fiction GmbH. Polo plays an important part in the 16th season of the show. The leading male character Tim Degen (performed by Florian Frowein) is a passionate polo player. Therefore, the actor had to take riding and polo lessons. “It’s a fascinating sport. I really love it and might even have found a new hobby here” the actor states enthusiastically.

One can feel the tension of the film crew this day since the shooting of a re-enacted Club Chukka is not just exciting but also a great challenge. Organization is the key to everything. For this one day only, pre-production took over 3 months’ time. From the producer to the coordinating producer, from prop master to costume department. Everybody behind the scenes were involved to master the shoot.

Under normal circumstances the team uses 2 cameras but since the polo field is too large more equipment was needed. Therefore, a drone and a special car with a crane and a ricked camera were also used to cover the Chukka. The material that was filmed on that day was over 24 hours of which 9 sequences were edited in the end.

The producer wanted to capture the true spirit of the game and wanted to bring it to the screen. That was of the most importance. The audience should feel the excitement and see the elegance of a polo match. Polo has never been done in a fictional series before. So, it was a complete novelty within the German film industry. Without the help of the Polo Club Bayern and the Grabosch family the shooting could not have happened. They provided the players and horses for this day. Next to the actors they all played an important role.

The 4 sons of Kim Grabosch Paul (18), Anton (16), Emil (14) and Michl (13) formed one team – Los Indianos (https://www.instagram.com/los.indianos/?hl=de). They all started to play polo at the age of 4 and already won many tournaments. Now they gain some experience with acting. On episode 3271, 3276, 3279, 3280 and 3291 one can see them perform on the polo field together with Florian Frowein. (Aired in November 15,22,27,28 and December 16th).

 

Interview with Kim Grabosch

Kim: I have 4 sons. Paul, 18, who is preparing for his high school A-levels right now. Anton, 16 years old, Emil 14 and Michl the youngest of all is 13 years old.

Q: For how long they’ve been playing polo?
Kim: The boys started polo when they were 4 years old. They learned riding right after they were born, so to speak. We did it like the Native Americans. Basically, they take their newborns straight on a horseback to get them used to it and forge a lifelong bonding with horses. It’s not easy to excite boys for any equitation. But when boys start at a young age with polo and horse riding the connection last forever. For my boys, horses mean everything to them.

Q: Any successes so far to their credit?
Kim: At an early age the boys won the Copa Diamantitos in Argentina. At the children’s level no European team achieved this before. Currently they are two-time back to back champion in the German Amateurs and Youth Championships.

Q: Is this all your influence? Do you play polo yourself?
Kim: I never played polo. Actually, it’s all Anton’s fault. When he was a little boy, he wanted to become a cowboy. An Argentinean friend told us the real cowboys are the gauchos in Argentina. So, I took my family to Argentina for vacation and had a wonderful experience that we decided to stay for a longer period. Fortunately the Waldorf school in Munich back in Germany helped us to make this possible with a school exchange for the boys. So, we could live as a family with the gauchos in Argentina over 3 months. In the beginning, it was just about horsemanship. The boys didn’t get in touch with polo by then at all. This happened a bit later. Of course, playing the ball, the speed, the horses, the combination immediately caught the boys’ keen interest in polo. They were on fire for the sport.

Did I initiate this? That’s not easy to answer. Every dad has some ambition to provide something special for his children. But that’s not enough for the sport. One’s got to have a sense for horses and my boys do have that!

Q: How much does a real match differs from what we have filmed?
Kim: We didn’t do anything differently. Only, we interrupted the game or rather repeated some moves again for the cameras. The sequences were filmed pretty authentic. Nothing was manipulated or tricked. Of course, it helped a lot, that after training with my sons, the actor was able to take part of the game/match. Therefore, the polo scenes turned out very unique.

Q: Is the choreography on the field realistic? Do the players and horses really move across a polo field like this?
Kim: As I said before: we play real polo. No horse dummy, no stuntman, no green screen was used. Florian, the actor, plays real polo. And by the way, he turned out to be pretty good. He gets all the respect from my boys. Not everyone is capable to learn polo this fast and also connect to the horses.

Q: What was the biggest task while shooting for you and your sons?
Kim: For us as sportsmen and the “Los Indianos” family it was quite impressive to see how the crew welcomed us and the time and effort the production company invested. Just for one day of playing polo.

Q: How did the boys prepare themselves for the shooting?
Kim: We did what we always do. Get up early and prepare the horses for a match.

Q: How difficult was it to combine the speed of the sport yet having to focus on the filming? You always had to stop and start all over again.
Kim: For the boys, no problem at all. They would love to play polo all day long. But for the horses we had to make sure to change them after 15 minutes to ensure that they have enough breaks in between the filming.

Q: Any tournament coming up this year where your sons will compete?
Kim: Not anymore for this year. This year we won the German Amateurs Championship for the second time in a row including the German Youth Championship. On top of that we also achieved many high rankings at national and international tournaments. So, the horses need a break and some rest which we grant them until the next season. They enjoy and deserve their leisure time living in their herd on our land.

Q: Would you say that polo is a sport for everybody?
Kim: For sure. Once you try it, you will love it. It’s addictive. Of course, a sense for the horses is the basis for playing polo.

Q: Was there ever a situation when you were worried about your boys in a polo?
Kim: Worries? Never! But very grateful that nothing dreadful has happened so far to them during polo games.

Q: What makes a good polo player?
Kim: He needs to ride like an Apache (Red Indian) and play chess like Kasparow.

Q: Is there any tournament you would say this would be your biggest dream if one of your children would take part?
Kim: As band of brothers at the Palermo Open in Argentina.

Q: Compared to football where there are often controversial goal situations. What’s it like in polo? Do you have such disputes and discussions, too?
Kim: Everybody wants to win. But polo is a gentlemen’s sport. We have a code of honor. In the polo world we respect this code.

Photos: ARD/Christof Arnold
 
© Thomas Wirth