The Beginning


Karl May
KarlMayKarl May [1842 - 1912] was born in Ernstthal Germany, he was the fifth child of a poor family of weavers. Shortly after graduation, when his room mate accused him of stealing a watch, May was jailed in Chemnitz for six weeks and his license to teach was permanently revoked. After this, May worked with little success as a private tutor, an author of tales, a composer and a public speaker. In 1865 to 1869, May was jailed in the workhouse at Osterstein Castle, Zwickau. May became an administrator of the prison library which gave him the chance to read widely. For another four years, from 1870 to 1874, May was jailed in Waldheim, Saxony, there he met a Catholic Catechist, Johannes Kochta.

After his release, May returned to his parents’ home in Ernstthal and began to write. In November 1874 Die Rose von Ernstthal (“The Rose from Ernstthal”) was published. May became deeply absorbed in the stories he wrote and the lives of his characters. Karl May’s popularity lies mainly in his adventurous stories set in the Old West America, with his main protagonists Winnetou and Old Shatterhand.

His works have been translated into more than 30 languages and although May only visited Asia and the Orient in his late years, his first person narrative and accurate details about the places and people in the novels give the reader an impression of actual experience. To date May remains the most prolific and admired German author with over 200 million copies of his books sold worldwide.

"Winnetou - The Beginning" is the first film in a Western Trilogy based on the intellectual property published by our publishing company Nemsi Books.


Together we achieve that which no one can achieve alone.

Angelia Baldwin

Executive Producer

Angie has spent twenty five (25) years as a manager in the corporate business world. She is the cofounder of Nemsi Books. In 2010 she joined the film industry and has earned the respect of many industry professionals for her tenacity and organizational skills

Cathy Smith

Costume Designer

Cathy is an Emmy Award Winning Costume Designer Known for: Dances with Wolves, The Missing and Commanche Moon.

Freddie Kaydahzinne

Mescalero Apache Consultant

Freddie is the grandson of the great Apache Chief Cochise who currently resides in Mescalero New Mexico. He will be teaching the actors the Native Apache dialog used in the film.

Tommy Spottedbird

Kiowa Consultant

Tommy is deeply rooted in his culture, still speaking his traditional language and is very knowledgeable of the traditional customs. He will be teaching the Native Kiowa actors how to speak the proper Kiowa dialog.

John Hoernschemeyer


An Alum of both Hollywood's ScreenwritingU, and Scott Myers' Master classes, John is a writer and producer of edgy, character-driven stories, who works both independently and in the context of his role as Director of European Operations of the US Production Company 'Have Not Films, Inc'. His drama feature Mujo was one of six international projects recently chosen for the 2016 International Capalbio Future Storyteller Lab, with mentorship from Colin Trevorrow, director/writer of Jurassic World and of the upcoming Star Wars: Episode IX, before being subsequently selected to represent the Lab at the MIA International Audiovisual Market of the 2016 Rome Film Fest. John's screenplays have also placed in prestigious competitions such as the PAGE International Screenwriting Awards and the Austin Film Festival, and his thriller 'Chilling Truths' won the Louis Mitchell Award for Excellence in Writing at the 2015 Action on Film Festival in Los Angeles. Another of John's interests, the exploration of innovative story formats and cross-media technologies, resulted in the development of the German/US transmedia mystery series 'Lostfriesland'. Destined for the mobile generation, it explores interactive storytelling through the use of multiple media platforms, immersing the audience in the story. The unique concept aroused such interest in Germany that the German TV channel NDR filmed the 'making of' the proof of concept teaser. As an independent Producer, John has participated in the development and production of a number of shorts, including the award-winning drama, 'Fragile Storm', starring Lance Henriksen, before venturing into the production of features. Among his current projects, he is producing Robert Cavanah's feature 'Invisible' starring recent Scottish BAFTA winner, Kate Dickie, and co-producing the documentary 'There's a Hole in My Bucket', with the participation of Peter Jackson and Ian McKellen.

Michael Michalak


A German born, Australian citizen residing in the United States of America where, in 2001, he founded the Nemsi Books Publishing Company that specializes in the unabridged English language translations of Karl May’s original works. In 2010 Michael and his partner Angelia Baldwin founded the Winnetou Productions Media Company with the intent of producing feature films that are true to Karl May’s work, yet honor the American Indian Culture. Their close contact with the actor and activist Russell Means gave them an invaluable insight into the traditions and customs of these people. Michael wrote the first version of the screen play based on Karl May’s original and polished the work in collaboration with John Hoernschemeyer. His knowledge of Karl May’s original works and understanding of Karl May’s psyche ensures that the screen play and the production will be true to Karl May’s intent.

Karl May’s stories have been popular throughout the world for the past one hundred and twenty five years.

While there have been many films and television shows produced on the Winnetou story, the audiences around the world still crave to see a new authentic Winnetou film.

Our production will be the first film ever produced in the very land this story took place, with authentic Native Americans playing their perspective roles. The audience will experience what it is like running free on the open prairie with the wild mustangs and the sheer force of the massive bison as they thunder across the valley.

The Story

In 1910, Karl Friedrich May, now a renowned German author, is nearing the end of his life. He contemplates his many literary works, among them the first person adventures of a young German man who discovers the still-wild American West and its native inhabitants before it is overrun by the white man. These are the tales of Winnetou, the young Apache Chief and spiritual brother of Karl who is better known as Old Shatterhand; they are the fables born during his four years (1870-1874) of confinement in the Waldheim penitentiary.

Karl’s body is incarcerated but his mind is free to wander. He escapes the confines of his cell through his imagination, and the creation of an alter ego who, as a young German immigrant arrives in St. Louis in 1864. He is to be a teacher but his talents are recognized and redirected. He is hired to be a surveyor for the fledgling AT&SF Railway Company. Chaperoned by a wily frontier scout, Sam Hawkens, and his trusty companions, fellow scouts Will Parker and Dick Stone, Karl discovers both the awe inspiring wonders and inherent dangers of a land that is yet unspoiled by the white man.

Karl hears horrific tales of savages that inhabit this vast land, but he soon learns that in this penultimate year of the American civil war, the white man is far from the paragon of civilization he claims to be. Brutality, racism and immorality accompany the relentless quest for conquest and profit in the name of progress. Justice is a distant illusion, and survival depends on the speed of a man’s draw or the power of his fist. Karl understands only too quickly that the invisible ‘injuns’ are far from his only worries. A fight with Rattler, the belligerent leader of the uncouth frontiersmen that accompany the surveyors, not only earns Karl the nickname ‘Old Shatterhand’ but also the enmity of Rattler and his men. Karl is lucky that Sam, Will and Dick watch his back as he does the survey work that the rest of the apathetic team loath to carry out.

Considering that Karl is a ‘Greenhorn’, Sam sets out to teach him the skills needed to survive and become a frontiersman in his own right, only to discover that Karl has many hidden talents. On his first bison hunt, Karl risks his own life to save Sam from being trampled to death, proving himself to be a skilled marksman. He again saves Sam from embarrassment when the latter attempts to catch a wild mustang. Karl’s life however changes forever when Rattler’s men are attacked by a grizzly bear and he risks his own life in an attempt to save one of the grizzly’s victims. Little do the white men realize that this incident is witnessed by three Mescalero Apaches, Intshu-tshuna, the chief, Winnetou, his son, and Klekih-petra, a white ‘preacher’ of German origin who lives among the Mescaleros as a teacher. Revealing their presence, they express their admiration of Karl’s deed but also their indignation at the white man’s invasion of their land. The Surveyors are given the choice of leaving in peace without finishing their work or remaining as enemies. Unfortunately, Rattler’s racism and inebriation make the decision for them when he insults Winnetou and fatally shoots Klekih-Petra, who with his dying words implores Karl to continue his work and protect the Mescaleros, and in particular his spiritual son, Winnetou, from the doom that the white man’s arrival announces.

Klekih-petra’s murder seals the Surveyors’ fate; death is now only a matter of the time it takes for the Mescaleros to return in force. Fortunately, a lucky encounter with a band of Kiowa, currently in conflict with the Mescaleros, gives them hope, and a trap for the Mescaleros is planned. During the subsequent battle, Intshu-tshuna and Winnetou are captured, but Karl, respecting Klekih-petra’s last wishes, manages to free both Winnetou and his father whilst remaining anonymous. Enraged, the Kiowa chief, Tangua, decides to kill the remaining Mescalero prisoners, but again Karl intervenes, accepting a fight to the death with the Kiowa champion in order to save the prisoners. Just as Tangua reneges on their bargain, Winnetou and Intshu-tshuna return with reinforcements. The battle between the Mescaleros and Kiowas is ferocious and without mercy. In their midst, caught in the indiscriminate bloodbath, the white men fight for their lives. Severely wounded and knocked unconscious, Karl is captured along with the surviving Kiowa and white men, Sam, Will, Dick, and Rattler for whom the Mescaleros reserve a very special treatment.

Karl eventually regains consciousness in the Mescalero’s village, nursed by Winnetou’s younger sister, Nsho-tshi. However, he is fated to recover only to fight for his life and the lives of his companions, Sam, Will and Dick. As for Rattler, he is destined to suffer an excruciating death for his murder of Klekih-petra. By the time Karl has regained enough strength to do battle; his relationship with Nsho-tshi has developed into a mutual attraction that is complicated by him learning that he must fight her father, Intshu-tshuna. Through a ruse Karl succeeds in winning the combat without killing Intshu-tshuna, while simultaneously proving that he saved both Winnetou and his father from the Kiowa, which gains him the respect of the tribe.

Now adopted as Intshu-tshuna’s son, Karl decides to stay and learn the ways of the Mescaleros, fulfilling Klekih-petra’s wishes and cultivating his relationships with both Nsho-tshi and Winnetou, who is persuaded by his sister that she would make a good wife for Karl. Headstrong, Nsho-tshi also convinced her father to let her discover the ways of Karl’s people, and especially their women. All agreed, except Karl who is reluctant to expose the young maiden to the racist culture of the white man.

Accompanying Karl to St. Louis to deliver an uncompromising message to the railroad company, the troop that is comprised of Winnetou, Intshu-tshuna, Sam, Will and Dick, as well as an escort of Mescalero braves, encounters a group of Southern renegades lead by a man named Santer. Sensing that there is more to this heterogeneous band of Mescaleros and white men than meets the eye, Santer and his men trail them to Nugget-tsil, the mountain of gold, where they ambush Intshu-tshuna, Winnetou and and Nsho-tshi. Karl comes to the rescue, but arrives too late to save Intshu-tshuna and Nsho-tshi, who dies in his arms after imploring her brother to avenge her death. Whilst Santer’s men have been killed, Santer managed to escape ...

The hunt for the murderer begins…


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Nemsi Books

NemsiBooks Nemsi Books was founded in 2001 for the sole purpose of publishing and promoting the works of the much loved German author Karl May who has never been given a real chance in the United States of America despite the deep morality that plays such an important role in his tales. The publishing company’s mission is to create an awareness of this great author and his deeper message contained in his writings. A message that speaks of peace and of unity for all mankind. A message that has so often been ignored by past translators. Nemsi Books is thus proud to be the only English language Publishing House in the world to present the unabridged English translations of Karl May’s original “Traveler’s Tales.”