360-icon download left-arrow left-doublearrow nav-dot pdf-icon rss-icon search-icon spot-icon subnavi-icon close-icon info-icon

I know exactly what Fendt tractors can do and that they deliver what they promise.

Gerd Nefzer, Oscar winner, Germany

I know exactly what Fendt tractors can do and that they deliver what they promise.

From field to red carpet

For many years, Gerd Nefzer has provided special effects for action scenes in the film industry. In March of this year, he even received an Oscar in Los Angeles for his work on the science fiction film “Blade Runner 2049”. To get the right power on set, this qualified agricultural engineer likes to take a special vehicle to work with him: a Fendt tractor, which has even carried stars such as Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling.

Sometimes he can’t believe it himself, then he picks up the 3.9 kg gold statue and still has to pinch himself. “You won an Oscar,” he says to himself. “I, a farmer with a lower secondary school certificate, won an Oscar.” Around six months after the ceremony, Gerd Nefzer still struggles to grasp what happened on the evening of 4 March 2018 in the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, the evening on which he and his three colleagues were awarded the Oscar in the category of “Best Visual Effects” for the Hollywood film “Blade Runner 2049”. Unbelievable because the competition was tough, and he himself had not expected to be nominated. Also incredible because the 52 year old from Schwäbisch Hall had initially followed a quite different career path, that of a farmer.

As a child, he always spent the holidays at his relatives’ mixed farm near Heilbronn. He enjoyed working outdoors with animals, and of course tractor driving. He trained as a farmer and then studied agricultural engineering. His apprenticeship was served on an arable and pig farm in Öhringen near Heilbronn, and on a dairy farm in his home town of Schwäbisch Hall. It’s a period on which the cheerful Swabian looks back with great fondness, although he soon moved on from farming.

From field to film

It all started with his girlfriend at the time. Her father hired out vehicles and costumes to film productions. The farmer’s original plan was to just to help out his future father-in-law by managing vehicles and props for a threemonth project. Gerd Nefzer had thought ok, it’s only three months. Those three months became 31 years, and his girlfriend ended up as his wife. Today, his father-in-law’s prop hire company is a genuine family enterprise, with two companies specialising in special effects for film productions: Nefzer Special Effects GmbH based in Schwäbisch Hall and Nefzer Babelsberg GmbH based in the Babelsberg film studios. “A classic family-run firm with all the advantages and drawbacks, You often find in a farming business, too,” says Nefzer playfully.

The special effects artist really does have a blast in his work. Explosions, overturned cars, vehicle crashes, hail storms and blizzards – Gerd Nefzer is always on set when Hollywood needs spectacular effects. Effects which are created directly on set – real and with no computer animation. They are physical effects which often require lots of power to pull off, and that’s when the qualified farmer calls on his assistant to provide the power he needs.

Fendt tractor pulls “flying car”

A Fendt tractor alongside Hollywood stars? Not at all unusual when Gerd Nefzer is working on an action scene. He used his first tractor in 2008 for a scene in “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian”, when he needed a high-power hydraulic pump for his special effects. The slack from the electrically-powered pumps is taken up by the hydraulic pump which has been converted for the PTO. Since then, the Swabian has worked time and again on set with Fendt tractors, as in “Blade Runner 2049”. For the final scene of the science fiction movie, Nefzer and the 60-man team had to slowly sink a flying car that had crashed into the ocean. The scene was made possible by a reversing Fendt 724 Vario, which slowly sank the “flying car” into a huge tank of water with the aid of a tow rope.

For his international film projects, Gerd Nefzer rents the Fendt tractors and takes them round the world with him. “I have never used any other tractor for my projects,” says the 52 year old. Fendt tractors are a vital part of Nefzer’s work mainly due to the Vario transmission, the unique speed settings, power and EHS valves. “As in Blade Runner 2049, when you have Hollywood stars such as Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling in a flying car like this, you have to be able to rely on the technology. I know exactly what Fendt tractors can do and that they deliver what they promise,” he says. Apart from that, Nefzer admits that he is simply a Fendt fan. The next role for the tractor from Marktoberdorf is already in planning. A large wind machine will be hitched to the Fendt tractor and then set running. Even an Oscar winner cannot rest on his laurels, and so film sets everywhere will continue to echo to the words: “Here he comes again, the madman with the tractor.”