1995: On a cold February morning Torsten „Turtle“ Schulze and Barne Peters agree to produce a surf video: „Brainstorm“. And they also decide to set up a company. Paging through an English dictionary they find what they were looking for: „Tonic“ stands for strength and „x“ connotates extrem sports activities. Friends of the two joke about „Tu nix“ (German for „good for nothings“), in reference to what Torsten and Barne call work being what most of us call leisure activities. And so be it, that our Friends borrowed cameras from Offenen Kanal Kiel and began scanning the Northern German coastline.
Come Autumn and going get´s rough: three days before the official premiere in a Kiel Discotheque, their sole computer crashes. Of course there are no back-up copies available, and so begins 72 hours of non-stop total recall. They manage to finish the master tape just as the first guests arrive at the party, and they rush the tape in Mad-Max fashion from Lübeck to Kiel.
1996: The box office returns from „Brainstorm“ are about level with the positive critiques from the press. The returns from a concert cut for the German band „Lecker Fischbrät“ are enough to finance the purchase of a new camera; one of the first legendary Sony VX1000 for a very „special“ price. The next small production job is for a new surf and windsurfing event: the Soulwave in Kittmøller, Denmark. A cold autumn storm provides for perfect production conditions The later world champion Francisco Goya and Josh Stone invite the Tonix guys to Hawaii,
The birth oft he next production „Soulwave – The Movie“ is born. Sören Schulze is appointed equal partner. They put together all of their savings, and together with a group of 8 Kieler surfers take off for Maui, Hawaii. The only one missing was Barne; unfortunately, he didn´t know that he needed a passport until the day of departure. Hardly in surfers paradise, our motly crew proceed to crash one of the rental cars, which of course is not insured. On 11 November 1996, in „Jaws“ Barne films the young Robby Nash is he first windsurfer to prevails against a great wave. The rental car crash no longer poses a fincnacial problem.
Post production began three weeks later in Kiel in a backyard shed in the Herderstraße 4. They needed winter coats, wool caps and gloves because of shed only had a small gas stove.
1997: At the international bost show „Boot“ in Düsseldorf, the film „Soulwave“ is a top seller. Finally there is enough money to grow the business. A 2 x 8 meter „Work-marine“ is rented in the Kieler Ringstraße. These tight quarters housed office, video cut table and stockroom. The range of videos sold is expanded to include outside windsurfing and surfing productions. The daily trip to the local post office now pays off. The first TONIX-footage in national TV appears on MTV, VIVA, RTL2 and RTL.
1998: At the „Boot“ in Düsseldorf, Roberto Ricci awards TONIX with the contract fort he productions of the first PR/Image video: „Charge“, filmed in Hawaii. Starring in „Charge“ are Robby Seeger, Josh Angulo and Anders Bringdal. „Turtle“ underscores his ability as cunning cameraman in the rough waves off Hookipa, and even braves the dangerous waves on a jetski.
The Kiel office moves into larger quarters across the street. The basement facility with 80 sq. Meters costs 480 DM/month. Customers can now select from more than 140 extreme sport videos. And with the second windsurfing video „Star Trip“, the company is truely becoming something along the lines of a serious company. A real dream contract
1999: Inspired by the success of „Charge“, the Quatro Maui Hawaii founders and windsurfing stars „Jason Prior“, „Sean Ordonez“, „Keith Teboul“ and „Francisco Goya“ finally agree to the production of their Image/PR video „4Play“; the true dream-of-a-lifetime video contract! The team works hard to assemble a brand new, waterproof miniature video cam for Helmet mounted video clips.
Meanwhile in Kiel, Philipp Brandt, the forth man in the team ensures that the video catalogue sales run soomthly, and the E-Commerce side of the business keeps on rolling.
In the Sommer of 99´Tonix produces a number of dfferent TV clips of the Windsurf World Cup taking place in Feuteventura. Following this is a new production contract von Fanatic entailing three weeks of promotion at Exztremesport venues throughout Europe in a camper . One oft he many highlights are the snowboard videoclips.
2000: The year the New Economy bubble burst. The wake of the turbulence following the economic recession had ist affect on Tonix, and the Ringstraße crew worked hard to put together it´s first real business plan. The hiring of a new management partner, the film producer Jan Willem Wulff and their new managing director, Dirk „Buddy“ Rübesamen are the first in the process of achieving a carefully planned expansion. Shortly thereafter, the financing plan is completed for the newly founded Tonix Pictures GmbH. These steps finally ensured the requisition oft the equipment required to produce top quality films.
The Windsurf World Cup on the Ilse of Sylt and numerous television productions ensure a continual work load. In the late Fall, Junior Producer Henrik Pabst joins the TONIX Team, followed by the move to the new corporate HQ in in the Lorentzendamm Villa in Kiel.
2001: As the highlight at the celebration party celebrating the opening of the new corporate headquarters in the Lorentzendamm Villa, Tonix flew Francisco Goya in from Hawaii for massive party at „MAX“ disco attending by a crowd of 1500. To meet the growing demand , the Tonix Hawaii team spends a full 5 monthson the island. Numerous productions keeps the team on ist toes. By August the team has grown to 13 fulltime employees. In addition, Tonix takes on apprentices fort wo new professions: Media Designer for digital printing and commercial specialist for audio/visual media.
2002 TONIX produced 56 sequels of „Stoke“ for DSF and business with commercial hits to the likes of „Jackass“ and „Steve-O“ continue to grow. In the period from 1995 to 2003 Tonix gains an industry-wide name as the best German production firm for watersports, and it´s stature continues to grow in Europe and Hawaii.
2003 Klasing Publishers asks TONIX to organise their 25th Anniversary party. This ist he start of the Fehnmarn Surf Festival, a surf trade show for end users, which by 2006 attracts some 20,000 visitors. For TONIX this means the start of a third tier of business along with video productions and distribution; Event management.
2004 After nine years of work together , Barne Peters and the Schulze brothers go their own ways. Barne leaves the company and Torsten and Sören Schulze each take a 50% share in the company. Around the same time, direct distribution virtually explodes prompted by EBay and a growing range of products.
2005 Tonix organizes the Quicksilver Iniciative, a nature- and environment-protection class for kids in List / Sylt, Germany. Same time a DVD “FWD Hawaii” is in production, featuring Kauli Seadi, himself top teamrider of a local surfboard brand, becoming wave-champion the first time in his career.
2006: 11 surf-superheros, 9 cars, 2 Jetskis and a 5000km long roadtrip through West Australia. “Wild Tracks” premieres early 2006 in Munich.
2007 TONIX produces three wind surfing DVDs, a bike DVD, and ist he organiser of 3 major events, produces television footage fort wo Eurocups, six Windsurfing and Kite Surfing World Cups and shis a whooping 15,000 parcels directly to endusers throughout Europe. Adding together all the households reached by TONIX business activities in direct sales and distribution, Television services and DVD production in 2007 alone, it is estimated that productions from the „home-boy“ company reached an audience of some 492 million viewers.
2008: steady growth since Tonix’ incarnation in 1995 brought a new stage of consolidation. Sören Schulze is about to launch www.cliplister.com and is getting more and more out of operative business at Tonix Pictures. DVD direct-shipment is outsourced and Fashion & Hardware distribution decreased till close-down in 2011. Now TV-Production Services for established watersport events is the main business of Tonix, as well as the production of educational eater- & extremesport footage.
2009 The mountainbike education-movie “Besser Biken 2” hits the stores, featuring Stefan Hermann in the the Alps, and is shown for Warsteiners SnowShow in Ischgl, Saalbach und Sölden. Also cool: Quicksilver was kind enough to let Tonix manage their Wild Water Day on Sylt.
2010 “Powerlearning Windsurf” & “Powerlearning Kitesurf” are born. They feature Dirk Muschenich in Egypt. On behalf of Red Bill Media House “Ice Speedway” in Sweden, Insell and Russia is produced for Servus TV. Now: Straight to Aruba, Windsurf Worldcup.
2011 Torsten discovers a „Surfers Manual“ written by an old friend surf bum from the good old days in Sylt. Out of this grows a film project fort he coming winter season „Surfing with Frihof Gauss“ and is aired the next Spring. Red Bull sends Turtle together with Björn Dunkerbeck, Aron Headlow and Ruben Lenten to Gran Canaria to produce a sequel fort he TV series „On the Looase“.
2012 17 year old Phillip Köster, born in Hamburg and raised on Gran Canaria wins the World Championship in the top windsurfing discipline, Waveriding. Tonix in contracted by VW´s Act Agency to produce a video diary with Phillip in Denmark, Sylt and the Canary islands. In addition, Branding clips are produced at the Worldcup venues in St. Peter Ording and Sylt for Jever Brewery, VW, Camp David fashion and Lufthansa.
2013: Tonix completes its business consolidation and in the Winter Torsten Schulze and his wife Ann-Katrin and their kids Leo and Merla complete a 10 episode pre-school programme for the KIKA Childrens channel for SWR Broadcasting in Germany. Ann-Katrin Schulze Schröder has experience working as a writer and moderator for RTL and NDR Television, and also worked as a freelance author for Tonix. The series „Mein Bruder und Ich“ (My Brother and I) will be broadcast in Germany and across Europe starting 12th August 2013. And as TV service providers the Tunix GmbH Television Broadcast company will begin worldwide coverage of the Worldcup championship venues in Kitesurfing in St. Peter Ording, Sylt and the SUP Worldcup in Hamburg.
2014: During the winter month Torsten Schulze and his wife Ann-Katrin and their kids Leo and Merla complete 6 episodes of pre-school programme in South Afrika for the KIKA Childrens channel. This time the kids go shark diving, on savary, they visit elegator and oistrich farms and dance with the Xnosa a South African native tribe. The Program is to be aired in November. The other Highlight this year is the kick of of the Midsummer Bulli Festival on Fehmarn. This event is all about mobile Freedom and the celebration of midsummer, the shortest night of the year in northern europe. About 400 traditional VW Camper Vans are parked, livebands play and the nicest VW T1 to VW T5 are crowned on a big stage. This event is organised in Cooperation with Pauls Büro. Paul, the CEO of Pauls Büro was functioning as project manager for the SURF-Festival and will now be partner with TONIX for the Midsummer Festival for years to come. Tonix continues to produces Windsurf Worldcup Sylt, SUP Worldcup Fehmarn, Kitesurf Worldcup St. Peter Ording and Red Sea Kitesurf Worldcup as well as 4Peaks, Bike-Festival Riva / ITA and Willingen / GER.
2015: Uhh Lord why don`t you buy me a Mercedes-Benz…. Well we made around 12 Clips for Mercedes Benz this year and still sing this song. Besides this I crossed the Alps following 1000 Mountainbikers on the Bike Transalp, we filmed for Vodafon, Pringles, GP JOULE, Panasonic and Jogi Tea. The Surf-Festival moved back to Fehmarn to break records concerning the number of exhibitors and spectators. The Midsummer Bulli Festival was booked out in the 2nd year in a row already month prior to its start hosting more then 800 Bullies in the end. We celebrated our 20 year anniversary in devotional silence and spent the winter in the Caribbean producing small clips for different barbadian commercial operations.
2016: Windsurf World Cup Sylt, Kitesurf World Cup St. Peter-Ording, SUP World Cup Scharbeutz, Highlight Emotion Clips for Mercedes-Benz, we did it again and again.
2017: We spent the winter on Barbados producing Clips for local businesses. In summer our focus is on the big water sports events in Germany and in the end of the season we produced the Lighthouse Challenge. This is a race from Strande harbor to Lighthouse Kiel. The problem is, that the production window is in November a time of the year were we have often temperatures below 7 degrees, brrrr. Besides the Mercedes-Benz Surf Festival and the Midsummer Bulli Festival we organize the 70s birthday of the VW Bulli for Volkswagen Nutzfahrzeuge for the car builder from Hannover and employ a total of 100 people for this oneway event.
2018: Because of the growing business of organizing events we decide to start a separate event company and become 50% shareholder with tonix. The new baby is called Freiluft GmbH. Freiluft means “free air” and the company is dedicated to organizing events with as minimal impact on the nature as possible. If you are interested in that, take a look at: www.freiluft.net
2019: When we started to produce windsurf action movies 25 years ago, one of the reason to do so was a TV Show called “Gegen den Wind”. Translated this means “Against The Wind”. The show was about a group of young surfers in St. Peter-Ording on the German North Sea west-coast and it was pretty successful at the time. Although the production Company flew in a water-cameraman from Hawaii they managed to produce horrible windsurf action sequences. Mostly the action scenes were filmed on the land and a camera assistant had to throw water from a water bucket at the surfer to make it look real. We looked at that show back then and were not sadisfied with the way they showed windsurfing action, so we thought we can do that better. Now 25 years later the Format “Gegen den Wind” is coming back to the cinemas and we were asked to produce the action and water sequences. For sure a highlight for us entering year 25 like that.