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Germans Stress Talking, Not Buying

German execs attending the American Film Market have different motives in making the long jump across the Atlantic.

While the majority will be there on buying missions, co-prod talks and meetings with American partners will also figure high on the agenda.

Most distribs buy films year-round, and for them AFM is a contact point for activities more or less unconnected with the acquisition of product.

Not desperate

Producer Dieter Geissler, whose Cine Vox Intl. distribbery is located in L.A., says: “We’re not going there desperately in need of a movie. I prefer to discuss co-production deals rather than acquisitions.”

Telemunchen topper Herbert Kloiber adds, “We’re always on the lookout for good films, but our buying goes on all year long. It’s just in a concentrated form at the market. We’ll look at new show reels, screenings, rough cuts, whatever product is coming up, and also meet with our American contacts.”

Kloiber’s group includes Concorde distrib Concorde Video, and the commercial broadcaster Tele 5. Jens Schunemann, head of the video arm, will be checking out vid product.

Bodo Scriba, head of the Hamburg production, acquisitions and sales group Scriba & Dehyle, says: “I have to be in L.A. anyhow. There are plenty of things to do there, like general discussions. But we’re not going there for acquisitions.”

According to Kalian Rebentrost, manager of Tobis Film, one of Germany’s leading distribberies, “I’ll be meeting people outside of the market. I have my permanent representative in L.A., Rhonda Talbot, who will go to the AFM corridors. It would be a big surprise if I find anything, since we are following the market year-round.”

Another leading distributor, Jugendfilm’s topper Jurgen Wohlrabe, says: “I’ll be looking for good films, but mostly I buy before the market. I’ll attend screenings, get information, see rushes. As far as finding anything, let’s just say I’ll let myself be surprised.”

Senator distrib’s manager Hanno Huth, his assistant Rainer Grupe and supremo Michael Krohne are going to “buzz around as usual.”

“We’re hoping for some good films, but everything depends on the market and what’s on offer,” Grupe says.

“One of the reasons we’re going is for production talks,” Huth adds.

Dieter Wahl, an exporter who also buys for German video and tv, says: “We are looking for anything that fits into our audience demand and censorship problem. War films are out; you can’t sell them.”

His assistant Gerda Moser will cover the buying scene at AFM.

As usual, Neue Constantin distrib’s Hermann Weigel will be at the market. “Every year it’s the same. We’re looking for good commercial films. But basically, you go to AFM to meet people, and that’s the reason we’re going there.”

Weigel will be joined by NC producer Bernd Eichinger, who now lives in L.A.

Tubers will come, too

Television execs heading for L.A. include Degeto topper Peter Heimes, who will look for features for the national pubcaster ARD, and Erhardt Pushnig, buyer for the commercial broadcaster RTL Plus.

German video sleuths will also be scouting for product in L.A., among them Datty Ruth of VCL/Carolco Communications, who will also meet with his American partners. VPS Film Entertainment’s Rudiger von Spies will be out for the “usual stuff for video,” ditto Claus Czaika and Dieter Frank, co-directors of EuroVideo. Czaika will also be “talking co-productions with Mends; that’s very important for us.”

For the most part, the German execs have no qualms about flying. As Kloiber puts it, “We’re not afraid to fly, and even if we were, we wouldn’t say so.”

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