Teuton Buyers Want All A’s At Cannes

They may be difficult to find, but German buyers heading south for the Cannes fest and market will be on the lookout for high-quality, commercial feature films.

Films from the A list with “name” leads, good, romantic storylines and, preferably, comedy, are in high demand. In short, buyers seek films which have solid theatrical possibilities. Last year, relatively low-budget pics like “Harry And Sally,” released by indie distrib Jugendfilm, or Highlight’s “Driving Miss Daisy,” scored well on the Teutonic theatrical circuits.

But cheap B and C action, slasher, chopsocky and horror pics, items that, at one time, formed the mainstay of Germany’s video rentals biz are definitely out. With a growing sellthrough market, and a shift away from B pics in the rentals sector, German video execs will be searching for quality A features, and buying when the price is right.

The Kirch Group will attend the Cannes fest and market this year mostly as a buyer, with an acquisitions team led by Philipp Riccabona, head of the feature film department.

Company spokesperson Armgard von Burgsdorff said, “We’ll be looking for high-quality product, buying a maximum of rights.”

Jugendfilm prexy Jurgen Wohlrabe and biz affairs assistant Anna Weinert will be after quality features and animated films in Cannes and selling the Berlin company’s French-German co-prod animated feature, “Asterix.”

Straining for product

For many German execs at Cannes, the fest and market is more than just a buying and selling affair. Herbert Kloiberis Telemunchen group is typical. While Peter Konig, head of Concorde, the group’s distribution arm and Jens Schiinemann, Concorde Video chief, strain eyes in screening rooms, supremo Kloiber will be discussing co-prod possibilities and huddling with his ABC American partners.

Neue Constantin’s m.d. Hermann Weigel, who will be joined by producer Bernd Eichinger, now based in Hollywood, will scout for product and make the usual round of contact visits.

Delta Film in Berlin will also be on the prowl for “interesting products for all media and for suitable co-productions,” according to Peter Freund, who will be joined by execs Klaus Bauschulte and Chris Sievernich of the company’s New York link, Gray Films.

Dual mission

Senator Film, a Munich distribbery now going in for co-prods, will also be in Cannes on a dual mission. Prexy Hanno Huth and bizmanager Rainer Grupe will explore co-production possibilities and, at the same time, be on the watch for suitable feature films. Company recently lensed its first feature in the U.S., “Eyes Of The Storm” toplining Dennis Hopper, and has two more projects to be shot in the U.S. Eventual goal is to turn out five a year in the U.S.

Horst Vetter of Telepool, the global sales and acquisitions company, will be on the hunt for “everything that fits into a broad catalog.” Since the Munich company has a brand new co-financing subsidiary, Europool, co-prod contact talks are bound to be high on his agenda.

Bodo Scriba of Scriba and Deyhle’s Capitol Film will be in Cannes mainly to parley. Scriba and Deyhle OHG is involved in a co-financing megadeal with Warner Bros. and Arnon Milchan’s Paris-based financing, production and distribution company, Regency Intl. Pictures.

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