Trimmer Kinowelt stays pic course

Distrib still has 52 yet-to-be-released titles

BERLIN — Financially troubled German media group Kinowelt will continue to produce inhouse films despite laying off most of the movie division’s staff, according to company topper Rainer Koelmel.

Casualties include Ulrich Limmer, head of Kinowelt Filmproduktion, who won’t return after his contract expires at year’s end. The division will be run by Koelmel with Daniel Guckau, senior VP of acquisitions and development, and Holger Stern, director of acquisitions and development at licensing division Kinowelt Lizenzverwertungs.

Kinowelt Filmproduktion co-produced “Forget America,” “alaska.de” and Istvan Szabo’s “Sunshine.”

Its most recent inhouse production, kiddie pic “Das Sams,” is set to hit theaters Oct. 18.

Kinowelt has been going through painful restructuring to keep the once-successful German indie afloat.

“The entire business is being streamlined,” Koelmel told the German press, adding that the company would continue to cut its workforce down to a mere 70 to 90 employees.

Kinowelt said its Dec. 19 release of New Line’s much-anticipated “The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring” remains secure, however. “The film is paid for and the trailers have been delivered.”

The distrib still has 52 titles in its catalog yet to be released.

In addition to distribution, the group is keeping its co-production, home entertainment and DVD production divisions, but looking to rid itself of in-flight entertainment as well as most of its stakes in the Kinopolis and Village exhibition chains.

Despite grave predictions, Koelmel remained optimistic, saying the restructuring efforts soon could lead to positive cash flow.

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