Titles to help build new business branch

BERLIN — German international sales company Beta Cinema will make its first foray into the English-lingo market at the Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off May 14, with the Canadian film “Coldwater” and “Ghetto” from Lithuanian filmmaker Audrius Juzenas.

Ruba Nadda’s “Coldwater,” in pre-production, is about an Arab woman in Toronto who tries to free herself from the grip of family and traditions. Atom Egoyan (“Ararat”) is executive producing the pic, which stars his wife, Lebanese thesp Arsinee Khanjian (“Ararat”).

Adapted from the award-winning play, “Ghetto” is the true story of a Jewish theater in the Vilnius Ghetto in Nazi-occupied Lithuania during 1941 and 1944. Pic, which stars Heino Ferch (“The Tunnel”) and Erika Marozsan (“The Poet”), will be shot this summer.

The titles are a first step in building a new business branch, according to Beta, the international sales division of bankrupt Kirch Media. Company, along with other major Kirch assets, is in the middle of being taken over by Haim Saban.

“We want to extend our international business without neglecting German film,” said Beta sales manager Andreas Rothbauer.

Beta will also be hawking the Boje Buck production “Berlin Blues;” helmed by Leander Haussmann (“Sun Alley”) and based on the novel of the same name by Elements of Crime singer-songwriter Stefan Regener. Pic focuses on a slacker in 1980s West Berlin who’s forced to deal with the fall of the Wall.

Other titles include Igor Zaritzky’s “Devot,” which examines a relationship between a man and a suicidal woman he believes to be a prostitute; and “Solo Album” about a hip Berlin music journalist who loses his girlfriend and his self confidence. “Solo Album” is the first collaboration between Beta and German media group Tele Munchen, which produced and distributed the pic locally.

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