Schaumann, Ritter to replace Weber

BERLIN — Michael Weber, co-CEO of Bavaria Media and managing director of Bavaria Film Intl., is ankling to set up his own international sales company.

Bavaria Film Intl. execs Thorsten Schaumann and Thorsten Ritter are taking the reins at the Munich-based sales outfit.

Schaumann, who has been with Bavaria Film Intl. since it opened in 1997, will continue to oversee sales, while Ritter, who joined in 1999, will remain in charge of marketing.

Ute Kraemer, who co-headed Bavaria Media with Weber, remains CEO. Bavaria Media is the co-production, co-financing and film/TV rights division of entertainment giant Bavaria Film.

Weber joined Bavaria Film in 1996 and kickstarted its film sales the following year by launching German Independents, offering the works of local indie filmmakers. That, in turn, led to the creation of Bavaria Film Intl.

Weber has been widely credited for turning Bavaria Film Intl. into a leading exporter of German films as well as an important world distributor for foreign films.

Under Weber, Bavaria Film Intl. launched more labels, including Intl. Feature Films and First Features, which covered international co-productions and works from up-and-coming directors in addition to inhouse productions from Bavaria and sister company Odeon.

Company’s successes have included the Oscar-winning “Nowhere in Africa,” “Run Lola Run,” “Good Bye, Lenin!,” “Head-On” and “Sophie Scholl” as well as international titles including Aki Kaurismaki’s “The Man Without a Past,” Kim Ki-duk’s “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter … and Spring” and Carlos Sorin’s “Bombon — el perro.”

Bavaria Film CEO Dieter Frank said Weber had been Bavaria Film’s “creative backbone” for 10 years, adding, “I regret his decision to leave.”

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