Studio nabs rights to German drama

Sony Pictures Classics has snapped up North American rights to writer-director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s East German-era drama “The Lives of Others” (Das leben der anderen) from Beta Cinema.

Pic — being screened here in the Cannes market — swept the German Film Awards earlier this month, winning seven Lolas, including picture, director, script, cinematographer and actor.

Project is a hard-hitting look at communist East Germany’s dreaded Stasi secret police, whose widespread domestic surveillance of citizens created a climate of fear and distrust at all levels of society for 40 years, until its power ended abruptly with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

Beta’s Dirk Schuerhoff said the pic has racked up 1 million admissions so far in Germany heading into its eighth week.

Ulrich Muehe and Ulrich Tukur topline.

“This film is going to be really accessible,” said Michael Barker, who co-heads SPC with Tom Bernard. “You read what is in the newspaper about surveillance issues and privacy, and this movie is all about those issues.”

SPC’s Dylan Leiner brokered the deal with Barker and Bernard.

Max Wiedemann and Quirin Berg produced the pic, along with co-producers Dirk Hamm and von Donnersmarck.

SPC previously rolled out the German pics “Good Bye Lenin!” and “Run Lola Run.”

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