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Zentropa partners to sell 50% of biz

Helmers put stake in prod'n company up for grabs

Danish duo Lars von Trier and Peter Aalbaek Jensen have decided to sell 50% of their shares in Zentropa to directors and other employees of the production company. The pair will keep the other half of the stock.

“It’s time for a change of generations at Zentropa. This deal means 50% communism,” said Aalbaek Jensen, who admitted it probably would have been more profitable to sell the company to a major player in the international film industry.

“But this is better for us, and I believe that Lars’ and my shares will be more valuable in time, when our best directors and other fellow workers become joint owners,” he said.

Aalbaek Jensen and von Trier, who founded Zentropa in 1992 and both turned 50 in May, have no plans to leave the company, which has 110 employees. Ambitions are high and, according to Aalbaek Jensen, 2006 is the most prolific year yet for Zentropa.

Pics like von Trier’s Danish-language comedy “The Boss of It All” and Jacob Thuesen’s comedy-drama “Erik Nietzsche — The Early Years,” written by von Trier, are in production, and Susanne Bier’s “After the Wedding” is enjoying successful worldwide sales.

“But we sell half of the company quite cheap, actually,” Aalbaek Jensen said, although he wouldn’t reveal the price. “We sell to people who have been close to us for many years. You can’t cheat them without having 110 people after you with a shotgun.”

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