Debut dramas get coin from funders

Filmstiftung, Medienboard team for projects

Public film funding bodies Filmstiftung NRW and Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg have together lined up some E10 million ($12.6 million) for an array of new projects.

Filmstiftung NRW, which accounts for two-thirds of that amount, in its June session considered three debut productions: immigrant drama “Flokati” by Athanasios Karanikolas, con man comedy “Autopiloten” by Florian Mischa Boeder, and episodic movie “Nichts geht mehr” by Bastian Guenther.

Filmstiftung’s largest allotments — around $1.5 million each — went to three TV productions. Commercial broadcaster RTL has lined up thrillers “Tarragona,” about a 1978 fuel explosion on a Spanish camping ground, and “Das letzte Aufgebot,” about a fictitious assassination attempt on the pope in Cologne Cathedral. WDR and Arte will produce drama “Teufelsbraten” by Hermine Huntgeburth, who helmed last year’s B.O. hit “The White Masai.”

Also funded were Hardi Sturm’s “Up! Up! To the Sky!” and Lars Becker’s “Schade um das schoene Geld,” which features Heike Makatsch.

Makatsch plays Hildegard Knef in biopic “The Gift Horse,” which was considered in Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg’s allocation. Medienboard highlighted the debut pic by video artist Shirin Neshat, “Summer 1953,” which received some $300,000 in support.

It also awarded Ben Hopkins’ Turkey-set comedy “The Market,” Angela Schanelec’s “Nachmittag” and Martin Waltz’s “Maerzmelodie.” Separately, the body lined up some $125,000 for the restoration of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s “Berlin Alexanderplatz.”

Last year, Medienboard allocated a total of $27 million to 214 pic projects, which generated $87.7 million for the Berlin-Brandenburg film industry. Wim Wenders’ “Don’t Come Knocking” and Oscar nominees “Paradise Now” and “Merry Christmas” were among pics that received Berlin subsidy coin.

In a survey of Berlin bizzers, 92% said they found the working conditions in Berlin “excellent.” Given that Berlin’s Babelsberg film studios have now started to cooperate with Prague’s Barrandov Studios, the city is gaining in appeal for international productions such as “V for Vendetta,” which shot at Babelsberg last year.

Last year the city of Berlin upped its pic investment; it now gives $3.7 million to the Medienboard.

(Katja Hofmann contributed to this report.)

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