Filmstiftung NRW gets $17 mil for pics

26 pics in line for coin

Public film funder Filmstiftung NRW in January lined up more than $17 million in support of 26 pic projects which include thesps Armin Mueller-Stahl, Juliette Binoche and Martina Gedeck.

The largest single amount, $3.2 million, was awarded to “Anonyma,” the adaptation of an anonymous woman’s memories of the last days of World War II in Berlin. The German-Russian co-production will be helmed by Max Farberbock (“Aimee und Jaguar”).

Some $2.7 million went to Heinrich Breloer for his adaptation of Thomas Mann’s novel “Buddenbrooks,” with Mueller-Stahl. Both these pics are projected for a cinema version and as two-part TV movies.

One project announced by Oskar Roehler (“Agnes and His Brothers”) is a road movie set in the late 1950s, titled “Lulu und Jimi,” and starring Teresa Weissbach, Katrin Sass, Udo Kier and Rolf Zacher. Pic received some $1.3 million from Filmstiftung; a similar amount went to Christian Zuebert’s crime comedy “Hardcover.”

The funder also supported an international co-production featuring Jeanne Moreau and Binoche, “Disengagement” by Israeli director Amos Gitai, about the reunion of two sisters after 20 years. Further international co-productions funded were “The Plant” by Finnish helmer Mika Taanila, and Armagand Ballentyne’s “The Strength of Water,” produced by New Zealand shingle Filmwork and Cologne’s Pandora, which had been earlier involved in Kiwi pic “Whale Rider.”

Other bigscreen projects supported were Vanessa Jopp’s “Meine schoene Bescherung,” starring Heino Ferch, Gedeck and Jasmin Tabatabai, and “The Secret of Happiness” by tyro helmer Lola Randl. An all-TV production to receive coin was Joseph Vilsmaier’s two-part drama about the sinking of vessel “Wilhelm Gustloff” in 1945, which caused the death of 9,000 refugees.

In January’s allocation session, Filmstiftung for the first time tapped a new financing tool for development of themes, which benefited producers Lichtfilm, Pandora, Lichtblick, and docu filmers Fosco and Donatello Dubini.

Filmstiftung’s total budget for 2007 is $43 million, of which nearly 10% will be reserved for newcomers.

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