German body backs 'Pope's Toilet' remake

BERLIN — New films by “Irina Palm” director Sam Garbarski and Tony Pemberton (“Beyond the Ocean”) are among a slew of new productions to win financial support from regional subsidy org Mitteldeutsche Medienfoerderung.

The funding office is also backing a German-Polish remake of Cesar Charlone and Enrique Fernandez’s Uruguayan hit “The Pope’s Toilet” through its involvement in the German-Polish Co-Development Fund.

Mitteldeutsche Medienfoerderung has approved funding of E4.9 million ($7.8 million) for 25 films, including Geoffrey Sax’s period drama “Black Death” from Berlin-based Egoli Tossell, which received the largest grant of $1.2 million.

Soenke Wortmann’s medieval drama “Pope Joan” from Constantin Film and Matti Geschonneck’s “Boxhagener Platz,” Claussen+Woebke+Putz Filmproduktion’s adaptation of Torsten Schulz’s mystery novel set in East Berlin in 1968, will each receive $950,000.

Nabbing nearly $800,000, Garbarski’s “Vertraute Fremde,” produced by Halle-based Pallas Film, tells the story of a comic artist who loses consciousness and wakes up as a 14 year old and begins to relive his adolescence.

Receiving the same amount was Rohfilm’s “Buddhas Little Finger,” Pemberton’s adaptation of Victor Pelevin’s novel about a young Russian locked up in a psychiatric hospital who imagines himself to be a poet during the October revolution.

Separately, the German-Polish Co-Development Fund has slated $47,550 in development coin for the “The Pope Project,” which, like the 2007 film set in a small Uruguayan town, recounts the frenzy that grips a village on the German-Polish border in 1987 when the Pope decides to visit, and the efforts of an entrepreneur who sees a lucrative opportunity and sets out to build a toilet for the thousands of spectators expected to descend on the area for the event.

Berlin-based Flying Moon Filmproduktion and Opus Film in Lodz are co-producing.

Meanwhile, two projects that received development financing from the fund last year, “Pommersche Illusionen,” Helge Renner and Jacob Dammas’ documentary about five people pursuing their dreams on Poland’s Baltic coast, and “Wintervater,” Mikolaj Pokromski and Michaela Hinnenthal’s family drama about a little Polish girl who discovers her real father is a Russian sailor and sets out to find him, are set to go into production in the coming weeks.

The German-Polish Co-Development Fund was established by the Polish Film Institute and German regional subsidy orgs Mitteldeutsche Medienfoerderung and Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg to supports the development of German-Polish co-productions.

To greater promote cross-border cooperation, Mitteldeutsche Medienfoerderung, the Medienboard, the Polish Film Institute and the European Union’s local arms Media Antenne Berlin-Brandenburg and Media Desk Poland are organizing the German-Polish Co-Production Meeting as part of the Moving Europe-Moving Pictures confab, which runs Oct. 15-16 in Warsaw.

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