Multihyphenate to play Berlin cabaret artist

BERLIN — Multihyphenate Michael Herbig, whose latest directorial work, “Vicky the Viking,” has become Germany’s biggest moneymaker so far this year, has boarded Leander Haussmann’s upcoming black comedy “Hotel Lux.”

Set in 1938, pic tells the story of a Berlin cabaret artist, played by Herbig, who escapes to Moscow after falling afoul of the Nazis only to be mistaken for Hitler’s personal astrologer by Stalin, who wants to recruit him as his own psychic advisor.

Produced by Bavaria Pictures, pic has received nearly Euros 745,000 ($1.1 million) from Bavaria state funder FilmFernsehFonds Bayern (FFF).

The FFF has also approved some $520,000 for Mike Barker’s $25 million TV adaptation of “Moby Dick,” starring William Hurt and Charlie Cox.

The German Federal Film Board (FFA), meanwhile, has allocated $4.6 million in production and development coin for 13 projects, including Israeli director Eran Riklis’ sports drama “Playoff.”

Riklis, who enjoyed international hits with “The Syrian Bride” and “Lemon Tree,” is bringing the story of real-life Israeli basketball coach Ralph Klein, who escaped Nazi persecution in his native Germany but returned years later to train West Germany’s national basketball team.

Co-produced by Berlin-based Egoli Tossell, “Playoff” received some $223,212 from the FFA. Last month regional funder HessenInvestFilm approved $1.5 million for the German-Israeli-French co-production, which is set to shoot in Frankfurt.

Also receiving FFA coin is Cate Shortland’s “Lore,” the story of five children on a journey across Germany following its conquest by Allied forces in 1945. Pic is based on Rachel Seiffert’s novel “The Dark Room.” Co-produced by Germany’s Rohfilm, Edge City Films in the U.K. and Australia’s Porchlight Films, “Lore” received $372,530 toward its $5.2 million budget.

Another German-Israeli film, Eran Kolirin’s “The Exchange,” about a jaded academic trying to break free from his tedious life, picked up $595,005 from HessenInvestFilm. The latest grant follows the $300,000 it recently got from fellow regional subsidy Medienboard Berlin- Brandenburg.

Tom Tykwer’s Berlin-set relationship drama “Drei” (Three) and Wim Wenders “Pina,” a 3-D documentary about German choreographer Pina Bausch, received additional coin from the FFA, with the former nabbing some $745,000 and the latter $372,530. Both pics recently received considerable funding from Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg.

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