Duo partner on period drama

Berlin’s Schiwago Film is partnering with Stockholm-based Yellow Bird on “The Red Antelope,” a period drama based on the novel by Swedish writer Henning Mankell, author of the bestselling Kurt Wallander book series and current member of the Berlinale’s international jury.

The production is one of a slew of projects in Schiwago’s fast-growing slate.

Set in the 19th century, “Red Antelope” follows the story of a Swede who travels to South Africa and returns with an orphaned boy, who is the lone survivor of a massacred clan, and who is forced to adapt to a strange new world. The Wallander novels have yielded several successful TV series and miniseries.

Headed by Martin Lehwald, Michal Pokorny and Marcos Kantis, Schiwago has moved increasingly into theatrical film production in recent years after initially focusing on TV movies following its launch in 1999.

The shingle currently has Marcus Mittermeier and Jan Henrik Stahlberg’s Panorama player “Short Cut to Hollywood,” a comedic road movie about three Berliners who travel to the U.S. with the hopes of achieving stardom.

Schiwago managed a major coup by lassoing cult thesps Pierre Brice and Gojko Mitic for Carsten Fiebeler’s upcoming western “Der letzte Ritt” (The Last Ride). The Gallic Brice and Yugoslav-born Mitic remain hugely popular in Germany. While Brice enjoyed a massive following in West Germany in the 1960s for his “Winnetou” movie series, Mitic attracted adulation in East Germany during the same period portraying gallant Native Americans in that country’s politically correct Westerns, among them 1967’s “Chingachgook, die grosse Schlange,” based on James Fenimore Cooper’s “The Deerslayer.”

In the bittersweet “Last Ride,” Brice and Mitic play aging Native Americans and former tribal adversaries who together undertake their final journey.

Also in the works is “Mitte,” starring Henry Lee Hopper (the son of actor Dennis Hopper), about a young American who moves to Berlin and takes up residence in a flat haunted by the scheming ghost of a techno DJ. Norman Ohler, who co-wrote Wim Wenders’ “Palermo Shooting,” is set to direct the pic, which is based on his own novel.

Schiwago is re-teaming with Bavaria Film, which co-produced “Shortcut to Hollywood,” on Mira Thiel’s “Haerte.” Based on the autobiography of former pimp Andreas Marquardt, pic looks at how a brutal Berlin criminal turned his life around in prison by dealing with the sexual abuse he suffered as a child at the hands of his mother and ultimately went on to become a major organizer of charity events for mistreated and sexually abused children.

Company is currently finishing up “Transfer,” Damir Lukacevic’s sci-fi drama about a biomedical facility that offers its aging patients the possibility of transferring their mind and memories into young healthy bodies culled from the Third World.

And hitting theaters this year via UFA Cinema is Urs Odermatt’s “Mein Kampf,” an adaptation of George Tabori’s grotesque theatrical work starring Tom Schilling as a young Adolf Hitler. Pic was co-produced by Vienna-based Dor Film and Zurich’s Hugofilm.

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