Bavaria handling world sales for kidnapping drama

BERLIN — U.K. distrib Arrow Film has picked up Maarten Treuniet’s Dutch box office hit “The Heineken Kidnapping,” starring Rutger Hauer in his first major Dutch role in more than 30 years.

The fact-based thriller centers on the 1983 kidnapping Alfred Heineken, the powerful businessman who built the famous Amsterdam brewery into one of the world’s biggest beer companies, who suddenly finds himself at the mercy of an irresponsible youth with an uncontrollable urge for revenge.

The acquisition marks the first foreign deal for the pic, which is being sold worldwide by Bavaria Film International.

Stefanie Zeitler, Bavaria’s head of sales, and Tom Stewart, Arrow’s head of acquisitions, negotiated the deal. Arrow will release the pic in the U.K. and Ireland.

The film made headlines last month when Willem Holleeder, one of the men convicted of Heineken’s kidnapping, filed an injunction to block the film’s release from prison just days before the pic’s release, arguing that it misrepresented his part in the crime. A Dutch court rejected the request, however.

“This film has stirred up a lot of controversy and garnered media attention that has spilled way over the Dutch borders,” said Zeitler. “This has helped us in turn stir up interest amongst distributors worldwide. More importantly, however, is that the film truly stands on its own.”

“The Heineken Kidnapping” was produced by Amsterdam-based IDTV Film in co-production with Dutch pubcaster Vara.

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