Ulrich Tukur toplines $8.5 million project

BERLIN — German helmer Caroline Link is heading to Morocco for her next pic, a family drama set in Marrakesh.

Ulrich Tukur (“The White Ribbon”) toplines the as yet untitled Euros 6 million ($8.5 million) project, which is set to shoot in the North African country this winter for a late 2012 or early 2013 release.

Based on an original screenplay by Link, pic revolves around a troubled teenager who unintentionally confronts his father (Tukur), a successful German theatre director staging a play in Marrakesh, with his past and his neglected responsibilities. After a falling out with his estranged father, the boy loses himself in the shadowy medina and sleazy nightclubs of Marrakesh, where he meets a feisty prostitute and follows her to her hometown, far beyond the city and across unfamiliar and barren land.

Link won the best foreign-language Oscar in 2003 for “Nowhere in Africa” and is reuniting with the producer of that film, Peter Hermann, on the new pic, which is being set up as a German-French co-production.

Hermann most recently produced Sherry Hormann’s international hit “Desert Flower” (which lent its name to the producer’s new Munich-based shingle, Desert Flower Filmproduktion).

French thesp Hafsia Herzi, who currently stars in “Ma compagne de nuit” and won a French Cesar for 2007’s “The Secret of the Grain,” is in talks to join the cast.

“Caroline Link’s major strength is her ability to craft genuine and truthful stories from the perspective of young protagonists while still connecting with a wide and sophisticated audience,” said Thorsten Ritter, head of Bavaria Film International, which is handling the film internationally and pre-selling it in Cannes.

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