Markus Imboden to direct amnesia thriller

Ulrich Thomsen is set to topline “The Face,” a thriller set in Germany in the weeks following the end of WWII.

Rene Asch is producing the project through his Berlin-based Films in Motion, which optioned the script by American writer J. Frank James. Markus Imboden is directing.

“The Face” also stars Thomas Thieme (“The Lives of Others”) and Ursina Lardi (“The White Ribbon”).

Set just weeks after the end of the war, the story opens with a man on the run who is suffering from amnesia and has no idea what he’s running from or why he’s wearing a striped concentration camp uniform.

Budgeted at around €7 million ($9 million), the English-language production will shoot in Germany.

Asch was publicity director for the Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees for 11 years before moving to Berlin.

He is talking to potential financing and distribution partners in Germany and in the U.S. and aims to pick up regional subsidy funding for the project.

Michael Schwarz, who is serving as line producer on the Tom Fontana TV series “Borgia,” is acting as a consultant on “The Face,” and will also oversee the production.

In addition to the upcoming “Thing” prequel, Thomsen has appeared in a slew of recent films, including Baran Bo Odar’s German crime drama “The Silence,” Neil Marshall’s historical actioner “Centurion,” Susanne Bier’s Danish drama “In a Better World” and Dominic Sena’s medieval thriller “Season of the Witch.”

Thomsen said it was not only the story and the role that attracted him to the project, but also the opportunity to re-team with the director: “I liked the script, naturally, and the part. I’ve worked with Markus Imboden before and always wanted to work with him again.”

Imboden directed Thomsen in the 2004 ZDF TV movie “Ins Leben zurueck” and also worked with Thieme in the pubcaster’s gritty crime drama “Moerder auf Amrum,” which aired earlier this year.

Asch is also developing two other projects written by James that he is likewise looking to produce in Germany, a psychological drama entitled “Dreams of Sand,” which explores the destructive power of fear, and “Nightmare Time,” about a man caught in a series of terrifying events that occur over and over again.

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