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Senator raises coin to boost production

Company preps for significant boost in investments

Senator Entertainment, which inked an exclusive output deal with Relativity Media in December, is looking to raise more than €10 million ($13.3 million) via a share increase later this year to prepare for a significant boost in investments.

In addition to its slate of upcoming Hollywood titles, the Berlin-based company is also maintaining a focus on German and European productions.

Senator is partnering with producer Christoph Mueller on an adaptation of Hermann Hesse’s medieval tale “Narcissus and Goldmund.”

Senator CEO Helge Sasse said the film will be a big-budgeted, English-language international production with a British-American cast.

Senator has yet to announce a director for the project, although industry insiders are betting on Florian Gallenberger, director of the 2009 historical Nanking drama “John Rabe,” taking the reigns.

Gallenberger has previously expressed keen interest in adapting the novel, which is set against turbulent historical events and follows the lives of two friends whose lives take very different paths as one becomes a wanderer and artist, the other a scholarly and controlled monk.

Local and European productions make up one of two main pillars at Senator, the other being U.S. content — the company is celebrating the success of French comedy “Intouchables,” which has grossed a jaw-dropping $33 million, making it the most successful Gallic pic ever in Germany. Last year, “King’s Speech” took in more than $22 million, becoming one of the most successful releases in Germany in 2011.

Sasse also has high expectations for Daniel Cohen’s upcoming “Comme un chef” (The Chef), starring Jean Reno, which unspools in Berlin’s Culinary Cinema sidebar.

Looking forward, Senator is planning to spend considerably more as part of the Relativity deal, which will increase its releases from 20 to about 30 pics a year.

“About half of our films come from the U.S. and they are very successful,” said Sasse. “We wanted to have a more predictable situation and greater product security.”

The Relativity agreement will give Senator German rights to such films as “Safe Haven,” “Hunter Killer” and “Afterburn.”

The upcoming capital increase follows another $13.3 million the company raised last year through a bond issue.

Senator’s other U.S. titles include Curtis Hanson’s surfer pic “Of Men and Mavericks,” starring Gerard Butler; “Our Idiot Brother,” “Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D,” “W.E.” and “2 Days in New York,” which Senator co-produced.

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