Berlin: Vertical Takes North American Rights

ARRI Worldsales has sold the kids' pic to more than 24 countries

LONDON — Vertical Entertainment has taken North American rights to German box office and international sales hit “The Little Ghost.”

Deal was inked with the pic’s international sales agent ARRI Worldsales, which will be screening it at the European Film Market in Berlin. It also screens in the Berlinale’s German Cinema/LOLA@Berlinale section.

ARRI Worldsales has sold the film to more than 24 countries so far. It has grossed Euros 4.5 million ($6.07 million) for Universum Film at the German box office, and is still in theaters. It won the audience award at Schlingel children’s film festival and the Enfants Terribles Award at Gijon.

The family feature is live-action, apart from, of course, its central character, the Little Ghost, which is rendered in CGI. It is based on the best-selling children’s book by Otfried Preussler, which has been translated into more than 31 languages.

The Little Ghost lives in the castle of Eulenstein, and is awake for one hour every night from midnight. The ghost would like to see the world by daylight for once, despite the warnings of a friend, Mr. Tu-Whit Tu-Whoo.

One night, three kids go on a trip to the castle, where they have their first encounter with the ghost. The following day, the ghost wakes up at 12 o’clock noontime, and ventures into the town. Its joy soon passes, as — discolored by the first sunrays — it scares the town’s inhabitants and causes a commotion. Chased by the police, the ghost asks the children for help.

The pic’s producers are Uli Putz and Jakob Claussen of Claussen+Woebke+Putz Filmproduktion. ARRI Worldsales, which is part of the ARRI Group, is a co-producer. ARRI already worked with C+W+P on their previous family feature “Vampire Sisters,” which was sold internationally to France, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Poland, Estonia, Turkey, China and Russia (plus CIS countries).

Vertical’s co-president Rich Goldberg said: “ ‘The Little Ghost’ is one of those family films that just needs to be seen by a North American audience. The filmmaking, story-telling, and values based within the narrative are very much in line with what we believe the consumer state side needs more of. The CGI is fantastic and we just fell in love with the Little Ghost’s journey from the very start.”

ARRI’s EFM line up includes other family features, such as Wolfgang Groos’ ”Vampire Sisters,” “V8 – Start your Engines!,” by “Wild Soccer Bunch” creator Joachim Masannek, and stereo 3D family animation “Ploe – You Never Fly Alone!” Sequels to “V8” and “Vampire Sisters” are in production and will be released in German cinemas in 2014.

ARRI’s market premieres at EFM are drama Frederik Steiner’s “Zurich,” and the docu “Making of Heimat” by Anja Pohl and Joerg Adolph. Its slate also includes drama “Exit Marrakech” by Academy Award winning director Caroline Link, which played in Toronto, and the Venice and Toronto player “Die Andere Heimat” (Home from Home) by veteran filmmaker Edgar Reitz. Both pics screen in the Berlinale’s LOLA section.

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