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Picture Tree Takes ‘Fack Ju Goehte’ to Berlin Market

PTI to rep Damian John Harper's 'Los Angeles'

LONDON — International sales and production outfit Picture Tree Intl. has secured the global distribution rights to hit screwball comedy “Fack Ju Goehte” (Suck Me Shakespeer).

Fack Ju Goehte” was Germany’s most popular movie last year, with more than six million tickets sold, and a box office gross of more than $60 million.

PTI will present this blockbuster, directed by Bora Dagtekin (“Turkish for Beginners”) and starring Elyas M’Barek (“The Wave,” “The Physician”) and Karoline Herfurth (“The Reader,” “We Are the Night”), to buyers at the European Film Market in Berlin, which runs (Feb. 6-14).

The fast-paced film tells the story of Zeki Mueller (M’Barek), an ex-con and substitute teacher who uses unorthodox yet effective methods to bring an unruly class back on track. Zeki’s highly entertaining encounters with his prim and proper fellow teacher Lisi Schnabelstedt (Herfurth) recently earned the film a spot on the pre-selection list for the German Film Awards.

PTI will also market the TV rights to “Fack Ju Goehte” in cooperation with Red Arrow, the international sales arm of Pro7Sat.1. The rights to the film’s free TV premiere in Germany were secured by Pro7.

PTI is also repping Damian John Harper’s “Los Angeles,” which world premieres in the Berlinale Forum section on Feb. 8.

Harper is a U.S.-born director and anthropologist, who spent a year researching the culture and social structures of the Southern Mexican community in which the story of “Los Angeles” is set.

The film centers on a young Mexican man pressured to carry out a murder on behalf of a gang in his home village in order to buy his way to Los Angeles. In the film, Harper works through some of his experiences during his one-year stay in Mexico.

“Los Angeles,” which was produced by the Cologne and Berlin-based Weydemann Bros., is Harper’s directorial debut. He studied directing at Munich’s Hochschule fuer Film und Fernsehen. His graduation film at the HFF, “Teardrop,” won numerous awards at more than 50 festivals worldwide.

Also new in the Picture Tree portfolio are “West” and “Dreamland.”

East-West drama “West” focuses on chemist Nelly Senff, who emigrates from East to West Germany in the late 70s, and ends up at the infamous refugee transit camp Berlin-Marienfeld, where she is grilled by the Allied intelligence services.

The film is directed by Christian Schwochow (“November Child,” “The Tower”), and stars Jordis Triebel (“Me and Kaminski,” “Emma’s Bliss”). Triebel’s performance recently earned her a spot on the best actress shortlist for the German Film Awards.

The film, which is produced by öFilm-Produktion, zero one film and Terz Filmproduktion in co-production with Senator Film, WDR, SWR, rbb and ARTE, is loosely based on Julia Franck’s novel “Lagerfeuer” (Bonfire), and recently received the FIPRESCI award as well as best actress award for Triebel at the Montreal World Film Festival. Senator Film is set to release the pic in Germany at the end of March.

“Dreamland,” which is Swiss director and author Petra Volpe’s feature film debut, is an episodic film in which four people encounter a young Bulgarian woman Mia, who works as a street prostitute, over the course of the day on Christmas Eve.

Volpe, who won the TV prize at the Baden-Baden TV Festival for her TV film “Fruehling im Herbst” (Autumn Spring Fever), shot “Dreamland” with a high-caliber international ensemble cast, including Marisa Paredes (“Todo sobre mi madre,” “Habla con ella”), Devid Striesow (“The Counterfeiters,” “Drei”), Ursina Lardi (“The White Ribbon,” “Lore”) and Luna Mijovic (“Atmen,” “Grbavica”).

The film’s cinematographer is Judith Kaufmann (“Vier Minuten,” “Die Fremde”), who has already won a number of German Film Awards.

The film is produced by Zodiac Pictures and co-produced by Wueste Film Ost, SRF, SRG, SSR and ARTE.

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