Germany’s Syrreal Jumps Into Genre Game With Sci-Fi ‘Sum1’

Producer Christian Alvart is banking on British thesp Iwan Rheon to help him launch a market for horror, sci-fi and action pics made in Germany.

Though such films have had a traditionally tough time in Teuton, Rheon, who plays the psychopathic Ramsay Bolton on “Game of Thrones,” is a star among genre auds, and therefore, Alvart feels, an ideal choice for Christian Pasquariello’s debut feature “Sum1,” about a young soldier stationed in a desolate forest while the remnants of humanity hide underground from alien invaders.

“I had him on my radar as someone to really go after whenever possible, and this was the first opportunity,” says Alvart, who is producing the apocalyptic thriller via his Berlin-based Syrreal Entertainment. He adds that he’s been a fan of the Welsh actor since seeing him in the 2009 British sci-fi series “Misfits.”

For Rheon, who co-starred on 2013 ITV sitcom “Vicious” alongside Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi as the couple’s hunky neighbor, the title role of the solitary young grunt piqued his interest. “I love the idea of solitude and the effect on the human mind,” Rheon said on the film’s set in Leipzig.

“Sum1” will be the first release under the Syrreal Suspense label, which focuses on low- and midbudget English-language genre fare. Syrreal produced the film for just over $1 million, securing subsidy coin for about 40% of the budget, in addition to a further 25% in private equity. Munich-based Global Screen is handling international sales, with Universum releasing the film domestically.

Other pics in development include Thor Kunkel’s “Trespasser,” a martial-arts actioner.

Alvart made a name for himself as writer/director/co-producer of 2005’s “Antibodies” before going on to helm the supernatural horror pic “Case 39,” with Renee Zellweger, and sci-fi thriller “Pandorum,” starring Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster.

While he praises the support he received for “Sum1” from regional subsidy orgs Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg and Mitteldeutsche Medienfoerderung, he stresses that genre pics are tough to make in Germany.

The biggest challenge is landing a TV deal, which “Sum1” does not have. Films broadcast on primetime in German television have to have an age 12 rating, making broadcasters loath to invest in movies that are rated for more mature auds, and the ones that offer slots out-side primetime hours have much more limited budgets.

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