The German film industry is about to get a blast from the past: Helkon Media, the once high-flying German producer-distributor that went belly up in 2002, has risen again.
Dutch entrepreneur and investor Jasper M. de Gier, CEO of his Luxembourg-based financial investment firm de Gier & Co., founded the new Helkon in Berlin, where it began operations on Monday.
The new Helkon Media AG will follow in the footsteps of its predecessor: The company aims to develop, produce and distribute feature films and TV series, and will be active in film licensing. Helkon’s current pipeline consists of a number of European films and TV series at different stages of development. It is also looking to expand into other areas, such as music and new media.
While de Gier will manage and monitor the company’s entry into the market, its day-to-day management will be handled by Alec Schulmann, who will serve as head of production, and Maria Lavnikovich, who will oversee development. Active in international co-productions since 1999, Schulmann’s credits include Sergey Bodrov’s “Mongol, The Rise of Genghis Khan,” which he executive produced.
“For me, the new launch of this legendary company from the Neuer Markt era is a dream come true,” said de Gier, adding that it was a project he had been focusing on for years. De Gier began working on reviving what was left of the original Helkon in 2007.
The original Helkon was co-founded in Munich in 1991 by Martin Heldmann and Werner Koenig, who was killed in an Alpine avalanche in 2000 while scouting a film in the Swiss Alps. Despite becoming a leading company in the Neuer Markt, Germany’s once bustling tech and media share exchange that flourished in the late 1990s, Helkon filed for insolvency in 2002 — the same year the Neuer Markt shuttered after losing nearly all of its value.
The new company’s “goal is to pick up where the old Helkon left off,” de Gier added.