“Rotterdam, I Love You” and “Berlin, I Love You,” the latest two film in the Cities of Love franchise, will shoot this summer. Both aim to be ready for the major festivals in their home cities in early 2018.
Mike Figgis, Claire Denis, Pablo Trapero and John Maybury are among the international directors joining local Dutch filmmakers Martin Koolhoven, Paula van der Oest, Joost van Ginkel, Koen Mortier, new voices Barry Atsma and Shariff Nasr, and previously announced Atom Egoyan on the anthology film.
The production was announced at the Cannes Film Festival by producers Matt Jaems and Joeri Pruys. The film has 11 connected segments plus interstitial material and will start shooting July 18.
The Berlin film, shooting in June, involves Patrick Dempsey and Renee Zellweger making their directorial debuts alongside Massy Tadjedin, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, Shekhar Kapur, Tom Van Avermaet and Fernando Eimbcke, Til Schweiger, Dennis Gansel and Dani Levy.
The films are the fourth and fifth cities in the series, after “Paris Je’ t’Aime” in 2006, “New York, I Love You in 2009” and “Rio, I Love You,” in 2014.
Cities of Love founder Emmanuel Benbihy said that “Berlin” is the last film to be made under the original and more conventional business model. It is produced by Claus Clausen from Walk on Water Films with Josef Steinberger (Rheingold Films), Edda Reiser (Walk on Water Films) and Alice De Sousa (Galleon Films). Highland Film Group is handling international sales.
“Rotterdam” is the first to emerge from a long gestating formula of community involvement and outreach, which Benbihy says is more sustainable and can be propagated in far more cities. In China, where he has been based for the past eight years, a further five Cities films are now in development.
Some 50% of its $7.6 million production budget has been raised from non-film industry sources. That gives the production more financial independence. “Rotterdam” starts without an attached sales agent, its only significant pre-sale to date being Benelux distribution, through September Film.