CANNES — In a move that may signal a turning point in Germany’s distribution market, Teutonic film group Helkon Media has inked an exclusive distribution deal with Solo Film Verleih, a newly launched local outfit set up by industry vet Peter Heinzemann.
Solo replaces Buena Vista Intl., whose rocky two-year relationship with Helkon ended earlier this month.
The face of Germany’s distribution market is being redrawn — a factor that makes this the best time to launch the new company, says Heinzemann, adding that he’s filling a void left by a the Neuer Markt meltdown.
“Founding Solo Film in the current German market may look like a challenge, but it’s also an advantage,” says Heinzemann.
Solo will provide Helkon with distribution that is free of conflicting interests; insiders say BVI tended to favor its own product over partners’.
Christian Halsey-Solomon, managing director of Helkon Intl. Pictures, says the move may start a trend among German companies to look domestically for distribution.
Solo hopes to carry a diverse slate of German-language films, specialized pics, indies and A-level studio movies. Company is releasing 12 pics this year in Germany and Austria, including Helkon’s “A Walk to Remember,” “Stark Raving Mad” and the German-language “Vienna.”
Solo also is handling all pics originally acquired by the now-bankrupt Kinowelt, such as “Welcome to Collinwood,” which is screening in the Directors Fortnight at Cannes.
A former head of distribution at Kinowelt who also worked at German exhib UFA for over a decade, Heinzemann will wield considerable power, according to Halsey-Solomon.
“If he doesn’t believe in a film’s chances, at least theatrically, we won’t buy it,” Halsey-Solomon says.