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Willson flies with Falcom prod’n

Vet exec tapped topper new pic arm

BERLIN — Andrea Willson, former managing director of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s German-language production unit Deutsche Columbia Pictures Filmproduktion, has joined Swiss-based company Falcom Media Group to head its new production division.

Willson, who left Sony last year after the closure of the fledgling production unit, has brought a number of former Sony projects to Falcom, including family films “Max und Moritz” and “Kleiner Koenig Kalle Wirsch.”

Move signals Falcom’s intent to expand its own operations into film production. Until now, the company has largely focused on license trading and theatrical and home entertainment distribution. Company is looking at producing one to two German-language films a year with external partners.

“Willson enjoys a great reputation and trust among German filmmakers,” said Falcom chief exec Andreas Fallscheer. “With her onboard, Falcom will become synonymous with high-quality German theatrical entertainment, in the industry as well as among the general public.”

Willson, who will be based in Berlin, will also have a hand in distribution, which Falcom is planning to beef up with increased German product. In addition to its inhouse productions, company is looking at distributing an additional one to two Teutonic titles per year.

Launched in 2002 by Fallscheer, founder and former chief exec of Swiss-German licensing and distribution company Highlight Communications, Falcom has acquired a number of international titles for distribution, including Michael Moore’s upcoming “Fahrenheit 911,” “Monsieur Ibrahim” with Omar Sharif, Philippe Haim’s comedy-Western “The Daltons” and Javier Fesser’s “La gran aventura de Mortadelo y Filemon.” It also co-produced and will distribute Tobi Baumann’s upcoming German comedy “Der Wixxer.”

Citing an ailing media sector and changing market conditions, Sony closed Deutsche Columbia Pictures last year after producing only five films. Of the titles, only “Anatomy” was a solid hit at the box office, becoming the country’s highest-grossing German-language film of 2000.

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