BERLIN — Keen to shed its dated image as a distributor of stodgy TV fare from pubcaster parent ARD, Telepool is expanding in Germany and planning a major international splash.
Irina Ignatiew, Telepool’s newly promoted exec VP, international, is fending off growing competition by beefing up its slate of big-event TV productions, many of which will be on offer at this year’s AFM.
The distrib recently acquired terrorist drama “Mogadishu,” one of the highest-profile, big-event Teutonic TV productions of the coming year.
Produced by Berlin-based Teamworx for pubcaster ARD and directed by Roland Suso Richter (“Dresden”), “Mogadishu” chronicles the real-life hijacking of a Lufthansa flight in 1977 by Palestinian terrorists in league with West Germany’s Red Army Faction. Pic, which stars Thomas Kretschmann (“King Kong”), began shooting this month.
The story of the Red Army Faction is getting major play here with producer Bernd Eichinger and director Uli Edel finishing “The Baader-Meinhof Complex,” their film about the terrorist group.
Germany has been marking the 30th anniversary of the Red Army Faction’s 44-day terror campaign, known as the German Autumn, which began in September 1977 with the kidnapping of a German industrialist and ended when elite troops stormed the hijacked Lufthansa plane in Somalia.
The acquisition of “Mogadishu” is a major coup for Telepool and marks the distrib’s muscular advance into the big-event arena while strengthening its relationship with Teamworx, Germany’s leading TV production company.
Ignatiew says Telepool is expanding presales to include internationally attractive films and big-event TV productions at the development stage.
Telepool did just that with Peter Flinth’s Swedish feature “Arn: The Knight Templar,” coming on board as a co-production partner, along with Sweden’s AB Svensk Filmindustri and Film i Vast as well as Scandinavian broadcasters TV4 AB, DR, YLE and TV 2 Norge.
Budgeted at $31 million, the adaptation of author Jan Guillou’s best-selling Crusades trilogy is the most expensive Scandinavian production of all time.
“Arn” has already sold to a slew of distribs and TV broadcasters, including Russia’s Cinemax, Kino Swiat in Poland, Bonton for Czech Republic/Slovakia, Telecinco in Spain and MCF for former Yugoslavia.
Telepool also picked up “The Charlemagne Code,” Munich-based Dreamtool Entertainment’s $7 million TV movie about an archeologist on a perilous quest to find the legendary Nibelung treasure. Made for RTL Television in Germany, Telepool has already presold the TV movie to Telecinco in Spain and TV2 in Hungary.
The distrib’s other highlights include Rudolf Schweiger’s bigscreen feature “Sniper’s Valley,” starring Max Riemelt and Adrian Topol as German soldiers in the Kosovo War.The distrib also handles international sales for Germany’s leading commercial broadcaster RTL Television and just sold the web’s long-running, high-octane, autobahn cop series “Alarm for Cobra 11” to Spanish broadcaster Cuatro.