Film shoots heat up Berlin

'Ninja Assassin' stars Naomie Harris, Rain

BERLIN — Film production is ramping up in the Berlin-Brandenburg region this summer with a slew of high-profile productions prepping starts in and around the German capital, including James McTeigue’s “Ninja Assassin” and Til Schweiger’s new comedy, “1½ Knights — In Search of the Ravishing Princess Herzlinde.”

Naomie Harris (“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”) and Korean popstar Rain (“Speed Racer”) are set to topline Warner Bros.’ “Ninja Assassin,” which is being produced by the Wachowski brothers and Joel Silver.

Pic, which follows a rogue ninja who is pursued to Berlin by his clan, is co-produced by Studio Babelsberg. Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg is providing more than $1 million in subsidy coin for the production.

Warner will also release Schweiger’s latest laffer, “1½ Knights,” which stars Schweiger and Rick Kavanian as bumbling knights hired by a king (played by popular TV host Thomas Gottschalk) to track down his kidnapped daughter. Kavanian also appeared with Schweiger in Warner’s recent local hit comedy “Rabbit Without Ears.”

Schweiger’s Barefoot Films is producing “1½ Knights.” The pic has received $1.2 million in funding from the Medienboard.

The org is also backing “Deutschland 09,” an episodic film based on an idea by Tom Tykwer and in the vein of “Paris, I Love You” but with a more political slant. Ten directors, including Fatih Akin, Wolfgang Becker (“Goodbye, Lenin”), Sylke Enders, Hans Weingartner (“The Edukators”) and Dominik Graf (“The Red Cockatoo”), will helm a series of segments about modern German society and the role of the media. Produced by Herbstfilm Prod., “Deutschland 09” has acquired some $635,000 from the Medienboard.

Egoli Tossell Film secured $872,000 for its upcoming biopic about German chanteuse Hildegard Knef starring Heike Makatsch. Medienboard is backing the pic, directed by Kai Wessel, with $872,000.

Warners, which is also handling Egoli Tossell’s Leo Tolstoy biopic “The Last Station,” starring Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer, is distributing “Hilde” domestically.

Judith Keil and Antje Kruska, who teamed on the 2005 documentary “Dancing With Myself,” are directing their debut feature, “Wenn die Welt uns gehoert,” about three eastern German teens who become convinced they have to help Satan on his conquest of the world. Cologne-based Lichtblick Film is producing along with pubcaster ZDF. Medienboard has put up a $240,000 grant for the film.

ZDF is also onboard Berlin-based TeamWorx’s TV movie from director Stefan Krohmer about revolutionary student leader Rudi Dutschke, who died in 1979 of complications suffered from an attempted assassination in West Berlin in 1968. The project also picked up $240,000 from the Medienboard.

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