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ZDF jumps into Herzog’s ‘Abyss’

Docu looks at death row inmates

By ED MEZA BERLIN

ZDF Enterprises has picked up Werner Herzog’s forthcoming docu “Gazing Into the Abyss: A Tale of Death, a Tale of Life,” about death row inmates.

In the film, Herzog — who is enjoying a hit with his docu “Cave of Forgotten Dreams,” examining prehistoric paintings in Gaul’s Chauvet cave — discusses life and death with the prisoners and examines their stories and crimes, which he describes as “a gaze into the abyss of the human soul”..

Among the inmates are two men convicted of triple murder, another who killed his girlfriend and her two mentally retarded sons, and a woman, one of only 10 on Texas’ death row, charged with abducting a baby and killing the child’s mother.

ZDF Enterprises is handling TV and theatrical rights to the film outside the U.S. and the U.K. “Gazing Into the Abyss” is co-produced by Skellig Rock, Creative Differences, Spring Films and Werner Herzog Film.”Cave of Forgotten Dreams” premiered in Toronto last year and has seen strong international box office success. The 3D film has grossed nearly $4 million in the U.S. through mid June, making it the highest-grossing independently released doc of 2011, earning over five times more than the second-place doc, “The Last Lions.”

Herzog missed the pic’s European premiere at the Berlinale in February because he was shooting “Gazing into the Abyss” in Texas.

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