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Cannes: Thompson’s Sunray, Schamus and X Filme Team for ‘Alone in Berlin’

Book a celebrated anti-Nazi novel

PARIS – Sunray Films, the new sales-production company of Alison Thompson, is teaming with James Schamus and Stefan Arndt’s Berlin-based X Filme on a big-screen English-language adaptation of celebrated anti-Nazi novel “Alone in Berlin.”

Alone in Berlin” represents the first brand new project at the London-based Sunray Films, which Thompson set up after years as the head of Focus Features International.

Arndt, X Filme partner Uwe Schott and Shamus are producing. Pathe France has taken rights to French-speaking Europe.

The film will be largely financed out of Germany, Thompson said.

Sunray, which also has Mike Leigh’s “Mr. Turner” in Competition, will sell the rest of the world with the possible exception, still under negotiation, of the U.K.

Written by “Good Bye Lenin” co-scribe Achim von Borries, “Alone in Berlin” is currently casting. The partners hope to announce cast at Cannes, Thompson said.

The last book of German novelist Hans Fallada,written in 1947 – and dubbed by Primo Levi as the greatest book ever-written about resistance to the Nazi regime – and overlooked for years until its reissue a decade again, “Alone in Berlin” turns on an ordinary working-class couple whose son in killed on the front during World War II.

Burning with resentment, they initiate a anonymous postcard campaign against the Nazi regime, which soon sets the Gestapo on their trail.

“This is an extraordinary, compelling heartwarming story of resistance to the Nazis, and in this particular instance it’ is based on true events,” Thomson said.

“We’re still in the early stage st the the company. This will be the only new title that we will announce in Cannes, but it is a project which has been close to my heart for a long time,” Thompson told Variety.

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