×

Germany’s Syrreal Jumps Into Genre Game With Sci-Fi ‘Sum1’

Producer Christian Alvart is banking on British thesp Iwan Rheon to help him launch a market for horror, sci-fi and action pics made in Germany.

Though such films have had a traditionally tough time in Teuton, Rheon, who plays the psychopathic Ramsay Bolton on “Game of Thrones,” is a star among genre auds, and therefore, Alvart feels, an ideal choice for Christian Pasquariello’s debut feature “Sum1,” about a young soldier stationed in a desolate forest while the remnants of humanity hide underground from alien invaders.

“I had him on my radar as someone to really go after whenever possible, and this was the first opportunity,” says Alvart, who is producing the apocalyptic thriller via his Berlin-based Syrreal Entertainment. He adds that he’s been a fan of the Welsh actor since seeing him in the 2009 British sci-fi series “Misfits.”

For Rheon, who co-starred on 2013 ITV sitcom “Vicious” alongside Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi as the couple’s hunky neighbor, the title role of the solitary young grunt piqued his interest. “I love the idea of solitude and the effect on the human mind,” Rheon said on the film’s set in Leipzig.

“Sum1” will be the first release under the Syrreal Suspense label, which focuses on low- and midbudget English-language genre fare. Syrreal produced the film for just over $1 million, securing subsidy coin for about 40% of the budget, in addition to a further 25% in private equity. Munich-based Global Screen is handling international sales, with Universum releasing the film domestically.

Other pics in development include Thor Kunkel’s “Trespasser,” a martial-arts actioner.

Alvart made a name for himself as writer/director/co-producer of 2005’s “Antibodies” before going on to helm the supernatural horror pic “Case 39,” with Renee Zellweger, and sci-fi thriller “Pandorum,” starring Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster.

While he praises the support he received for “Sum1” from regional subsidy orgs Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg and Mitteldeutsche Medienfoerderung, he stresses that genre pics are tough to make in Germany.

The biggest challenge is landing a TV deal, which “Sum1” does not have. Films broadcast on primetime in German television have to have an age 12 rating, making broadcasters loath to invest in movies that are rated for more mature auds, and the ones that offer slots out-side primetime hours have much more limited budgets.

More Film

  • Thierry Fremaux Cannes

    Thierry Fremaux Says 'Cannes Will Always Side With Artists' at Alain Delon's Tribute

    Thierry Fremaux, the artistic director of the Cannes Film Festival, delivered a heartfelt homage to Alain Delon at a ceremony on Sunday during which the French actor received the honorary Palme d’Or. Alluding to the controversy that Delon has triggered with his past declarations, Fremaux said the actor was entitled to have his own convictions [...]

  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt's '7500' Sells to Amazon

    Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Thriller '7500' Sells to Amazon Studios

    Amazon Studios has acquired global rights to Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s terrorist drama “7500.” The deal, announced Monday at the Cannes Film Festival, excludes Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. Universum will distribute the film in Germany. In “7500,” Gordon-Levitt plays the co-pilot of a plane that has been hijacked by terrorists. The title references the code 7500, which [...]

  • Cannes: China's Rediance Boards Sales on

    Cannes: China's Rediance Picks Up Sales on 'Ways to Run' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Chinese indie sales and production finance outfit Rediance has boarded sales on “Ways to Run,” a project in the Cannes Film Festival’s Cinefondation La Residence section. The film picked up a special mention at the prize presentation. The road movie drama is being directed by Afghan-Dutch director Aboozar Amin, who previously made the documentary “Kabul: [...]

  • John Williams Pens Theme for Disneyland's

    John Williams in Disneyland: The Story Behind His 'Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge' Theme

    For only the second time in more than four decades of “Star Wars” music, legendary composer John Williams has written a new theme for a “Star Wars” project that is distinct from his film scores for those galaxies far, far away. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the much-anticipated attraction that will open at Disneyland on May [...]

  • Young Ahmed

    Cannes Film Review: 'Young Ahmed'

    There’s a darkness to “Young Ahmed” that audiences have never seen before in the work of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, the gifted Belgian brothers whose profoundly humane, unapologetically realist dramas have twice earned them the Palme d’Or in Cannes. Like surrogate parents to troubled children, the sibling directors have taken on their share of difficult [...]

  • Radegund

    Cannes: Fox Searchlight Nabs Terrence Malick's 'A Hidden Life'

    Fox Searchlight has picked up rights for U.S. and several international territories on Terrence Malick’s contemplative World War II drama “A Hidden Life,” following its enthusiastic reception at the Cannes Film Festival. “A Hidden Life” tells the true story of the Austrian farmer Franz Jägerstätter, who rejected Adolf Hitler and objected to the war. He [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content