AFM: Films in Motion Sets WWII Films With Sirena, Merkur

Berlin-based Films in Motion is partnering with Czech producer Sirena Film and Norway’s Merkur Films on two World War II-related films that promise high-caliber talent both in front and behind the camera.

Films in Motion, headed by U.S. producer Rene Asch, has recruited German helmer Jo Baier (“Henry of Navarre”) and award-winning Swiss filmmaker Markus Imboden (“The Foster Boy”) for the projects, both penned by American writer J. Frank James.

Spanish sales company Moonrise Pictures has picked up world sale rights for both titles, which are set to go into production next year.

Baier is attached to helm “Bones of the Wise Man,” which will be co-produced by Sirena and shot entirely in Prague.

The film, about a mentally challenged man manipulated into embarking on a seemingly impossible mission, is set to star Max Hopp (“Who Am I — No System Is Safe”), Benjamin Sadler (“One Breath”), Steffi Kuehnert (“The White Ribbon”), Silke Bodenbender, one of Germany’s leading TV stars, and Erik Madsen (“Lilyhammer”). Sirena most recently co-produced Xavier Giannoli’s French historical drama “Marguerite,” which is a hit at the French box office.

Imboden is set to direct “Life Through a Dead Man’s Eyes,” which Oslo-based Merkur is co-producing. The film centers on an 84-year-old former Nazi death camp guard who assumes the identity of a Jew in an effort to escape justice only to find himself haunted by a living nightmare. Matthias Habich (“Downfall”), pictured, Herbert Knaup (“In Darkness”) and Ursina Lardi (“The White Ribbon”) are set to star. The pic will shoot entirely at the FilmCamp studio complex located in northern Norway.

“When we read these J. Frank James screenplays we were enthralled because of the different views audiences will be given to World War II,” said Moonrise CEO Colette Aguilar.

Asch added that working with international partners on the projects will allow the producers to tap film incentives in the various countries.

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