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Global Launch of Air-Crash Drama ‘Starfighter’ Delayed Following Germanwings Tragedy

CANNES — Germany-based production and distribution company Beta Film has delayed the international launch of its big-budget TV movie “Starfighter,” which centers on a real-life scandal involving hundreds of jet-fighter crashes in the 1960s in Germany.

Beta has postponed the show’s debut at TV sales market Mip TV in Cannes following German broadcaster RTL’s decision to remove the film from its schedules after the Germanwings plane crash, which killed 150 people in late March. Beta had planned to present the movie to international buyers at its Mip TV brunch on Tuesday, and show clips from the drama.

The German government bought 916 Starfighter jets from Lockheed in the 1960s, of which 292 crashed, causing the deaths of 116 pilots. The movie follows the battle by a widow of one of the pilots to uncover the truth behind the plane crashes, which were initially blamed on pilot error.

The visual effects-heavy movie had a production budget of Euros 6 million ($6.36 million), which is three times the standard budget for a TV movie in Germany. It is produced by Zeitsprung Pictures for RTL.

Beta will press ahead with the launch of another major German drama based on real events, “Line of Separation.” The miniseries begins in 1945 in a German village that is cut in two when the Russians and the U.S. divide Germany into Eastern and Western parts. It follows the lives of the village’s inhabitants until 1961. The three-part drama is produced by Wiedemann & Berg Television, whose feature film “The Lives of Others” won the Oscar for foreign-language film in 2007.

Beta is also pre-selling Oliver Hirschbiegel’s spy-drama “Back to Back,” which is set in Berlin in the 1970s. The six-part series shoots in July. Paula Milne has written the script for the Rainmark Films, Beta and UFA co-production.

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