Germany’s C-Films and France’s Mondex & Cie are partnering to produce ’Ingmar Bergman – Legacy of a Defining Genius,’ a documentary feature portrait of the themes, world and lasting impact of the Swedish director, hailed as of the greatest ever of filmmakers, directed by Margarethe von Trotta, a leading light of the New German Cinema (“The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum”).
Edward Noeltner’s Cinema Management Group (CMG) will handle international sales on the film, introducing it to buyers at this week’s Cannes Film Market.
Exploring Bergman’s work with his closest collaborators, in front of and behind the camera, as well as a new generation of filmmakers influenced by him, Von Trotta’s film is scheduled to shoot from Summer 2017, in time for its release to coincide with the centenary of Bergman’s birth next year.
The film is inevitably personal. Living in Paris in 1960s, Bergman’s movies had huge influence on a young von Trotta, helping to determine her career as an actress and then director. In the former capacity, she worked with Sven Nykist, Bergman’s cinematographer; Liv Ullmann presented von Trotta with a Golden Lion for “Marianne and Juliane.”
“Ingmar Bergman – Legacy of a Defining Genius” will present key scenes from Bergman’s works and also key settings for his creativity, such as Stockholm’s Royal Dramatic Theatre. Hamburg-based C-Film’s Benjamin Seikel and Konstanze Speidel, who conceived the idea for the film, are producing together with Paris-based Mondex & Cie’s Guy Amon and Stéphane Sorlat, which has seen robust results from the release in France of two art-themed features, Carlos Saura’s “Argentina,” which opened in 2015, and “El Bosco. Jardin de los Sueños (“Le Mystère Jérôme Bosch”), released in 2016.
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Von Trotta will make the documentary with her son, Felix Moeller, a film historian and moviemaker.
“I want to search for clues in the works of directors who are still alive, to find out what was important to them about Bergman in their own artistic output,” von Trotta said.
C-Films has been developing “Legacy of Defining Genius” for nearly two years, added Speidel, accessing never-seen-before documents and film footage. The film has the support of the Ingmar Bergman Foundation and Svensk Filmindustri, the Scandinavian multi-media company with whom Bergman made most of his films, and the current owner of all of his works.
“I knew Margarethe von Trotta from having worked with her on three of her films and had enjoyed the experience so much that when we heard about the project, we decided immediately to join the production!” said Amon.
Bergman’s influence is pervasive. In New York, the film “The Seventh Seal” is being presented as an opera. Noeltner himself licensed over 30 of Bergman’s films around the world in the late ‘90s as a former SVP of international sales at Svensk Filmindustri.
“‘Legacy of a Defining Genius’ promises to be a seminal work on one of the greatest filmmakers of the twentieth century,” he said.