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AFM: Buoyant German Sales Companies Hit Mart With Full Slates

Germany’s muscular films sales sector is in full bloom at this year’s American Film Market, with lineups that include the latest in German-language films, genre titles and world cinema.
ARRI Media Intl. is set to make a splash with the screenings of two German genre titles, Bogdana Vera Lorenz’s dystopian thriller “Lockdown” and Oliver Kienle’s psychological thriller “Four Hands.” The company is also presenting Swiss family pic “Mr. Moll and the Chocolate Factory.”

ARRI Media Intl. has been focusing on co-financing and acquiring genre films, including elevated horror pics and thrillers, over the past two years, says sales and acquisitions manager Julia Pahl.

Global Screen is likewise embracing genre with a number of action-packed titles, including actor-director Ken Duken’s high-octane thriller “Berlin Falling,” in which a driver (Duken) picks up a hitchhiker, played by Tom Wlaschiha of “Game of Thrones” fame, only to discover that his passenger is a crazed terrorist with a bomb.
Khaled Kaissar’s “Luna’s Revenge,” starring Lisa Vicari and Carlo Ljubek, tells the story of a young woman who sets off to avenge her murdered family after discovering her father was a Russian sleeper agent.

In Christian Alvart’s suspense thriller “Don’t.Get.Out,” starring Wotan Wilke Möhring and Fahri Yardim, a Berlin real estate developer is driving his kids to school when he’s notified by a blackmailer that if he doesn’t pay up, his car will blow up. A deadly race against time ensues. Yardim co-stars alongside the Netherlands’ Sylvia Hoeks (“Blade Runner 2049”) in “Whatever Happens,” Niels Laupert’s relationship drama about a couple’s last night together.

Berlin-based Picture Tree Intl. has a full slate that includes upcoming action-comedy “Hot Dog,” which will be screened for buyers and is toplined by German superstars Til Schweiger and Mathias Schweighoefer. Making its market premiere, “Teenosaurus Rex,” Leander Haussmann’s hit comedy about a father grappling with the fact that his once-darling daughter has become an adolescent monster.

Picture Tree is also handling Bosnian filmmaker Alen Drljević’s award-winning “Men Don’t Cry,” which examines the legacy of war and the search for reconciliation. The film, which premiered this year at the Karlovy Vary festival, is Bosnia’s entry in Oscar’s foreign-language film race.

“Sheikh Jackson,” the story of a young cleric in Egypt who is hit hard by the death of Michael Jackson, is among the 10 international works on offer from Cologne-based Media Luna New Films. The film, by writer-director Amr Salama, is Egypt’s Academy Award entry in the foreign-language category.

Salama says of his film, which is screening at AFM: “I never felt as vulnerable making a film. It was half writing a memoir and half fictionalizing a universal story that can transcend above stereotyping and prejudice, a story about fear of death and loving life, identity, temptation and self-love.”

Media Luna also presentis its first co-production, Antoni Hens’ Spanish comedy-drama “Oh Mamy Blue!” The film stars Carmen Maura as a legendary rock singer living in a retirement home. She gets a new lease on life after the grandson she never knew she had shows up and asks her to teach him to be a rock musician.

Likewise offered by Media Luna is Rebekah Fortune’s U.K. drama “Just Charlie,” about an adolescent boy and soccer star who feels trapped in his own body and pressured by his father’s expectations. The company is also screening “Happy Birthday, Toby Simpson,” Patrick Makin’s British romantic comedy about a stressed-out young man who finds love and freedom when he unwittingly ends up at a music festival on his birthday.

Munich’s Beta Cinema is unveiling seven market premieres, including Israeli helmer Eran Riklis’ “Shelter,” about a Lebanese informant and the Mossad agent who is sent to protect her while she’s recovering from plastic surgery; and Aku Louhimies’ “Unknown Soldier,” about a platoon of Finnish soldiers fighting the Soviets during World War II.

Also screening is Juergen Bollmeyer’s “3 Way Junction,” starring Tom Sturridge as a young London architect who travels to Namibia, where he soon finds himself stranded in the desert and desperate to survive.

The Match Factory, meanwhile, is focusing on its slew of foreign-language Oscar entries, including Samuel Maoz’s Israeli drama “Foxtrot”; Fatih Akin’s German thriller “In the Fade,” starring Diane Kruger; Argentina’s “Zama”; Kyrgyzstan’s “Centaur”; “Ice Mother” (Czech Republic); and “White Sun” (Nepal). The Cologne-based company is also handling Anup Singh’s Hindi-language “The Song of the Scorpions” and Jan Zabeil’s German award-winning family drama “Three Peaks.”

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