×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Locarno: Beta Cinema Takes Piazza Grande Entry ‘What Doesn’t Kill Us’ From Sandra Nettelbeck (EXCLUSIVE)

‘Mostly Martha’ director focuses on just past midlife crisis life quandaries

Beta Cinema has exercised its first look rights option on “What Doesn’t Kill Us,” writer-director Sandra Nettelbeck’s return to German filmmaking and to the themes and even one character of the string of drama-comedies, particularly “Mostly Martha,” which founded her reputation.

With worldwide rights sold by Beta Cinema, “What Doesn’t Kills Us” will world premiere on Aug. 3 at Switzerland’s Locarno Festival, Europe’s biggest mid-Summer event, where it will play in the Piazza Grande, a showcase for the festival’s usually more audience-friendly fare.

To be released in German cinemas by Alamode, “What Doesn’t Kill Us” is an early production of  the Ludwigsburg/Berlin-based production house Sommerhaus Filmproduktion (“In the Aisles”), launched in 2015 with Beta’s Jan Mojto on board as a founding partner. Beta Cinema has a first look but no obligation to handle word sales rights on Sommerhaus titles.

Fore-fronting “Mostly Martha’s” character of psychotherapist Max in “What Doesn’t Kill Us,” the dramedy also returns to Nettelbeck’s sense of characters’ confronting larger life-phases, whether seven late-twenties friends asking if what they want is what they need (1996 debut “Loose Ends”), slowing down and re-prioritizing (“Mostly Martha”) or final romance (“Mr. Morgan’s Last Love”).

Tempered – mixing melancholy and cheer – “What Doesn’t Kill Us” has Max, divorced, with two teen daughters, a headstrong ex-wife, and a sad-looking new dog, falls for a patient, Sophie, a professional no-go.

But, what the hell. Max “has no choice but to stick to the old airplane rule: you must help yourself before you can help others,” as the synopsis puts it.

Beyond Zirner, Mark Waschke, Johanna ter Steege, Deborah Kaufmann, Barbara Auer and Christian Berkel comprise the film’s key cast.

Nettlelback’s sixth feature looks at “the highs and lows that can either save us or haunt us when we realize that the second half time is already well on its way,” Beta Cinema announced on Monday. “When we feel that we should have arrived by now,” it went on, “but are still navigating – and when we hopefully come to understand that it is never too late to gamble everything for love.”

“What Doesn’t Kill Us” “certainly feels like my most reflective, page-turning one to date. A declaration of love for life in the face of loss, a love letter to humor in the face of tragedy, and above all, a passionate pledge for hope,” Nettelbeck said in a statement.

“Because hope,” she went on, “is what keeps us alive, keeps us going, and hope will save us if we let it.”

Produced by Sommerhaus’ Jochen Laube and Fabian Maubach, “What Doesn’t Kill Us” was co-produced by German public broadcaster ZDF, Cine Plus and the Ruhrsoundstudios. The film was shot in Cologne and Wuppertal, among other places, and backed by support from film funds in North Rhine Westphalia, Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein, Baden-Württemberg, the German Federal Film Fund (DFFF) and its BKM allocation for art films.

More Film

  • Woolsey Fire Malibu

    Many Malibu Areas Still Off-Limits for Filming After Fire

    The California Film Commission has maintained its ban on filming in several Malibu areas hit by the massive Woolsey fire in Southern California last month. The commission announced Tuesday that due to continued clean-up and repair work along Pacific Coast Highway, permits for filming on the highway are not being issued at this time. PCH [...]

  • Against the Clock

    Film News Roundup: Andy Garcia's Spy Thriller 'Against the Clock' Bought by Gravitas

    In today’s film news roundup, Andy Garcia’s spy thriller is sold, “Battlestar Galactica” gets a screenwriter, and Brooklyn Decker gets an award. ACQUISITION Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American rights to spy thriller “Against the Clock,” starring Andy Garcia, Dianna Agron (“Glee”), and Justin Bartha, Variety has learned exclusively. The film, formerly titled “Headlock,” is [...]

  • 'Pacific Rim Uprising' film premiere

    John Boyega in Talks to Star in Legal Drama 'A Naked Singularity'

    “Star Wars” actor John Boyega is in talks to star in the legal drama “A Naked Singularity” with Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Productions on board to produce. The movie is based on Sergio De La Pava’s debut novel, which centers on a successful New York public defender whose life begins to unravel after he loses [...]

  • Penny Marshall Dead Obit

    Remembering Penny Marshall, Who Forged Her Own Path and Paved the Way for Others

    She was a natural comedian — fearless and funny, willing to trade on her natural Bronx brogue to craft a sassy and street-wise character that was tailor-made for sitcoms. But Penny Marshall, who died Monday night at the age of 75, proved throughout her long career that she had so much more in the way [...]

  • Aquaman 2018

    'Aquaman' Outpacing 'Wonder Woman' in Fandango Pre-Sales

    Pre-sales of “Aquaman,” which opens on Thursday night, are outpacing “Wonder Woman” at the same point in the advance ticket sales cycle on online ticketer Fandango. “Wonder Woman” opened with $103 million domestically during the June 2 to June 4, 2017, weekend on its way to a $412 million North American total for Warner Bros. “Aquaman,” [...]

  • European Union Placeholder

    Europe, Hollywood Hail Landmark E.U. Territorial Licensing Agreement

    Industry organizations and major companies in Europe and Hollywood welcomed Tuesday a high-level European Union agreement that in large part preserves producers’ ability to sell movies and TV shows on an exclusive territory-by-territory basis. Territorial licensing is a financial backbone of the film and TV business in Europe. Recognition of such licensing came last Thursday in [...]

  • Box Office: 'Aquaman,' 'Mary Poppins Returns'

    Box Office: 'Aquaman' Battles 'Mary Poppins Returns' in Crowded Holiday Weekend

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and the most competitive time at the multiplexes. This weekend sees two very different heroes vying for the box office crown with “Aquaman” and “Mary Poppins Returns” both eyeing sizable debuts. “Mary Poppins Returns” is getting a head start by opening on Wednesday, though estimates show “Aquaman” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content