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German Sales Agents Surf on Title Wave

There’s something for everyone at AFM: from drama to horror to family friendly toons

Germany’s leading sales companies have descended on the American Film Market with a wide range of titles that span horror and historical fare to arthouse, animation and family pics.

Supernatural thrillers look to be especially prevalent this year, with such chilling titles as “The Sonata,” “Hanna’s Homecoming” and “Party Hard, Die Young” — all from ARRI Media Intl.

Directed by Andrew Desmond and starring Freya Tingley, Simon Abkarian and Rutger Hauer, “The Sonata” follows a young violinist who inadvertently triggers dark forces after discovering a mysterious music score composed by her late father. The film world premiered at AFM.

Esther Bialas’ “Hanna’s Homecoming,” likewise having its market premiere, centers on a teen girl who is shunned in her village because her mother was widely believed to be a witch and responsible for the deaths of several men. The pic premiered in October at the Hof Film Festival.

Also screening is Dominik Hartl’s “Party Hard, Die Young,” in which a group of Austrian teens head off to a Croatian island for the party of a lifetime, only to start dropping dead in mysterious ways.

Picture Tree Intl. is also offering chills and thrills with apocalyptic zombie thriller and Toronto screener “Ever After,” by Berlin-based Swedish helmer Carolina Hellsgard.

Based on the graphic novel by Olivia Vieweg, the film focuses on two young women who flee Germany’s only zombiefree region, the last holdouts of human civilization, and embark on a journey into a lush and beautiful post-apocalyptic landscape in which nature has taken over.

The Berlin-based company is also handling Polish filmmaker Borys Lankosz’s fantasy thriller “Dark, Almost Night,” about a journalist investigating the disappearances of children, only to stumble across evil forces linked to a lost treasure and the area’s war-tainted past.

Meanwhile, making its market premiere is Beta Cinema’s “Trautmann,” from director Marcus H. Rosenmüller. The true story follows Bert Trautmann, a German POW in England whose prowess as a goalkeeper leads to a post-war career playing for Manchester City soccer club in the 1950s.

Portraying yet another history-making Austrian, Bruno Ganz stars as Sigmund Freud in Nikolaus Leytner’s “The Tobacconist.” The Beta title focuses on the famed neurologist’s friendship with a 17-year-old tobacco shop apprentice at the beginning of the Nazi era.

Animation is again making a big splash at the AFM with Kate Winslet and Willem Dafoe lending their voices to Sola Media’s “Manou the Swift,” about a young swift adopted by seagulls who ends up defending both bird species alike from dangerous rats and a coming storm. In “Up and Away,” a village boy gets more than he bargains for when he takes a girl on a magic carpet ride.

Global Screen’s “Marnie’s World,” about a pampered house cat who learns to survive in the outside world with a little help from her friends, likewise unspools at the mart. The company also screens “Tabaluga,” which follows the adventures of a young dragon and magical ice princess who team up to foil the sinister plans of an evil lord.

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