XYZ Films’s upcoming sci-fi thriller “Stowaway” is set to shoot in Munich and Cologne after securing regional funding in Germany, where the Los Angeles-based company is looking to establish a long-term relationship with production partners Rise Pictures and Augenschein Filmproduktion.
Directed by Joe Penna (“Arctic”) and starring Anna Kendrick and Toni Collette, “Stowaway” follows a spaceship crew headed to Mars whose mission is imperiled when they discover an unexpected passenger.
The pic is set to shoot at Bavaria Studios near Munich and at MMC Studios in Cologne. The production has so far obtained€2 million ($2.2 million) from Bavarian funder FFF Bayern and looks certain to nab further federal and regional support, most likely from Filmstiftung NRW in North Rhine-Westphalia and the German Federal Film Fund (DFFF).
“We’re hoping, and all signs are positive, for almost 50% of our financing out of Germany,” said XYZ partner Aram Tertzakian, who described “Stowaway” as the company’s “biggest high-profile film to date.”
Rise Pictures is the production unit of Berlin-based Rise Visual Effects Studios, a leading VFX player that has worked on films like “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War.” Augenschein produced the upcoming airplane thriller “7500,” starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
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Rise will handle all of the film’s VFX at its Munich affiliate, which made the FFF Bayern’s international co-production funding possible.
CAA Media Finance also worked closely with XYZ to package and finance “Stowaway,” Tertzakian noted.
XYZ is hoping the production in Germany and collaboration with Rise and Augenschein will become “a repeatable model for us,” Tertzakian added. The company is looking at making at least one or two films in Germany each year.
Germany’s DFFF offers a 25% rebate on productions that spend at least €2 million ($2.2 million) in the country, including VFX expenditures. FFF Bayern and fellow regional funder MFG Baden-Württemberg also offer VFX support in the form of 20% rebates. Other regional subsidies look likely to introduce similar VFX initiatives. Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, the country’s biggest regional funder, does not currently offer such funding, but that could change.
Wild Bunch is releasing “Stowaway” in Germany and France, while Sony is distributing in many other major territories.