Picture Tree International has picked up world sales rights on Sönke Wortmann’s latest feature “Contra.” PTI will launch the film onto the market with a first promo at AFM, which starts Monday.

“Contra” had its world premiere at the 16th Zurich Film Festival, and is set for a Christmas release in German-speaking territories by Constantin Film, one of the world’s top independent distributors. PTI will give the film a physical market premiere at February’s European Film Market.

Wortmann has been one of German cinema’s leading directors since the early 90s, with films like “Maybe, Maybe Not” (“Der bewegte Mann”), which was the most successful German film of the 1990s, soccer drama “The Miracle of Bern” (“Das Wunder von Bern”), and “Pope Joan” (“Die Päpstin”).

“Contra” follows the fallout for a university professor, Richard Pohl, after he directs a xenophobic insult at law student Naima Hamid. After the insult is recorded and goes viral, the professor is given one last chance to redeem himself.

Pohl’s boss tells him he must prepare Hamid for a nationwide debate competition, a suggestion that appals both professor and student. Over time this unlikely pairing achieve their first successes, until Hamid realizes that the exercise only serves one purpose: to save the university’s reputation.

“Contra” stars Nilam Farooq (“My Blind Date With Life,” “Sweethearts”) as Hamid, and Christoph Maria Herbst (“Look Who’s Back,” “Jim Knopf Und Die Wilde 13”) as Pohl.

The film is produced by Christoph Müller and Tom Spieß, with Martin Moszkowicz as executive producer for Constantin Film, in coproduction with Seven Pictures. It is supported by the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, Federal Film Board (FFA), German Federal Film Fund (DFFF), and Film und Fernseh Fond Bayern (FFF).