L.A. and Berlin-based producer Gabriela Bacher, CEO of media company Film House Germany, is attached to executive produce Witcraft Filmproduktion’s mystery drama project “Snow,” selected for this year’s Co-Pro Series at the Berlinale Co-Production Market.
Bacher, a former Fox International Productions executive and principal of Studio Babelsberg, joined the company in 2011 as both CEO of Film House Germany and managing director at FHG’s subsid Summerstorm Ent..
Set-up at Witcraft, a company co-founded by Ursula Wolschlager (“Caviar,” “Mademoiselle Paradis”), “Snow” is a mystery drama created by Michaela Taschek, and co-directed by distinguished Austrian cineaste Barbara Albert (“Mademoiselle Paradis”) and Sandra Wollner (“The Impossible Picture.”)
Aimed to start principal photography in fall 2021 in Italy’s South Tyrol, the German language project is currently in treatments for all six episodes of Season One.
With Elisabeth Moss-starrer TV series “Top of the Lake” as a reference, “Snow” is set in the mountain village of Rotten, which has lived off snow and winter sports for many years. As new snow refused to come, the village has been losing its focus.
One day, the body of a woman in 1980’s clothes emerges from the melting ice of a glacier, apparently the victim of a violent death.
Lucia Salinger, the new doctor, who has landed in the village with her family in a attempt to rescue her marriage, examines the body and soon becomes drawn into the case against her will.
“It is closely connected to the very timely issue of climate change. Villages like Rotten tend to not only live off of snow and winter sports, they also derive their whole identity from it,” series producer Ursula Wolschlager says.
Michaela Taschek, the series writer, grew up in a tiny town at the very eastern mountains of the Alps, where most of the skiing resorts had to close due to the lack of snow. She was always intrigued by things or people that reappear.
“The discovery of Ötzi [The mummy founded in 1991 in the Ötztal Alps] was a huge story during my childhood. Due to the melting ice nowadays not a week goes by without new things reappearing up on the mountains,” she explained.
He asked: “What happens if those things have a great impact on the present? What if they come back to haunt you? I liked the combination of an actual, occurring phenomenon combined with something more mystical. I was also inspired by Alpine legends and myths.”
“The relationship or rather dependence, both physical and psychological, between people and nature is very fascinating. The salvation, happiness and fulfillment, but also the danger, fear and unpredictability of it intrigued me,” she added.
According to Taschek, some aspects that can make “Snow” different to previous titles are “the setting – some very real circumstances that influence all of us (climate change, higher temperatures, lack of snow, weird weather) – combined with more mystical incidents that all collide in Rotten, a place trapped between its failures in the past and its hopes for the future.”
“It’s a very ‘permeable’ story – past/present, nature/people, reality/supernatural, even the four seasons mingle into one.”
The project has been developed with the support of IDM Film Funding, Wolschlager said.
Vienna-based Witcraft is expanding its portfolio to TV shows with projects such as “Snow, “Meet Your Faker” and “A Class of Their Own,” which has been commissioned by Austrian pubcaster ORF.
“Snow” co-director Sandra Wollner presents her feature debut “The Trouble with Being Born,” a German-Austrian co-production, at this year’s new Berlinale Encounters section.
Film House Germany’s slate under Bacher takes in “The Exception,” toplining Christopher Plummer and Lily James, Bernard Rose’s The Devil’s Violinist,” and “Frankenstein,” starring Carrie-Anne Moss.
At Summerstorm, she’s also been involved in titles such as “Endless,” starring Alexandra Ship and Nicholas Hamilton; Julien Landais’ “The Aspern Papers,” with Vanessa Redgrave Joely Richardson and Jonathan Rhys Meyers; and Matthew Ross’ “Siberia,” toplining Keanu Reeves.