Nazi-era drama “The Forger,” starring Louis Hofmann of Netflix’s supernatural series “Dark” and the Oscar nominated “Land of Mine,” has debuted its trailer (below) ahead of its world premiere in the Berlinale Special Gala section of the Berlin Film Festival. Beta Cinema will be selling the film at the European Film Market.

Based on a true story, Maggie Peren’s film centers on 21-year-old Cioma Schönhaus, who won’t let anyone take away his zest for life. He wants to discover life, but as a Jewish person in Berlin in the 1940s his very existence is threatened by the Nazis.

Since the best hiding spots are in plain sight, Cioma decides to go out into the light to escape deportation. Using the identity of a marine officer he created for himself, he throws himself into the city’s nightlife and even finds a fragile hope for love during the darkest moments of the war.

Throughout the day he forges IDs with just a brush, some ink and a steady hand – and saves the lives of many others. His talent puts him in more and more danger, though, and at some point Cioma’s only hope of survival is a last forged ID – with his own name on it.

Lazy loaded image
Louis Hofmann and Luna Wedler in “The Forger” Courtesy of Dreifilm

Peren, who wrote the film’s screenplay, based on Schönhaus’ novel of the same name, started writing her first screenplay “Forget America” when she was 24 years old. In 2003, she received the German Film Award for “Before the Fall,” followed by numerous screenplays for which she won national and international awards. In 2011 she presented her second directorial work, “The Color of the Ocean.” The refugee drama celebrated its premiere in Toronto and was awarded several prizes worldwide. She wrote the script for thriller short film “Nocebo” (2014), which won the student Oscar for best foreign film.

In a statement, Peren said Cioma’s tale is “the story of a person who rebels against stigmatization. The regime of terror is present, but we do not offer the Nazis a platform. We see them through Cioma’s eyes as we see everything through his eyes.”

Peren added: “The most difficult thing for me as a director was to do justice to the lightness of the novel, and at the same time tell how [in Schönhaus’ book] people hate Jews as a matter of course [while] thinking that they are friendly and nice after all. It was important to me to raise awareness that racism doesn’t come out of nowhere. The roots go deep into our society and Cioma’s story in its enormous lightness has nevertheless – or just because of it – the power to trace the depth of the roots.”

The cast also includes Jonathan Berlin (“Swimming,” “Summer of 44”), Luna Wedler (“Close to the Horizon”), Nina Gummich (“Bridge of Spies”), and Marc Limpach (“Bad Banks,” “Hinterland”).

The producers are Alexander Fritzemeyer and Martin Kosok for Dreifilm, in co-production with Amour Fou and Network Movie Film- und Fernsehproduktion.