International feature film and commercial content group Iconoclast and Berlin-based StickUp Films have established a new joint venture to produce feature films and series for the domestic and international markets.
Represented by Creative Artists Agency (CAA), the new shingle, Iconoclast Films Germany, is aiming to produce a minimum of three film or series projects annually within a five-year ramp-up period.
The company is headed by Luis Singer and Dennis Schanz of StickUp Films – the creators and co-producers of Netflix’s award-winning series “Skylines” — as well as Iconoclast executive producer Swantje Rummel.
Iconoclast sees the new venture as part of its international content strategy and a logical extension of its brand. In addition to producing recent works by the likes of Gus Van Sant (“Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot”), Julian Schnabel (“At Eternity’s Gate”), Harmony Korine (“The Beach Bum”) and Romain Gavras (“The World Is Yours”) through its companies in the U.S. and France, Iconoclast also boasts a strong international footprint in music videos, advertising and branding content.
Established in 2011 in Paris and Los Angeles, Iconoclast also has offices in London, Berlin, Sau Paulo and Dakar.
The joint venture is set to strengthen Iconoclast’s presence in the wider European market, Rummel said. “The integration and creative tension between Europe’s cultures and styles has historically been the greatest strength of its artistic production. In all our activities, Iconoclast has always been truly international in its talent pool. Adding another national entity to the network makes us more flexible to use the best people anywhere and still make local production frictionless.”
Iconoclast Films Germany is likewise expected to boost StickUp Films’ international prospects.
“With StickUp Films, Dennis and I have always pushed an ideal of film that starts with creative considerations,” Singer said. “Of course, we want our films and TV series to reach a wide audience beyond traditional arthouse niches, and of course all projects have to make sense economically, but we have always been driven by content and artistic vision. Joining forces with Iconoclast gives us the opportunity to scale up our convictions in an international setting.”
The managing partners are aiming to grow the company organically over the coming years while maintaining its boutique character, Schanz added, stressing that Iconoclast Films Germany would “hold on to the content- and talent-driven, development-oriented approach that has served us well in the past.”
He added: “Building on the industry relations we have established with StickUp and making use of the deep talent pool and audiovisual production experience of Iconoclast’s international network will ensure we can bring relevant stories to world-wide audiences without compromising on artistic standards.”
Iconoclast Films Germany’s first projects include the eight-part comedy series “Doppelhaushälfte” (“Semi-Detached”), which premiered March 15 on German pubcaster ZDF Neo. ZDF has already greenlit development funding for a second season.
Also in the works is Schanz’ new upcoming limited series “Recht und Freiheit” (“Law and Freedom”), a four-part political thriller in co-production with Berlin’s Studio Zentral.
Other projects in development include new works by such directors as Christian Zübert (“Bad Banks”), Maryam Zaree, Maximilian Erlenwein (“Skylines”), Jan-Eric Mack (“Wilder”) and Gustav Johansson.
In addition to Schanz, Singer and Rummel, the new company’s shareholders include Iconoclast managing directors Jan Dressler (whose producing credits include Sebastian Schipper’s 2015 award-winning hit “Victoria”) and Nils Schwemer (who co-produced Iranian-German director Faraz Shariat’s Berlinale Teddy Award-winning 2020 queer coming-of-age drama “No Hard Feelings”) as well as Paris-based Iconoclast France, represented by Nicolas Lhermitte.
“We have followed Dennis and Luis’ work for years and know we share a similar approach to producing content that’s content-driven and relies on flexible, non-corporate structures to get things done,” Dressler said. “There is so much compatibility between us that it really seemed an obvious match, and Dennis and Luis bring a proven track record in the German TV and film market to the table that will accelerate Iconoclast’s increased attention to feature content.”
Pictured from left: Jan Dressler, Swantje Rummel, Luis Singer, Dennis Schanz