MMC Independent, the production arm of Cologne's MMC Studios, will start developing feature films in-house in addition to serving as a co-producer on third-party projects.

Speaking exclusively to during this week's Medienforum NRW, MMC Independent production executive Basti Griese explained that MMC Independent's recently expanded team 'intends to become more involved in the development of projects at all stages: from the idea through treatment and screenplay to realisation, so that we are not just a co-producer, but are a producer who co-develops and accommpanies a project from A to Z.'

He stressed that MMC would 'continue to work as a co-producer and service provider, but we also want to get involved in projects of young filmmakers at a very early stage. It is not a prerequisite that these films have to be shot at the MMC studios, although it is naturally an advantage that one has such resources. We would rather concentrate our energies on the particular project. If it makes sense to shoot in a studio, we will do this, but this doesn't have to be the case.'

Griese explained that the MMC Independent was still „at the beginnings' of identifying interesting young filmmakers from all over Germany to work with, 'but we also have contacts to Norwegians and, through [last year's co-production] Wilhelm Tell, more connections to Switzerland.'

Nevertheless, development of one of MMC Independent's first in-house projects with Cologne's Academy of Media Arts graduate Bernd Schaarmann is progressing 'quite swiftly'. Griese is currently working on the financing, with the plan to go into production in February or March 2008. Actor Vadim Glowna, who is set to appear in the film, will co-produce with his Berlin-based production company Atossa Film

In the past, MMC Independent was a co-producer on such diverse films as Amelie From Montmartre, The King Is Dancing, Investigating Sex, 7 Dwarfs: Maenner Allein Im Wald, and Wilhelm Tell which were partly shot at the MMC studios in Ossendorf. Wilhelm Tell, which was produced with Switzerland's Zodiac Pictures, will be released in Switzerland and Germany in October by Universal Pictures International.

Meanwhile, the MMC studios have most recently hosted Joseph Vilsmaier's ZDF historical two-parter Hafen Der Hoffnung - Die letzte Fahrt Der Wilhelm Gustloff about the refugee ship catastrophe of January 1945, and is now providing the interiors for Peter Sehr and Marie Noelle's The Anarchist's Wife, Max Faerberboecks Anonyma - A Woman In Berlin, and Heinrich Breloer's Thomas Mann adaptation Buddenbrooks.