Global Screen has taken on world sales for Xavier Koller’s action adventure family film The Black Brothers which will begin shooting in the Swiss canton of Ticino from Thursday (June 14).
Producer Fritjof Hohagen and screenwriter Klaus Richter have adapted the novel of the same name by Lisa Tetzner and Kurt Held, which was first published in 1941.
Set in the 19th century, the story, which had previously been adapted as a TV mini-series in 1984 and as an anime series, centres on the 13-year-old Giorgio who is sold by his desperately poor parents into servitude in Milan as a chimney sweep to pay for his sick mother’s medical bills. Giorgio is able to survive the harsh conditions thanks to solidarity and friendship with Alfredo who is the head of a secret society “the black brothers”.
The German-Swiss co-production stars Moritz Bleibtreu, Richy Müller, Leonardo Nigro and Sabine Timoteo as well as Fynn Henkel and Oliver Ewy (as Giorgio and Alfredo).
Producer Fritjof Hohagen of Enigma Film told Screen that further shooting will be undertaken in North Rhine-Westphalia and Hesse, with the VFX handled by Oscar-winning Pixomondo in Baden-Württemberg.
Meanwhile, Beta Cinema will handle international sales on Vivian Naefe’s The Taste Of Apple Seeds, adapted from Katharina Hagena’s eponymous novel which sold over 1.1m copies in Germany and was also a bestseller in France and Italy.
The co-production between Hamburg-based Bavaria Filmverleih und Produktions GmbH and Dr. Wilfried Ackermann Filmproduktion features a cast including Hannah Herzsprung, Marie Bäumer, Meret Becker, Paula Beer, Florian Stetter and Friedrich Mücke.
“The novel is constructed like a mosaic, centring on the question of guilt, memory, not wanting to address the past. However, it is only when one has become reconciled with the past that one can then start a new life, producer Uschi Reich told Screen.
“One strand is the story of Iris [played by Herzsprung] as she returns to the family home after the death of her grandmother Bertha, a second revolves around her cousin Rosmarie who died in an accident at the age of 16, while a third one centres on her grandmother who suffers from dementia and has reasons for forgetting some of her past. For the film, we have taken Iris’s story as our main strand and go from here back into the past to the other narrative levels.”
Apple Seeds is the fourth time Reich has worked with director Naefe after making the three Wild Chicks films together.