Match factory

Source: Match Factory Productions

Viola Fügen and Michael Webber

Need to know: In 2013 Michael Weber set up a separate production arm to his sales company The Match Factory with Viola Fügen. He recognised that helping producers close financing on international co-productions could be done in-house, which also allowed for more creative input into projects. Fügen came over from Pandora Productions to run the arthouse-cinema-focused division, which has gone on to be involved in features by Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Cemetery Of Splendor, Memoria), Laura Bispuri (Daughter Of Mine), Kornel Mundruczo (Jupiter’s Moon, Evolution), Pietro Marcello (Martin Eden) and Edwin (Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash, 2021 Locarno Golden Leopard winner). Directors that Match Factory works with on the sales side still yield most projects while long-term financing partners include Arte and ZDF. In Cannes, the company will have Marcello’s Scarlet in Directors’ Fortnight and Emin Alper’s Burning Days in Un Certain Regard. It is also entering a new phase under the ownership of Mubi, a deal announced before Berlin. The partnership should allow MFP to ramp up the pace of development, Weber adds (albeit at a price: as Mubi is a US-registered company, MFP can no longer apply for Creative Europe Media slate funding).

Key personnel: Michael Weber, Viola Fügen, co-founders and producers.

Incoming: In development are Brothers, a drama set around 2016’s attempted coup d’etat in Turkey, the feature debut of writer/director Türker Süer; and The Guests by Stefan Butzmühlen and Cristina Diz, a Spain-Germany co-production about a couple’s road trip to Franco-era Spain. It also has Joshua Oppenheimer’s ambitious musical The End, which will start shooting in early 2023, and is developing its first TV series, The Report, set in the world of Middle East politics.

Michael Weber says: “As the landscape in Germany for international co-productions is getting tougher, it’s forcing us to look in a more strategic way at projects, and be more selective than in previous years.”