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A host of projects by first-time directors went before the camera this autumn.

For a start, Tatiana Brandrup has just returned from three weeks of shooting in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi for her feature debut Caucasian Business (Kaukasischer Coup) with Italian For Beginners lead actress Ann Eleonora Jorgensen and Nowhere In Africa's Merab Ninidze. The romantic comedy, which is being produced by Berlin-based Egoli Tossell Film, has since been picked up for international distribution by Telepool.

Meanwhile, Cyril Tuschi has also sought out foreign climes between Berlin, Valencia in Spain and Tangiers for his coming of age tale-cum-love story Sommer Hunde Soehne which features a young cast including Stipe Erceg, Fabian Busch, Lilja Loeffler and Daniela Ziegler. Academy Films will distribute in Germany with Bavaria Film International handling world sales.

Nearer to home, UK-born German Film & Television Academy graduate Andrew Hood wrapped his feature debut Skin Deep in Leipzig at the beginning of last month. For Berlin-based producer Peter Rommel, this was the first time he had worked with a private media fund, David Groenewold's German Film Productions (GFP). Unlike most of the other media funds, GFP has steered clear of Stateside productions and concentrated on backing homegrown talent. From the rating successes and sales on the TV two-parters Das Jesus Video and Das Wunder Von Lengede (A Light In Dark Places), GFP seems to have a lucky hand and will hoping to do the same on the local features it has backed apart from Skin Deep (Der Wixxer and Lattenknaller).

Further north, Hamburg is the setting for another debutant project, Torsten Wacker's comedy Superseks, which also marks a first for the young production company Magnolia Filmproduktion after producers Nina Bohlmann and Babette Schroeder line-produced French director Jean-Pierre Sinapi's Vivre Me Tue and co-produced Tomy Wigand's Polly Pinn last year. The Euros 1.5m project is being co-produced by Berlin's Valerian Film and Studio Babelsberg Motion Pictures (SBMP) who came onboard on with retroactive "reference" funding from the box-office success of its co-production of Roman Polanski's The Pianist. Warner Bros. will release theatrically in Germany next year.

Indeed, SBMP has its hands full at the moment, serving as a financial co-producer on 20th Century Fox's sci-fi horror-thriller Alien Vs. Predator, which Paul.W.S. Anderson is directing for Impact Pictures and Davis Entertainment in Prague, and coordinating the production services for Universal's The Bourne Supremacy which begins shooting at the Babelsberg Studios and at locations in Berlin and Potsdam from November 24 with Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Julia Stiles under Paul Greengrass' direction.

"There were no financial incentives to attract the producers [of The Bourne Supremacy] to Berlin", SBMP's Head of Production Henning Molfenter claims. "They came because of the service we provide, because they know the team here can deliver, and because of Berlin."