Focus Features International (FFI) and Universal Pictures International (UPI) have formed a distributionand co-financing partnership with German film production and distribution operationUFA Cinema(UFA).
A famous name in the history of German cinema, UFA Cinema was reactivated in late 2007 as part of FremantleMedia, the production arm of Bertelsmann-owned European TV giant RTL, and has an ambitious film production slate.
The deal will see UPI become the exclusive theatrical and home entertainment distributor for UFA productions in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. A minimum of six to eight films per year is expected to flow through the deal over the next three years.
Under a separate agreement, FFI will partner with UFA to co-finance and distribute key co-productions identified for the global marketplace. FFI will also have an option to handle international sales on selected UFA titles.
FFI’s German operations, based in Berlin, will continue to develop German language films under the direction of Andrea Willson and Grass. FFI and UFA plan to work together on some of these local productions.
Speaking to ScreenDaily, FFI co-CEO Christian Grass said UFA were a perfect fit as “they are producing a wide variety of projects, collaborating with young and upcoming film-makers and working with top producing, directing and acting talents in Germany.”
The first films to be released under the new Universal/UFA deal will include Dschungelkind (Jungle Child), Hanni und Nanni (The O’Sullivan Twins), Teufelskicker (Devil’s Kickers) and Tauben auf dem Dach (Pigeons on the Roof).
UFA is currently developing screenplay adaptations of Noah Gordon’s bestselling novel Medicus (The Physician), Robert Harris’ Vaterland (Fatherland), Leonie Swann Glennkill (Three Bags Full) and Bernhard Schlinks latest novel Das Wochenende (The Weekend).