Three German funds invest over $25m in new projects from Vincent Perez, Cate Shortland, Jos Stelling and others

New films by actor-director Vincent Perez, Chile’s Alicia Scherson, veteran Dutch director Jos Stelling and Mexican-born Patricia Riggen are among a raft of international co-productions backed by German film funds in their latest funding sessions.

Leipzig-based Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung (MDM) is backing Perez’s adaptation of Hans Fallada’s 1947 novel Alone In Berlin (Jeder Stirbt Für Sich Allein) which was described by Primo Levi as “the greatest book ever written about German resistance to the Nazis”.

Perez is working with producer Stefan Arndt of Berlin’s X-Filme Creative Pool on the adaptation as a German-French-Swiss co-production. Last year, Michael Hofmann’s English translation of the novel for Penguin Classics became a publishing sensation, selling over 220,000 copies in the UK alone.

MDM also greenlit funding for Jos Stelling’s The Girl And Death which will be produced by My Joy producer fiction and feature Sylvia Hoeks in the lead. There was also project development support for Bulgarian director Stefan Komanderev’s The Judgement and Hungarian film-maker Gyula Nemes’ eco-thriller Zero.

Meanwhile, Düsseldorf-based Filmstiftung NRW has come onboard Chilean filmmaker Alicia Scherson’s next feature project El Futuro, which is based on the novella Una Novelita Lumpen and is set to be produced by Germany’s Pandora Film with Chile’s Jifara Films and Play, Italy’s Movimento Films and Spain’s IMVAL, with Rutger Hauer and Manuel Martelli lined up for the cast.

Funding was also granted by the Filmstiftung to two co-productions with Israel: Yuval Adler’s Bethlehem, to be produced by Cologne-based Gringo Films with Israel’s Pie Films and Belgium’s Entre Chien et Loup, and Swiss director Romed Wyder’s Dawn, based on a screenplay by Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel and William Billy Mackinnon. The co-production between Enigma Film, Israel’s Lama Film, Switzerland’s Dschoint Ventschr and France’s Les Poissons Volants is based on Wiesel’s novel of the same name about Jewish freedom fighters in Palestine in 1947.

In addition, Berlin-based Jooyaa Filmproduktion and Getaway Pictures received backing for Oleg Assadulin’s Siberia, Of All Places (Ausgerechnet Sibirien), adapted by Michael Ebmeyer and Minu Barati-Fischer from Ebmeyer’s novel Der Neuling, with Russia’s CTB Filmcompany as co-producer. Joachim Krol, Katja Riemann and Vladimir Burlakov will star in the fish-out-of-water comedy shooting in Russia this summer.

At the same time, the Stuttgart-based fund MFG Baden-Württemberg has given production support to Patricia Riggen’s long gestating biopic Vivaldi, based on the life of the composer Antonio Vivaldi. Producer Zeitsprung Entertainment had already received $ 2.1m (€ 1.5m) funding for the project from Filmstiftung NRW last year.

MFG also invested in Australian filmmaker Cate Shortland’s German-language debut Lore which is being co-produced by Germany’s Rohfilm whose latest international co-production The Slut is premiering in Critics’ Week at Cannes.

Aside from backing international co-productions, the German film funds have also backed such new local projects as Detlev Buck’s 3D adaptation of Daniel Kehlmann’s bestselling novel Die Vermessung Der Welt, Hermine Huntgeburth’s second Mark Twain adaptation Huck Finn, Sebastian Schipper’s thriller Odysseus,Mike Marzuk’s Enid Blyton’s Fünf Freunde, inspired by Blyton’s Famous Five books and Bora Dagtekin’s big-screen version of the hit TV series Turkish For Beginners (Türkisch Für Anfänger).

In total the three regional funds MDM, Filmstiftung NRW and MFG Baden-Württemberg and the Berlin-based German Federal Film Board (FFA) decided to pay out over $25.7m (€ 18m) for various funding measures at their latest sittings.