Marking a break with the recent buying drought, the BBC is back in the market for German-language films. Digital channel BBC Knowledge is buying a package of six contemporary German films which it intends to screen from May.
In a deal brokered by Iris Kehr, UK representative of the German Federal Film Board and Export Union of German Cinema, the BBC has bought Tom Tykwer's Winter Sleeper (Winterschlaefer) and Life Is All You Get (Das Leben Ist Ein Baustelle), both from Bavaria Film, Didi Danquart's Jew Boy Levi (Viehjud Levi) from Cinepool, Trains And Roses from Progress Filmverleih, and Doris Doerrie's Am I Beautiful (Bin Ich Schoen') from Atlas International.
BBC Knowledge also aims to screen Joseph Vilsmaier's Comedian Harmonists in November, but has not yet signed off on the contract with Bavaria.
"There is clearly a change of attitude. The German film festival has played very well in London for the last two years, especially with under-25 audiences," said Kehr. "We may not be able to sell to the main terrestrial channels such as BBC2, but the new specialist channels are creating new opportunities for our films."
Kehr, who negotiated with the BBC's Nick Ware, is understood to have struck flat rate deals at the same price for each picture. "We are very happy with the figures we have obtained, even though we had to come down from our original asking price as the BBC wants to re-subtitle them."
BBC Knowledge is a free-to-air digital channel and website with an educational remit that spans science, history arts and culture.