Champagnecorks may have popped in Sarajevo after Jasmila Zbanic's debut feature Grbavicawon the Golden Bear at last month's Berlinale - but celebrationswere not confined to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Therewas also cause for jubilation in Germany: Didi Danquart's Karlsruhe-based noirfilm was one of the co-producers, along with Austria'scoop99, Zbanic's own company Deblokadaand Croatia's Jadran Film.

Thesuccess of Zbanic's film has again drawn attention tothe involvement of German producers in films shot in the region of the formerYugoslavia.

Ofcourse, Karl "Baumi" Baumgartner of PandoraFilm has had a longstanding presence here as a co-producer of Emir Kusturica's films. One of his latest projects - Dusan Milic's Love FairIn Gucha, co-produced byPandora's sister company Pallas Film with Serbia, Austria and Bulgaria - is inthe final stages of post-production and is hoping for slot at Cannes.

Thanksto an open policy towards co-productions with central and easternEurope by such regional public funds as MDM, MedienboardBerlin-Brandenburg and MFG Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germanproducers have become popular partners on projects from Slovenia through toMacedonia.

Inaddition, co-production gatherings such as Connecting Cottbus,the Mannheim Meetings, Sarajevo's CineLink, the SofiaMeetings and, most recently, Belgrade's B2B Industry Meetings have encouraged crossborder collaborations with Germany.

Inproduction in Belgrade until April 4 is Serbian film-maker SrdanGolubovic's family drama The Trap, which isbeing co-produced with Berlin-based Mediopolis withbacking from public funder MDM. Goluboviccame to the attention of international festival audiences with his 2001well-paced drama Absolute Hundred (ApsolutnihSto) which was also shot by AcaIlic, who is also cinematographer on The Trap.

"Aftermy first film, it was important for me to find partners abroad to make my nextmovie more international. I could see from the success of Absolute Hundredthat I am able to tell stories that have universal appeal," director Srdan Golubovic recalls.

"Onseeing Absolute Hundred, I wanted to be with Srdanon his next project to build up a lasting working relationship," adds Mediopolis' Alexander Ris."What fascinates me is how precise Srdan canwork in creating a dramatic structure and how he comes to the point. His kindof storytelling is really fresh."

Apartfrom advising on the script and bringing a world sales company - Bavaria FilmInternational - onboard, Ris also accessed theLeipzig-based MDM fund whose backing was used to pay for equipment and raw filmstock as well as sound post-production back in Germany.

OtherGerman elements Ris brought to the table included thecomposer Mario Schneider and the actress Anica Dobrawho has a German passport. Mediopolis now plans to bethe German partner with Slovenia's Emotion Film on The Woman With The Broken Nose, the next feature from The Trap'sco-screenwriter Srdjan Koljevic.

Meanwhile,principal photography began in Croatia on March 13 for OgnenSvilicic's second feature Arminafter his debut Sorry For Kung Fu. Duesseldorf-based Busse & Halberschmidt Filmproduktion -which was previously the German co-producer of Macedonian-born Sergei Stanojkovski's debut Contactlast year - are partners with Zagreb-based Maxima Film on the story of a shyBosnian boy who wants to become an international movie star. It also broughttwo German stars - Marie Baeumer (DerSchuh Des Manitu) and Jens Muenchow (Unveiled) - to the project.

"Asa German producer looking for film projects for the international market, Ognen Svilicic is a film-makerwho has a fascinating way of telling stories, even about the war," saysproducer Markus Halberschmidt. "He does so byusing a very personal character-driven style and a very special sense ofhumour. His stories are deeply rooted in his country's history, but become veryuniversal through his way of transforming them to the medium of film."

Preliminaryshooting just began in Bosnia on Srdjan Vuletic's second feature Yemin(after the Tiger Award-winning Summer In The GoldenValley) which has principal photography this summer and is beingco-produced by Hamburg-based Neue ImpulsFilm.

Germanproduction partners are also onboard new feature projects in development byMacedonia's Teona Mitevska(Flying Moon Filmproduktion), Serbia's Moma Mrdakovic (Peter Stockhaus Filmproduktion/Rohfilm),Croatia's Arsen Anton Ostojic(Thoke Moebius Film) andBosnia's Aida Begic (Rohfilm).

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