Feature films by veteran US actor Dennis Hopper, German comedy star Mario Barth and the Cannes/Sochi prize-winning production house Rohfilm are among 26 German and international projects awarded over $8.7m (Euros 5.6m) by Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg (MBB) in its latest funding session.
Hopper received backing for the project River Movie about a former GI who sets off in a boat from Heidelberg to a veterans' gathering in Poland, to be produced by Berlin-based Polarlicht Filmproduktion, while the regional fund invested in standup comic Mario Barth's directorial debut Männersache which will be shot this summer for Constantin Film Produktion.
Production support was also granted by MBB to one of Rohfilm's forthcoming projects, the English-language gangster movie Buddha's Little Finger which has been adapted by the US writer-director Tony Pemberton (Beyond The Ocean) from the bestselling novel by Russian novelist Viktor Pelewin.
Set in Russia on the day of the coup which ousted Mikhail Gorbachev in 1991, the story centres on a would-be gangster who loses his memory during interrogations by the KGB and believes he is a Russian revolutionary poet from 1919.
This German-Russian co-production with the Mikhail Kalatazov Fund (Wild Field) comes after Rohfilm had two films in Cannes - Aida Begic's Snow which won the Critics' Week's Grand Prix and Pablo Aguero's Directors' Fortnight entry Salamandra, now showing at this week's Munich Filmfest - and Kirill Serebrennikov's Yuri's Day in competition at Sochi's Kinotavr festival where it won the Best Actress award for Ksenia Rappoport.
Other projects supported include Markus Goller's buddy road movie Friendship!, produced by Wiedemann & Berg Filmproduktion with Deutsche Columbia Pictures, UFA Cinema's Enid Blyton adaptation Hanni & Nanni and five shorts by international teams selected to compete for the Berlin Today Award at next year's Berlinale.
This funding round saw MBB benefitting for the first time from an additional $1.55m (Euros 1m) which is now being provided annually by the ARD network's film purchaser Degeto. The projects selected in cooperation with Degeto are Jo Baier's European co-production Henri IV, based on the novel by Heinrich Mann, TE Trebitsch Entertainment's biopic of the literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki Mein Leben, and Phoebus Film's Romy Schneider biopic Romy, starring Jessica Schwarz as the legendary German actress.Thanks to Degeto's $1.55m and another $1.55m from the federal states (Laender) of Berlin and Brandenburg, MBB's budget for funding measures in 2008 has been boosted to $49.3m (Euros 31.8m).