Film revolving around Native American community, directed by Damian John Harper, to shoot early 2015.
Paris-based production company Les Films d’Ici 2 has boarded US director Damian John Harper’s upcoming drama In the Middle of the River.
The film, which is lead produced by German Jonas Weydemann is due to shoot in New Mexico in early 2015 and centres on a Native American, Iraqi War veteran’s difficult return to his family’s reservation where he stands up to an abusive grandfather.
It was among 12 projects presented at the Paris Coproduction Village last week.
“We’ve been in talks to work together for some time and we decided to make it official here,” said Weydemann, who produces under the Weydemann Bros. banner, the Cologne-based company he runs with his brother Jakob D.Weydemann.
Under the deal, Les Films d’ici 2 and Weydemann Bros are hoping to tap into the joint French-German mini-treaty fund backed by France’s National Cinema Centre and it Germany’s Federal Film Board (FFA) and will also apply to the CNC’s World Cinema Fund.
Colorado-born Harper has lived in Germany for more than a decade and is eligible for European funding. Weydemann Bros. has already secured the backing of Berlin-based post-production and facilities house Cine Plus, distributor Farbfilm and broadcaster ZDF.
Harper’s debut film Los Angeles, revolving around a group of wayward Zapotec teenagers in Southern Mexico who are soon to head to the US in search of work, screened at the Los Angeles Film Festival over the weekend (June 14), having originally premiered at the Berlinale earlier this year.
As with Los Angeles, Harper is planning to work with amateur actors drawn from the community captured in the film.
“He’ll be running a series of workshops in the reservation where we’re going to shoot from which he will cast the film,” explained Weydemann. “There are lots of films set against the backdrop of Indian reservations but few have been made in full cooperation with the Native Indian community.”
Weydemann would not reveal the exact identity of the reservation where the film will be shot and said pulling together the production is a sensitive process.
Other upcoming productions on Weydemann’s slate include Moldovan Ana-Felicia Scutelnicu’s Anishoara, capturing four stages of womanhood through the eyes and experiences of a 15-year-old girl over four seasons. The film, which is in post-production, will be ready for an early 2015 festival premiere.
Films in development include German Philipp Doring’s summer campsite whodunit Little Paradise, involving a dead body in a lake and three families with skeletons in the closet.
The company is also developing feature-length animation Clash!, inspired by the conflict between immigrant agricultural workers and Italian locals in the Southern Italian region of Calabria in 2010. It will be directed by Jakob Weydemann.
Recent productions by Les Films d’Ici 2, which was created in a 2011 as a fiction-focused sister company to documentary production house Les Films d’Ici, include Claire Simon’s Gare du Nord and Arnaud des Pallieres’ Michael Kohlhaas.
Weydemann Bros. is also working on pre-production on Paul Florian Muller’s Sex & Crime about a long and bloody night involving a best-selling author, his wife, his best-friend and a young waitress.