Midway through International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), the In the Basement director has talked about his period drama; while George Takei has revealed details on his WWII project and Autlook and picked up new titles.
Speaking at Amsterdam’s EYE centre, controversial Austrian director Ulrich Seidl, whose latest doc In The Basement (sold by Coproduction Office) is screening at the festival, revealed further details of his forthcoming costume film.
The film, a historical drama set in the late 18th century, has a working title of Herr Grasl. It is set in “the milieu of the poorest of the poor”.
These are young people, returning from war and having to engage in criminal activities to survive. Its main character is Herr. Grasl, a real-life Robin Hood-like figure who lived in the northern part of Austria fought back against the authorities and was eventually hanged at the age of 26. The film promises to be Seidl’s most ambitious yet.
“That is why I’ve waited so long to do it,” said the director. “It’s a very expensive project and I want to use my method and have the freedoms that I am used to.”
Seidl is producing himself and is putting it together as an international coproduction, with around 30% of the budget coming from Austria.
The costume drama is likely to be made without stars.
“There are many famous actors in Germany and Austria who would like to work with but it wouldn’t work at all because they don’t know how I work or the method that I follow,” he added.
“They’d have to have a lot of time at their disposal. I don’t work to an exact schedule.”
Takei talks Allegiance
Another prominent guest with plans to make a feature film was George Takei, best known for playing Sulu in the original Star Trek series.
Takei is the subject of Jennifer Kroot’s doc, To Be Takei. The actor announced plans to make a movie version of his hit musical, Allegiance, set during the Japanese-American internment during the Second World War - and inspired partly by Takei’s own horrific experiences.
Autlook takes Forecaster
On the sales front, Austrian outfit Autlook has taken worldwide rights, including North America and UK, for much hyped The Forecaster by Marcus Vetter (director of The Court, Cinema Jenin) screening in the IDFA Main Competition.
The film tells the story of Martin Armstrong, once a US-based trillion dollar financial advisor. He fell foul of the FBI, who stormed his offices confiscating his computer model, accusing him of a billion dollar fraud and was sent to prison. A free man again, he predicts that a sovereign debt crisis will cause chaos in the financial markets in October 2015.
Autlook has also come on board to handle sales for Ultra Sport Kids, a series of six “high end documentary films for kids”.
These include Varicella, the latest feature from award winning director Victor Kossakovsky, about two Russian sisters who dream of becoming ballet stars.