Hans Weingartner’s to make first English-language film for Praia do Futuro producer Hank Levine.

Hans Weingartner (The Edukators) is set to make his English-language directorial debut with a screen adaptation of Larry Orbach and Vivien Orbach-Smith’s bestseller Soaring Underground (Der Taucher).

The true story of Orbach as a young German-Jewish teenager struggling to survive in Berlin during the Second World War will be produced by Hank Levine Film, one of the producers of the Competition film Praia do Futuro.

“The story personally appealed to me because the protagonist isn’t a victim, he shows resistance to the Nazi regime, and this theme of resistance is one which has run through almost all of my films,” Weingartner told ScreenDaily.

“Everything you need for a film is in the story – emotions, humanity as well as a lot of humour.“

“Orbach’s experiences have a timeless quality and a relevance for today,” added producer Levine who is now in talks with US investors to board the international co-production.

Levine, whose past credits include the Oscar-nominated films City Of God and Wasteland, is also in preproduction on an international feature documentary Exodus which he will also direct this year.

Shooting at locations in Germany, Brazil, Africa and Asia, the film focuses on refugees trying to make a new life for themselves far away from their homes. It will see Levine working again with Fernando Meirelles’ 02 Filmes after he served as co-producer on City of God.

German public broadcasters WDR and RBB, have become co-producers with backing confirmed this week from Film- und Medienstiftung NRW. Real Fiction has acquired theatrical and DVD rights for Germany.

In addition, deals have already been sealed in Brazil for theatrical rights to distributor Paris Filmes and Latin American pay TV rights to HBO.

Exodus will be Levine’s second official German-Brazilian co-production after Praia di Futuro.

Moreover, Levine is in talks with investors with to stage the City of God Musical, based on Meirelles’ eponymous film, which would be directed by the successful Brazilian duo of Charles Möeller and Claudio Botelho.