Beta sells other territories on the film based on Noah Gordon’s trilogy of books.
The Physician’s producers Wolf Bauer and Nico Hofmann have indicated that they may take on the other two books of Noah Gordon’s trilogy, of which The Physician is the first part: Matters Of Choice and Shaman.
Speaking exclusively to ScreenDaily ahead of the world premiere of The Physician in Berlin on Monday evening, Bauer explained: “We have discussed this with Noah Gordon and would have access [to the properties].”
“But we won’t have this discussion before the film has reached 3m admissions in Germany and Spain,” said Bauer, who is currently reading Shaman for the seventh time.
Moreover, the producers would have freedom in casting since Shaman is set in the 19th century some 800 years after the events in The Physician.
Hofmann revealed that, as part of the film’s financing from broadcaster ARD Degeto, a longer TV version of two 90-minute episodes has been made in addition to the 155-minute theatrical version.
The world premiere of The Physician was held in Berlin’s newly renovated Zoo-Palast with lead actor Tom Payne joined by fellow cast members Emma Rigby, Stellan Skarsgard, Olivier Martinez, Elyas M’Barek, and Fahri Yardim and author Noah Gordon with his family.
Apart from several German-language feature films in development, UFA Fiction is also gearing up its activities in high-end international TV production after the success of Generation War (Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter) which will also be having a theatrical release in the USA and was bought by the BBC for the UK.
“We are in feature film dimensions here and have three projects in development with budgets on the level of Generation War’s €15m and are looking to use the expertise we gained on The Physician for the TV market,” Hofmann added.
He confirmed that RTL has bought UFA Fiction’s 1920s-set crime mini-series Killing Berlin (working title) which will begin production soon ahead of a rival project set in Berlin at the same time - Tom Tykwer’s 12-part Babylon Berlin series.
More sales for The Physician
Beta Cinema managing director Dirk Schürhoff, who also served as a co-producer on the UFA Fiction production, said that deals have also been concluded with Dea Planeta for Spain, Monolith for Poland, and Brazil-based Imagem Filmes for the whole of Latin America.
A theatrical release for The Physician is planned on Dec 25in Germany by Universal Pictures International and in Spain by Dea Planeta.
Beta had previously announced deals with Luxor (Russia), Bonton (Czech Republic/Slovakia), Blitz (Croatia/Slovenia/Bosnia & Herzegovina), Italia Film (Middle East), Entermode (South Korea), Medyavizyon (Turkey), and Pro-rom (Romania/Turkey).
New Beta titles
Meanwhile, Beta Cinema has added two new German feature film productions to its sales lineup: Burhan Qurbani’s second feature We Are Young, We Are Strong (Wir sind stark, Wir sind jung) and Torsten C. Fischer’s Georg Elser – Es muss sein!
Qurbani made his debut feature with Shahada, which was in the Berlinale’s official competition in 2010, and has now worked with UFA Fiction on a fictional dramatization of riots in a Rostock suburb in 1992 when several Vietnamese were the subject of xenophobic attacks by local residents and neo-Nazis.
Fischer’s drama about the failed assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler in Munich’s Bürgerbräukeller on November 8, 1939 has been written by Fred Breinersdorfer, screenwriter of the Oscar-nominated Sophie Scholl – Die letzten Tage, and Léonie-Claire Breinersdorfer.
Christian Friedel, one of the young actors from Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon, has been cast in the title role of Elser, with Katharina Schüttler (Oh Boy) as his partner, and Burghart Klaußner, the pastor from The White Ribbon, as the police commissioner.
Munich-based Lucky Bird Pictures will produce with Stuttgart’s Delphi Medien at locations in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Berlin and Central Germany from summer 2014.
Lucky Bird has also revealed that German DoP Hagen Bogdanski, whose credits include The Physician and The Lives Of Others, will be behind the camera on this production.
German distributor NFP marketing & distribution will release theatrically in spring 2015, 70 years after Elser’s death in April 1945.
The story of Georg Elser foiled attempt to kill Hitler was previously brought to the silver screen in 1989 by Klaus Maria Brandauer in his directorial debut Georg Elser – Einer aus Deutschland.
That production featured Brandauer as Elser, with other parts taken by US actors Brian Dennehy and Rebecca Miller as well as Germany’s Hans-Michael Rehberg, Vadim Glowna and Dietrich Hollinderbäumer.
In addition, Beta Cinema’s TV arm EOS Entertainment will be handling sales on another UFA Fiction production, the tragicomedy Bornholmer Straße by Christian Schwochow (Cracks In The Shell), which will offer a different perspective on events during the evening of 9 November, 1989.
Rainer and Heide Schwochow’s screenplay was inspired in part by Gerhard Haase-Hindenberg’s book Der Mann, der die Mauer öffnete about the real Lieutenant-Colonel Harald Jäger, who finally decided - on his own initiative - to open the border crossing on the Bornholmer Straße bridge that night.
The tragicomedy will be broadcast by Germany’s ARD network shortly before the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall is marked.