Katharine Otto-Bernstein’s New York-based Film Manufacturers Inc. has joined Munich-based Telepool and KJ Entertainment to develop and produce German director Marc Rothemund’s Galapagos which is due to begin shooting in autumn 2013.

The international project is based on Margarete Wittmer’s best-selling autobiography Floreana: A Woman’s Pilgrimage to the Galapagos and tells the true story of her experiences as part of a small group of émigrés to the Galapagos.

After a series of unexplained events in 1934, all of Wittner’s companions were either killed or vanished without a trace; leaving her and her family the island’s sole inhabitants. The scandal of these mysterious disappearances and deaths made international headlines at the time, yet nobody knows to this day what really happened on Floreana.

KJ Entertainment’s president Kathrin Lohmann met Margarete Wittner, shortly before her death, on a trip to the Galapagos Islands and read her memoirs: “I immediately procured the rights with my producing partners because I knew the material had all the ingredients to make for a fantastically unique film,” she recalls.

Telepool will handle the TV sales for this murder mystery.

Meanwhile, Rothemund’s romantic comedy Mann tut was Mann kann, starring Wotan Wilke Möhring, Jasmin Gerat and Jan Josef Liefers, was released on Oct 11 by Warner Bros. in German cinemas and took almost €1.2m in its first weekend.

In addition, Rothemund has another feature project in postproduction – The Girl With Nine Wigs (Heute bin ich blond) – a tragicomedy based on the bestselling autobiography by Sophie von der Stap about using different wigs to create diverse personalities to cope with her diagnosis of cancer. Universum Film will release in Germany.

Rothemund was nominated in the Academy Awards’ Best Foreign Language Film category in 2006 for his Second World War German resistance drama Sophie Scholl: The Final Days in 2006.