German distributor of Southpaw, Transcendence to return to production.

German distributor Tobis Film is to return to production after more than a decade’s absence following the arrival of two new shareholders, Timm Oberwelland and Peter Eiff.

According to Tobis - distributor of titles including 12 Years A Slave, American Hustle and upcoming Antoine Fuqua action-drama Southpaw - the company’s new shareholder structure will see the outfit become more active in the production of German-language films and international co-productions alongside the company’s core activities of film distribution, home entertainment and TV licensing in the German-speaking territories.

Founded in 1972 by the late film producer-distributor Horst Wendlandt, Tobis Film had made its first foray into production after StudioCanal took a 60% stake in the Berlin-based company in February 2000.

Under the management of Haig Balian and Albert Wiederspiel, the renamed Tobis StudioCanal (TSC) was involved via its in-house production arm in the co-production of such local titles as Edward Berger’s Frau2 Sucht HappyEnd, Robert Schwentke’s Tattoo, Winfried Bonengel’s Fuehrer Ex, and Jan Schuette’s SuperTex.

Tobis broke away from StudioCanal in 2002.


Tobis Film’s two new shareholders bring extensive experience of international film financing and distribution, with Eiff serving most recently as the executive vice president and head of international sales at Monarchy/New Regency.

Oberwelland’s latest projects as executive producer included Syrreal Entertainment’s German productions Halbe Brüder and SUM1 as well as the US documentaries No Place on Earth and The Short Game.

Theodor Gringel will continue as Tobis Film’s co-managing director, a position that he has held since 2009.

Changes to landscape

The new shareholder structure announced at Tobis Film marks another new development in the German distribution landscape in Germany this year.

The news comes just a fortnight after the shareholders of Senator Entertainment agreed at their general meeting to rename the company as Wild Bunch AG.

This was the final stage in the process of Senator merging with Wild Bunch, although the Senator name will be retained as a brand for the company’s production activities in future.

Senator Film’s Cologne-based production arm is currently in postproduction on Tom Hooper’s Working Title film The Danish Girl, starring Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander, and Christian Zübert’s drama Ein Atem.