Four producers on Stephen Hopkins’ Jesse Owens biopic Race have joined forces to produce English-language features in the future for the international market.

Jean-Charles Lévy, sports entrepreneur Luc Dayan, Karsten Brünig and Thierry Potok are partners in the Berlin-based production house Trinity Race GmbH, which has served as the German producer on Race.

The film wraps principal photography in the German capital’s historic Olympic Stadium on Sunday. Stephan James plays Owens.

Trinity’s partners on the $31.6m German-Canadian co-production are Lévy’s Forecast Pictures, Dayan’s ID+, Kate Garwood and Hopkins’ Totally Commercial Films, and Canadian producers Louis-Philippe Rochon and Dominique Séguin of Solofilms.

David Garrett’s Mister Smith Entertainment is handling international distribution and now only has sales deal pending for Japan, France and the UK. Square One Entertainment will distribute theatrically in Germany and eOne in Canada. Focus Features will release the film in the US.

“Originally, it had been thought that Trinity Race would be a single purpose company for Race,” Karsten Brünig recalled in an exclusive interview with ScreenDaily. “Jean-Charles and Luc had come to us and said that they wanted make this film as a German film with a German company. Meanwhile, we are all at the stage where we definitely want to continue producing together, although it is too early to speak about concrete projects.”

The executive producers on Race are Christopher Charlier, Ben Grass, Scott Kennedy, Bonnie Timmermann, George Acogny, Nicolas Manuel and Al Munteanu.

Local funding

On Monday, the production learnt that it had received € 200,000 production support from the local regional film fund, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, which was less than the producers had applied for.

Lévy said that he was disappointed at the amount awarded “especially when you have a film that takes place in Berlin and given what we are doing in the [Olympic] Stadium.”

At the same time, the film will qualify for the automatic support provided by the DFFF German “spend” instrument. The production will have spent some four weeks shooting at locations throughout Berlin as well as at the Olympic Stadium and had several German-speaking actors in supporting roles such as The Reader’s David Kross as the German athlete Luz Long who befriended Owens, L’auberge Espanole’s Barnaby Metschurat as Joseph Goebbels, and Austrian actor Adrian Zwicker as Adolf Hitler.

More Medienboard backing

The Medienboard’s latest funding session awarded a total of €4.1m production support to 17 film projects, including Steven Spielberg’sUntitled Cold War Spy Thriller (aka St James Place) which received $631,500 (€ 500,000) for the co-production with Studio Babelsberg.

Shooting with a cast including Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Amy Ryan and Sebastian Koch, the production is set to move to the Berlin region in the coming weeks and, among other things, will shoot scenes of an agent swap on the famous Glienicker Bridge where real-life exchanges took place during the Cold War.

Whether by design or coincidence, the Medienboard funding committee found a number of projects with a loose thematic link to back this time around: the largest single sum - $ 1.01m (€ 800,000) went to Wetlands director David Wnendt’s adaptation of Timur Vermes’ bestsellerLook Who’s Back (Er ist wieder da), in which Hitler wakes up in present-day Berlin and is universally mistaken for a brilliant comedian; while $568,350 (€450,000) was allocated to the Iron Sky sequel, Iron Sky – The Coming Race by Finnish director Timo Vuorensola, and Dietrich Brüggemann – who was awarded a Silver Bear in February for his screenplay of Stations Of The Cross – picked up $ 505,200 (€ 400,000) for his comedy Heil (working title) about three crazy Neo-Nazis who want to march into Poland.

At the same time, the fund will support two projects being shot at least in part in Berlin:

·       Fatih Akin’s next feature Aus dem Nichts, starring Denis Moschitto and Sesede Terzyian, about a train conductor’s plans for a bomb attack as his response to the prevailing racism in Germany

·       Oscar-winner Florian Gallenberger’s first English-language feature Colonia, starring Daniel Brühl and Emma Watson, produced by Benjamin Herrmann and Gallenberger’s production outfit Majestic Filmproduktion and reuniting them for the first time since their film school days in Munich with Christian Becker whose Rat Pack Filmproduktion will serve as co-producer.