Former Senator Film executives Gerhard Meixner and Roman Paul have unveiled the production slate of their Berlin-based production outfit Razor Film with a two-track strategy - serving as the German partner on international co-productions and producing features by up-and-coming local talent.
Razor's first international co-production will be Palestinian-born Hany Abu-Assad's drama Two Days (aka Paradise Now) about two youths from the Gaza strip who are just 48 hours away from becoming the latest suicide bombers, which will be produced with the Dutch production house Augustus Film, Israel's Lama Productions and France's Lumen Films at locations in Israel and Gaza from March 2004.
The Euros 2.3m project, which is described by Paul as "arthouse with crossover potential" and will be sold internationally by Celluloid Dreams, has already received backing from the Dutch Film Fund and Filmstiftung NRW and will also be applying for support from Eurimages and Fonds Sud
A second international project is Joergen Leth's long-term documentary Bayreuth - Lars von Trier Doing Wagner which Razor Film will co-produce with Zentropa Entertainment's non-fiction arm Zentropa Real, accompanying the preparations of von Trier and German conductor Christian Thielemann for the staging of Richard Wagner's Ring Der Nibelungen in Bayreuth in summer 2006. Leth previously worked with von Trier as a co-director of the feature length documentary The Five Obstructions which will have its premiere this year.
Razor Film currently has three projects by newcomer German filmmakers in development for shooting in 2004-2005. First up is German Film & Television Academy (dffb) student Bulent Akinci's graduation film Das Verlorene Element - described as "a modern version of the Flying Dutchman on the German autobahn" - to be co-produced with dffb in early 2004.
This will be followed by successful short filmmaker Carsten Strauch's (Das Taschenorgan) feature debut, the hospital-set black comedy Offene Wunden, with backing from the German Federal Film Board (FFA), Hessen Film Fund and the Hessischer Rundfunk Film Fund, for shooting in autumn 2004; and Tamara Staudt's Call Of The Wild (Wenn Der Berg Ruft) as a German-Swiss co-production in 2005.
According to Paul and Meixner, the German features will all be in the Euros 2m-2.5m budget bracket. "We are interested in projects with good chances for international festivals and distribution, i.e. in films that will travel", Paul told Screen Daily.
Paul was formerly of international acquisitions and Meixner a producer at Senator before they left last year to set up Razor Pictures.