At the beginning of thisyear, Andrea Willson, the head of former Deutsche Columbia PicturesFilmproduktion, was recruited by the Swiss rights trader/distributor FalcomMedia Group to manage the company's expansion into German language production.

The plan was for Willson toconcentrate on the development and production of feature films for the Germanspeaking area and to support Falcom's increased acquisition of German films fortheatrical distribution.

To date, Falcom has become aco-producer and distributor on two new German features which were shooting thissummer. The first project was the third big screen outing by the comedy duo Erkan& Stefan (aka as "the crass Germans") - Erkan & StefanIII - Fettes Merci Fuer Eine Leiche - shooting on the MS Albatros cruiser,on sound stages in the Bavaria Studios and on location in Munich from mid-Julyuntil the beginning of September.

This was been followed byChristian Zuebert's family film DerSchatz Der Weissen Falken (The Treasure Of The White Falcons) which is nowbeing produced at locations in Bavaria by TheMiracle Of Bern producers SoenkeWortmann and Tom Spiess of Cologne-based Little Shark Entertainment. Both ofthese projects continue Falcom's successful collaboration with DavidGroenewold's private media fund German Film Productions (GFP) which began withthe current box-office success Der Wixxer.

Meanwhile, the Swiss outpostof Buena Vista International is expanding its involvement in the handling of localfeature production after last year's success with the comedy Achtung, Fertig, Charlie! which soldover 520,000 tickets to become the third most successful Swiss film of alltime.

Zodiac Pictures has reportedthat the US major is set to handle two new feature projects being developedwith Achtung's director Mike Eschmann. The first one - Tell (working title) - is an irreverent look at the Swiss nationalhero Wilhelm Tell in a comedy penned by German screenwriter JuergenLadenburger. The title role will be played by Marco Rima.

Zodiac's second picture withEschmann, provisionally entitled Breakoutand scripted by Thomas Hess, will be targeted particularly at the youthaudience with a "coming of age" storyline and a focus on hiphop andbreakdance.

In addition, BVI is lined upas the distributor for the Christmas 2004 release of the Lord Of The Rings parody TheRing Thing which is currently in production in Zurich and the Alps. MarcSchippert is directing for Condor Communications and the Elevator Group.

For full Austrian, German & Swiss production listings, click HERE