Richard Claus' adaptation of Cornelia Funke's best-selling children's book The Thief Lord has been awarded Euros 600,000 by German funding body FilmFoerderung Hamburg.

The film, which will be produced by Warner Bros. Filmproductions with Dutch-based Comet Films, will star Janet McTeer and Jim Carter.

Funke's magical bestsellers have been billed as the Teutonic answer to J.K. Rowling, and have attracted much interest from international producers.

Meanwhile, FilmFoerderung Hamburg awarded Euros 500,000 to Irish writer-director Anthony Byrne's Short Order which will be co-produced by Hamburg-based Peter Stockhaus Filmproduktion with Irish outfit igloo films.

Other projects backed include: Angelina Maccarone's In Orbit about a young lesbian Iranian woman forced to leave her native country and struggling to survive in the German provinces; Leander Haussmann's NVA focusing on the trials and tribulations of military service in former East Germany; and Oliver Hirschbiegel's Ein Ganz Gewoehnlicher Jude, featuring Matthias Brandt in a monologue as the Jewish journalist Emanuel Goldfarb.

Meanwhile, Leipzig-based Mitteldeutsche Medienfoerderung (MDM) awarded Euros 600,000 to Andreas Dresen's (Halbe Treppe) adaptation of Christoph Hein's novel Willenbrock, which will produced next year by UFA Film- und Medienproduktion largely in and around Magdeburg, and Euros 150,000 to Bogdan Slama's Happiness (You Are My Happiness) which is being co-produced by Karl "Baumi" Baumgartner's Halle-based Pallas Film with the Czech Republic's Cineart Tv and Negativ.

In addition, production support was granted to the second feature film in Cartoon Film's Little Polar Bear (Der Kleine Eisbaer) franchise (Euros 650,000), Kinderfilm's fantasy family film Stella Und Der Stern Des Orient (Euros 660,000) and to Motionworks' children's animation series Ein Fall Fuer Freunde(Euros 450,000).