Nordic mini-major Zentropa's international branch, Zentropa Internationale, is finalising a three-picture deal with Germany's rapidly expanding Kinowelt. The pact, which is likely to be extended to more pictures, will kick off with Moments Of Clarity written by newcomer Mikael Colville Andersen.
"We'll work on three projects for now, but we really want to make this collaboration work," Ole Sondberg, who heads up Zentropa Internationale with Lars Duus, told Screen. "There are several good reasons to do this together, but one of the most important is Kinowelt's very good team of people - we see much alike."
UK-born Copenhagen-based writer Colville Andersen, pitched Moments Of Clarity at the European Pitchpoint at this year's Berlin Film Festival. "Thank God we got hold of Colville Andersen, before he went to Berlin to pitch this story, because he caused quite a buzz there," said Sondberg. "It's a well crafted story, with some wonderful ideas, and big potential. Colville Andersen is going through a second draft and while we don't have a director set up yet, we do have some interesting ideas."
Also set to go through the Zentropa-Kinowelt deal is Last Born to be directed by Danish director Niels Arden from a script by Arden and Steen Bille. Arden made his feature debut with Portland which featured in competition in Berlin in 1996. Popular Danish director Susanne Bier, who directed last year's smash domestic hit The One And Only, is also set to make her English-language debut under Zentropa and Kinowelt with Through A Glass Darkly. The project, based on the best-selling novel by Norwegian author Jostein Gaarder (Sofie's World), is set to shoot at the end of the year.
"The idea is to follow our nine features in three years plan, and have the same group of collaborators on them," Sondberg said. "We want the same financial structure on all the movies, which means that when we decide a project is ready to be a part of the deal, we'll do it."
Kinowelt USA co-chairmen Chris Sievernich and Rainer Kolmel recently struck a pact with US producer Gale Anne Hurd, the first of several the company plans with US producers to feed its distribution channels. Kinowelt is currently hatching a high-powered international distribution network with partners in France and Spain to complement its existing distribution outlets in Germany, Eastern Europe and, through its joint venture with Alliance Atlantis, the UK.