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    German Films Previews in July 2009

    By Martin Blaney | July 31, 2009

    New films by Andreas Dresen, Alain Gsponer, Kaspar Heidelbach and Feo Aladag were among 20 titles presented at the 8th edition of German Films Previews which was held in Cologne for the third time from July 12-15, 2009.

    The annual showcase of films in the lineups of German sales companies, which was supported this year by North Rhine-Westphalia’s Ministry for Federal Affairs, Europa and Media, the Filmstiftung NRW, the City of Cologne, and the MEDIA Antenna Düsseldorf, attracted 80 international film buyers, with Thailand’s Sahamongkolfilm International, Singapore’s Lighthouse Pictures, Taiwan’s Cineplex Development and Joint Entertainment International, and Switzerland’s Filmcoopi, among others, attending for the first time.

    The Previews featured market premieres of such brand-new films as Alain Gsponer’s charming romantic comedy My Word, My Lies – My Love (Lila, Lila), starring Daniel Brühl, Hannah Herzsprung and Henry Hübchen, Kaspar Heidelbach’s drama Berlin ’36, which is based on the true story of the Jewish female high jumper Gretel Bergmann, with Karoline Herfurth, Sebastian Urzendowsky and Axel Prahl, Anno Saul’s thriller The Door (Die Tür), based on Akif Pirincci’s bestseller Die Damalstür, with Mads Mikkelsen and Jessica Schwarz, as well as directorial debuts by Su Turhan (Ayla, a dramatic love story set within Munich’s Turkish community) and Feo Aladag’s When We Leave (Die Fremde).

    In addition, the buyers were treated to promo reels of upcoming films ranging from Jo Baier’s historical drama Henry Of Navarre and Benedek Fliegauf’s first English language film Womb through Silvia Beck’s documentary portrait Nyman In Progress about the internationally feted British composer Michael Nyman to Byambasuren Davaa’s documentary The Two Horses Of Genghis Khan which will be Locarno Film Festival’s closing film on the Piazza Grande on August 15.

    Apart from the daytime screenings, the sales agents, buyers and local NRW producers had plenty of opportunities to network at an opening reception 30 floors up in the Mediapark’s Cologne Tower, at a sit-down dinner reception in the gracious surroundings of Bensberg Castle (Michelle Pfeiffer stayed here during the shoot of Stephen Frears’ Cheri last year!), and at a barbecue and open-air screening of Whisky With Vodka in the Cologne Cycling Arena.

    The first deals were already made during the Previews including sales to distributors from countries as far apart as Chile, Singapore, Russia and Israel.

    Thomas Chia of Singapore’s Lighthouse Pictures acquired Kaspar Heidelbach’s drama Berlin ’36 from sales agent Beta Cinema and said that he plans to release the film in Singapore next year to coincide with the staging of the 1st Summer Youth Olympic Games there. The Gemini Film production will be released in Germany by X Verleih on September 10 after a premiere in Berlin during the IAAF World Championships in August.

    Beta Cinema also sold Su Turhan’s debut Ayla to Nizhona Gilad of Israeli arthouse distributor Nachshon Films which had previously released Chris Kraus’ Four Minutes in Israel.

    Meanwhile, Irina Ignatiew, responsible for International Sales at Telepool, signed deals for two films on the strength of the promo reels: Ivan Engler and Ralph Etter’s science fiction thriller Cargo went to Japan, while the animated family film Thor – The Edda Chronicles, directed by Gunnar Karlsson and Toby Genkel, was sold to Thailand.

    Another title from the Thor production team, the CGI-animated Niko & The Way Of The Stars, was sold in Cologne to Indonesia and Italy, the latest territories to join over 100 already negotiated by Telepool. The modern Christmas fairytale will be released in German cinemas this winter.

    Telepool also sold Anno Saul’s The Door to Thailand, Stefan Ruzowitzky’s family film Lilly The Witch to Israel and the Baltic States, Andreas Dresen’s Summer In Berlin to Argentina and Chile, and Florian Gaugg’s graffiti sprayer drama Wholetrain to France and Russia.

    “The German Films Previews are a regular and important date each year in our market calendar,” Ignatiew says. “The atmosphere here is always very concentrated and we have the chance to present our varied programme portfolio to the international buyers in relaxed surroundings.”

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