Beta Cinema heads to Berlin with a Golden Bear contender and Oscar nominee
by Bénédicte Prot
27/01/2012 - Munich-based international sellerBeta Cinema will be offering several titles of international calibre at the market at the Berlinale (February 9-19), starting with a German contender for the Golden Bear, Mercy. The film by Matthias Glasner, director-screenwriter of the gripping film The Free Will, once again featuring German star Jürgen Vogel (who won a Silver Bear in 2006 for The Free Will) and Austrian actress Birgit Minichmayr (Silver Bear in 2009 for Everyone Else [trailer, film focus]), centres on a couple who have settled in Norway on the edge of the Arctic sea to discover each other again but find themselves confronted with a crime and a terrible secret. Mercy is produced by Schwarzweiss Film, Knudsen&Streuber, ophir and Neonfilm in collaboration with TV channels ZDF and ARTE. It will be distributed in Germany by Alamode.
In the Berlinale Special section, Beta is handling sales for Bliss, which has just earned the Bavarian Film Award for Best Director for Doris Dörrie. The film, produced by Constantin in co-production with RCF Rainer Curdt Filmproduktion and in collaboration with ZDF, is based on a short story from Ferdinand von Schirach’s bestseller Crime, which has been translated into over 30 languages: a lawyer tells of the love and struggle of a female refugee-turned-prostitute (played by Italian actress Alba Rohrwacher) and a homeless punk.
The company headed by Dirk Schürhoff will also launch Rudolf van den Berg’s Dutch title Süskind [trailer] onto the international market. The film is based on the true story of Walter Süskind, a hero who pretended to collaborate with the Nazis in order to save nearly a thousand Jewish children. Süskind is produced by Fu Works (Black Book [trailer]) and Cadenza Films.
Agnieszka Holland’s In Darkness, which is Poland’s hopeful among the five final nominees for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, traces another true story set during the Second World War, that of a Polish worker who hid some Jewish people in the sewers. This title, produced by The Film Works, Schmidtz Katze Filmkollektiv and Zebra Films, was well received at festivals including Toronto and Stockholm and has already been sold to over 20 countries including the US, where it will be released on February 10.
In the Lola@Berlinale section, Beta Cinema is presenting three possible contenders for the forthcoming Lola German Film Awards: Tim Fehlbaum’s apocalyptic thriller Hell [trailer], featuring former Shooting Star Hannah Herzsprung (Four Minutes [trailer]); the discreetly masterful story about the era of the Berlin Wall: Westwind [trailer] by Robert Thalheim (And Along Come Tourists [trailer]); and Hermine Huntgeburth’s Tom Sawyer [trailer], starring the charismatic Heike Makatsch and Benno Fürmann.
Beta’s line-up at the EFM also includes the second instalment of a hit German film, Simon Verhoeven’s Men in the City 2 [trailer]; Summer in Orange by outstanding director Marcus H. Rosenmüller; and Ansgar Niebuhr and Hubert Weiland’s German animated fairytale Prinzessin Lillifee und das Kleine Einhorn, which is also the second part of an acclaimed title.
(Translated from French)