German Film Previews 2012 in Hamburg
by Birgit Heidsiek
17/07/2012 - Around 80 buyers from more than 30 countries attended the German Film Previews in Hamburg (July 8 - 11). In the line-up of 15 feature films and documentaries, there were several highlights to discover, such as Nina Grosse's new drama The Weekend or Shores of Hope by Toke Constantin Hebbeln. "Most of the German productions that the world sales agents presented in Hamburg have not been shown to the buyers before," said Martin Scheuring, project manager of the German Film Previews.
Accordingly, there was great interest on the part of foreign distributors to see the latest films from Germany. "The German Film Previews are very helpful because they give me the chance to concentrate on German films," said French distributor Didier Costet from Swift Distribution, who acquired Hell [trailer] and Lessons of a Dream [trailer] last year. "I am definitely going to buy another German title."
After the success with Three [trailer] and Almanya - Welcome to Germany [trailer], the Polish arthouse distributor Justyna Troszczynska is convinced that the German film is internationally established. Among her favourite films were Shores of Hope and Forgotten. Alex Schmidt's mystery thriller was also one of the top titles for Olga Filipuk, Head of Acquisitions at Carmen Group in Russia, which participated in the German Film Previews for the sixth time.
"The German film is very much in demand abroad this year," emphasized German Films Managing Director Mariette Rissenbeek, "especially the lauch of Barbara [trailer, film focus] at the Berlin film festival, which has had a huge pulling effect. There are several films that will consolidate this trend that we could not show since they are not ready yet."
At this year's event, there was a remarkably strong presence of distributors from the US. Besides Marcus Hu, co-president of Strand Releasing, there were also representatives of The Weinstein Company, Zeitgeist Films and Adopt Films scouting the film programme for potential acquisitions. "Nowhere in Africa has been our most successful film of all time," said Molly Nussbaum, acquisitions associate at Zeitgeist.
"I am bringing back a selection of films to New York." A veteran distributor for foreign language films in the US is Jeff Lipsky, who has released films from German directors such as Fassbinder, Wenders and Herzog. In December, Adopt Films will open Barbara in the US. "Nina Hoss is the same kind of muse for Christian Petzold as Hanna Schygulla was for Fassbinder once," said Lipsky, who discovered with Shores of Hope a new film with Hoss's co-star Ronald Zehrfeld.
"The German Film Previews are very well organized but they should take longer," said Emil Simeonov, general manager of Pro Films in Bulgaria. The Brazilian distributor Ugo Sorrentino from Art Films very much appreciates having time to talk to the world sales agents, which is more difficult at the big film festivals and markets in Berlin or Cannes. "Our company has been releasing German films since it was founded in 1931." The most recent German box office success in Brazil was Wenders' 3D picture Pina [trailer].
In Hamburg, several world sales companies as Global Screen, Arri World Sales, Film Boutique and Match Factory gave the buyers a glimpse of what they can expect of the upcoming productions. "The promo reel of Edgar Reitz looks very compelling," said Dutch distributor Nick Muijs, from Contact Film Cinematheek. Another highlight at the trailer show was the documentary More than Honey by Markus Imhoof, which will be the closing night film at the Locarno International Film Festival.