UFA Enters Feature Film Arena With High-Profile Projects – Variety


German leisure large UFA is constant its push into characteristic movies with a slew of high-profile initiatives, together with an upcoming Siegfried and Roy biopic and a sequel to the 2014 historic epic “The Doctor,” starring Tom Payne (“Prodigal Son”).

The ramp-up follows the massive field workplace success final 12 months of Oscar winner Caroline Hyperlink’s “All About Me,” based mostly on the childhood memoir of German comic Hape Kerkeling, which turned 2019’s second greatest native box-office hit with €31.25 million ($35.34 million) by way of Warner Bros.

Different upcoming titles embrace Leander Haussmann’s extremely anticipated Chilly Conflict laffer “A Stasi Comedy,” which Constantin Film is ready to launch subsequent 12 months. Set within the 1980s, the movie facilities on a younger agent of East Germany’s notorious state safety service, performed by David Kross (“Balloon”), who is distributed to infiltrate East Berlin’s counterculture scene and who, years later, is confronted with the opportunity of his secret Stasi previous coming to gentle.

Set for launch this 12 months is Leonine’s household drama “God You’re Such a P–ck” from director André Erkau and starring Til Schweiger.

The corporate additionally produced its first characteristic for Netflix, Cüneyt Kaya’s “Rising Excessive,” about three fraudsters who got down to make it massive by manipulating Berlin’s booming actual property market. The pic additionally options Kross alongside Frederick Lau and Janina Uhse.

Whereas UFA stays largely devoted to tv, with between 70% and 80% of its productions for the small display screen, the concentrate on characteristic movie is intensifying, in response to UFA CEO Nico Hofmann.

“There’s an enormous urge for food in the mean time for characteristic movie productions,” he says, including that characteristic movies for the massive display screen and streaming providers will enhance within the subsequent two to a few years.

“Netflix is pushing some huge cash within the so-called one-off mini-movies, in order that may very well be a marketplace for the long run,” he provides. There’s so much happening in the mean time.”

UFA additionally enjoys a robust relationship with Amazon, which took over the corporate’s hit Chilly Conflict franchise with “Deutschland 86” and the upcoming “Deutschland 89,” Hofmann factors out. “Netflix is now stepping in and we even have an enormous partnership with [RTL’s OTT service] TV Now.”

The group is at present producing two to a few incorporates a 12 months, says UFA Fiction managing director Sebastian Werninger, who oversees the corporate’s theatrical manufacturing division.

UFA has tapped multihyphenate Michael Bully Herbig (“Balloon”) to write down and direct its upcoming Siegfried and Roy biopic, one of many firm’s highest profile initiatives thus far. Hofmann secured rights to Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Uwe Horn’s life story in 2016, beating out quite a lot of different high-profile gives. The biopic, which has been in improvement for greater than two years, is deliberate as a theatrical launch that might be expanded to a restricted TV collection.

Hofmann, who turned private associates with the 2 stars, says he was deeply affected by Horn’s current loss of life.

Earlier than taking pictures the Siegfried and Roy pic, Herbig will first helm one other characteristic for UFA, “Der Fall Claas Relotius” (which interprets as “The Case of Claas Relotius”), concerning the disgraced former journalist of the title who was compelled to resign from German newsweekly Der Spiegel after admitting quite a few situations of journalistic fraud.

“For Bully, they are going to be back-to-back initiatives,” says Werninger.

“The Physican 2,” in the meantime, is ready to shoot subsequent 12 months after being delayed by the COVID-19 lockdown. Katja von Garnier, director of Constantin’s hit “Ostwind” younger grownup franchise, succeeds Philipp Stölzl, who helmed the unique and stays on board as inventive government producer. Primarily based on a screenplay by Stewart Harcourt, “The Doctor 2” sees the story’s hero, Rob Cole, getting back from Persia to his native England and employed by the king to heal his mentally in poor health daughter.

Payne is ready to reprise his position within the sequel, which was resulting from shoot this 12 months however has been postponed to 2021 as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.

Whereas the brand new movie is barely partly based mostly on the primary e-book of Noah Gordon’s Cole Household collection, the creator has been concerned within the improvement of the screenplay and supplied his enter. “The Doctor 2” contains the ultimate chapters of the novel, which have been ignored of the primary movie, and continues within the spirit of the unique, Werninger provides.


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