How German Production House Egoli Tossell Bounced Back From Insolvency (Cannes Exclusive)


CANNES -- New projects by Oliver Hirschbiegel, Michael Hoffman and Iain Softley are among the new slate of features from German production house Egoli Tossell.

The Berlin-based shingle, producers of Golden Globe winner Carlos, were forced into insolvency protection earlier this year but have been revived by a white knight in the form of Frankfurt financier Film House, which have taken a majority stake in the company and are bankrolling development of new productions.

Hirschbiegel has signed on to direct Traveler, a love story set in 1989 about a war photographer who moves from Vietnam to Berlin during the fall of the Wall to the outbreak of the Yugoslav war and who finds himself drawn to two German sisters: one living in Vietnam, the other in East Berlin. Daniel Hardy, whose last project was the crime thriller The Escapist, wrote the script.

Egoli Tossell will produce together with Lost in Translation producers Ross Katz and Fred Berger of Civil Dawn Productions. Hardy’s agent Jenne Casarotto was key in bringing the project together.

Hoffman, currently in production on comedy crime thriller Gambit starring Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz, will segue to Egoli Tossell for his long-in-development Christmas project Dickens. The film, based on a script by Samantha Silva, is a Shakespeare In Love-style romantic comedy centering on Charles Dickens’ writing of A Christmas Carol. Ewan McGregor had been attached to star in an early incarnation of the project but is not currently linked to the film. Hoffman and Egoli Tossell last teamed on the Oscar-nominated The Last Station.

“With the help of Film House were are hoping to take the best of what we’ve done in the past – like The Last Station and Carlos – and move in a more commercial direction,” Egoli Tossell co-head Jens Meuer told The Hollywood Reporter.

One of the biggest productions on Egoli Tossell’s plate is Iain Softley’s $33 million (€24 million) medieval epic Ivanhoe. Screenwriter John Brownlow (Captain Blood) is currently polishing the original script by James Jacks, who is also producing together with Jens Meurer, Stuart Pollok and Marisa Kagen.

Legendary Brit casting director Gail Stevens (Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting) is currently auditioning talent. Shooting is set to start mid-March next year.

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