'Rabe' others land FFA funding

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COLOGNE, Germany -- German director Florian Gallenberger, an Oscar winner for his short film "Quiero ser" (I want to be ...), has solved a substantial piece of the financing puzzle for his historical drama "John Rabe."

"John Rabe" is the true story of a German businessman who saved about 250,000 Chinese from the Japanese military during the infamous Rape of Nanking in 1937-38.

The German Federal Film Board (FFA) on Monday said it will back the project, which Gallenberger will write and direct, with ?800,000 ($1 million) in production subsidies.

Munich-based group Hofmann & Voges will produce. Gallenberger plans to shoot "John Rabe" in China. His last feature, the India-set drama "Shadows of Time," bowed at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2004.

The FFA is also providing ?250,000 ($314,000) in state subsidies to two offbeat comedy projects: "Shortcut to Hollywood," about a trio of German actors who go to extreme lengths to make it on the Sunset strip, and "Contact High," a episodic comedy about four men living in Vienna from Austrian writer-director Michael Glawogger ("Slumming").

"Shortcut to Hollywood" reteams director Marcus Mittermeier and actor-writer Jan Henrik Stahlberg, whose black comedy "Quiet as a Mouse" was a sleeper hit in 2004. Glawogger will co-write "Contact High" with Michael Ostrowski, the same pairing behind the low-budget comedy "Nacktschnecken."

The FFA also awarded ?400,000 ($502,000) in production funding to "Why Men Don't Listen and Woman Can't Park," a new comedy from director Leander Haussmann ("Berlin Blues") based on the best-selling nonfiction book from Allan and Barbara Pease about the differences between the sexes.

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