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Silvatar Media has signed Timo von Gunten to direct heist film Eiffel, telling the infamous true-life story of Victor Lustig. The action film will detail the incredible life of the European con artist best known as the man who sold the Eiffel Tower twice.
Lustig innovated several cons including the fabled “money-printing” machine. He succeeded in duping gullible investors into paying him for the “temporary” Eiffel Tower’s abundant scrap metal. And he famously conned Al Capone in a fake stock market deal. The “Ten Commandments for Con Men,” which define the rules for the modern con, are also attributed to Lustig.
Von Gunten’s 30-minute film La Femme et le TGV, which the Zurich native wrote and directed, made waves on the festival circuit. The story, also inspired by true events, about a lonely woman and a train driver stars Jane Birken and is competing for an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short.
“We are extremely pleased to be associated with Timo, a talented young filmmaker whose extraordinary short, ‘La Femme et le TGV’ has received a much-deserved nomination by the Academy,” said Silvatar principals Chady Eli Mattar and Scott C. Silver. “He brings an amazing level of creativity and boundless energy to our project and we strongly believe that he has the unique capability to bring Eiffel to life.”
The script for Silvatar’s Eiffel is written by Morgan Hage from a story by von Gunten, based on an earlier screenplay by David Polcyn and Erik Rodgers. Silver and Mattar are producing alongside Jean de Meuron and David Willing, Eric Dupont, Pavlina Hatoupis and Alfred S. Newman are executive producing. Timo von Gunten is managed by Echo Lake Entertainment.
L.A.-based Silvatar Media was founded in 2008 and currently has a number of high-concept feature films and television shows in development and preproduction. Previous films include psychological thriller hit Removal, released by Lionsgate, and The Pyramid for 20th Century Fox. Last year Silvatar independently produced and financed two action thrillers: Danger One and Wheelman for Netflix.
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