Bavaria Film goes back to its roots

Sales group to refocus on crossover titles

CANNES -- After a turbulent couple of years that have seen the loss of two of its top executives and the rise of strong local competitors in the form of the Match Factory and Beta Cinema, German sales group Bavaria Film International is going back to its roots in a bid to continue its success story.

Thorsten Ritter, the sole head of Bavaria since the exit in February of co-director Thorsten Schaumann, is moving to refocus the company by returning to the kind of "accessible art house" and "ambitious mainstream" films that made its reputation.

"If you look back at the history of Bavaria, our biggest successes have been with titles that, while they may have an art-house sensibility, have more crossover appeal. Films like 'Run Lola Run,' 'Goodbye, Lenin!' or 'The Man Without a Past,' " Ritter told the Hollywood Reporter.

Ritter points to such new titles as Dorris Dorrie's "Cherry Blossoms," Daniel Burman's Argentinean hit "Empty Nest" or the upcoming literary epic "Buddenbrooks -- Decline of a Family" starring Armin Mueller-Stahl, as examples of this more mainstream approach.

Ritter said Bavaria also is looking to regain its position as the "No. 1 sales agent of choice for German filmmakers," recently signing a three-picture deal with romantic comedy specialist Leander Haussmann and extending its long-running association with Hans-Christian Schmid by picking up the director's new documentary, "The Wonderful World of Washing."