Ben Verbong boards Anne Frank project

Kids specialist joins German-Dutch co-production

COLOGNE, Germany -- Kids specialist Ben Verbong ("Herr Bello," "The Slurb") has boarded the new German-Dutch co-production "My Name Is Anne, Anne Frank," based on the autobiography of Anne Frank's teenage friend Jacqueline van Maarsen.

Germany's SamFilm and CTM Films of the Netherlands will co-produce the 9 million euro ($11 million) project, which Verbong will write and direct. The story follows the friendship between the two girls before Frank's family goes into hiding from the Nazis.

Verbong draws parallels between the real-life tale and Louis Malle's classic "Au Revoir Les Enfants," about a Jewish boy hiding at a French boarding school during WWII.

Production is planned to start in the fall in Amsterdam and Cologne.