Berlin board backs laffers in funding round

Schweiger, Weidemann & Berg get subsidy hand-outs

COLOGNE, Germany -- The Berlin-Brandenburg film board rewarded success in its latest round of subsidy hand-outs, signing checks for new projects from star multi-hyphenate Til Schweiger and production powerhouse Widemann & Berg.

Schweiger picked up €900,000 ($1.1 million) in production subsidies for his latest feature, "kokowaa," in which he will star as a luckless screenwriter and single dad struggling to raise his eight year-old daughter (played by Schweiger's own child, Emma Tiger). Schweiger will also produce "kokowaa."

Widemann & Berg received €750,000 ($918,000) towards the sequel to their rom-com hit "Men in the City." Director Simon Verhoeven returns to helm the new film, which goes under the original title "Mannerherzen...und die ganz, ganz, grosse Liebe." Most of the stars of the orignal "Men in the City," including Christian Ulmen and Justus von Dohnanyi, will reprise their roles in the sequel. The first "Men in the City" earnd some $18 million at the local boxoffice for distributor Warner Bros. Germany.

But it wasn't just the big names that profited from this round of funding. Berlin-Brandenburg also handed over €400,000 ($490,000) in funding for "Niemandsland" (No Man's Land), the debut feature from director Toke C. Hebbeln, whose short "Nevermore" won a student Oscar in 2007. The new film follows a Stasi functionary who turns against the system, a plot line that has obvious similarities to Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's Oscar-winner "The Lives of Others." UFA Cinema will produce and release "Niemandsland" in Germany.