Bernhard zu Castell takes over at Universum

German video and occasional theatrical label

COLOGNE, Germany -- Bernhard zu Castell has taken over as head of Universum Film, the German video and occasional theatrical label controlled by Bertelsmann. Zu Castell has been a senior executive at Universum since 2006 when he joined the distributor from RTL Interactive, another Bertelsmann company.

He will report to Dirk Schweizer, head of acquisitions and sales at RTL Television. Schweizer has been provisionally running Universum since Tania Reichert-Facilides stepped down as company boss in January.

Universum is one of Germany's leading indie distributors. Recent German releases include the Coen Brothers' "A Serious Man" and Pierre Morrel's action thriller "From Paris With Love" starring John Travolta. The company also handles many of RTL's top TV titles on DVD, including the "C.S.I." franchise and has a distribution agreement with Berlin-based Senator Film for video releases including Tom Ford's "A Single Man" and Woody Allen's Larry David-starrer "Whatever Works."

Recent Universum acquisitions include "In a Better World" from Danish auteur Susanne Bier, which will have a special screening at the Toronto Film Festival later this month.