Constantin to adapt Funke Xmas book

Best-selling children's book 'When Santa Fell to Earth'

ZURICH -- Constantin Film has acquired the rights to adapt "When Santa Fell to Earth," the best-selling children's book from Caroline Funke.

In the novel, the Great Christmas Council has outlawed the old magical ways, commanding all Santas to get rid of their elves and replace their reindeer with snowmobiles, or be turned into chocolate. Niklas, a young Santa, joins forces with two kids, a dog and a pack of elves, to avoid that sweet fate.

Constantin will co-produce the holiday fantasy film together with Bavaria Film and German public broadcaster ZDF. Uschi Reich, who produced the successful "Wild Chicks" franchise for Constantin, also based on Funke's novels, is on board to produce the "Santa" project. Oliver Dieckmann will direct. Benjamin Bien and Robin Getrost will adapt Funke's story for the screen.

"Santa" will be shot in Germany and Austria in late 2010, early 2011 for a holiday 2011 release.

Funke, often called the German JK Rowling, is the author of several international best-sellers, including "Ink Heart," Thief Lord" and "Hands off Mississippi," all of which have been made into feature films. Funke is currently on tour in Germany, promoting her latest novel, "Reckless."