FFF Bayern backs 'Anonymous,' 'Italian'

Roland Emmerich thriller, spy comedy starring Kevin Costner

COLOGNE, Germany -- "Learning Italian," a spy comedy starring Kevin Costner and directed by Kevin Reynolds, has picked up €1.1 million ($1.5 million) in production funding from regional funding body FFF Bayern and the Bavarian Bank Fund.

Reynolds has teamed with Costner on "Waterworld" (1995) and "Robin Hood -- Prince of Thieves" (1991). The director's last feature was period actioner "Tristan + Isolde" (2006). Costner's latest is John Wells' downsizing drama "The Company Men," which was an audience favorite at Sundance.

"Learning Italian" is being set up as an international co-production between Diplomat Films and Germany's Bavaria Film Partners. Reynolds, Costner and Howard Kaplan are producing.

FFF Bayern also put up $1.5 million towards "Berlin Mitte," from veteran director Helmut Dietl. The feature, which Dietl co-wrote with Benjamin von Stuckrad-Barre ("Solo Album"), is a modern-day update of Dietl's cult 1980s TV series "Kir Royal," which lampooned Munich high society. The new film is set in Berlin and stars German boxoffice champ Michael "Bully" Herbig as a chauffer who accidentally becomes the editor of a new online newspaper and so entwined in the city's political and social intrigues.

Other beneficiaries of FFF Bayern's largesse include Roland Emmerich, who received €200,000 ($270,000) towards his Shakespeare-era thriller "Anonymous" and prolific Bavarian director Marcus H. Rosenmuller, who picked up €850,000 ($1.1 million) in production financing for "Orange -- My Life in Orange," a look at a Bavarian commune of the Indian Bhagwan cult.