German 'The Office' Gets $1.3 Million for Film Version

Stromberg - H 2012

Local producers raised a similar amount online from German fans of the hit sitcom “Stromberg.”

COLOGNE, Germany – The German version of BBC's cringe comedy The Office will go where Ricky Gervais' clueless manager David Brent could never have imagined: onto the big screen.

A feature film take on Stromberg, the German version of the fly-on-the-wall office sitcom created by Gervais and Stephen Merchant, has picked up $1.3 million (€1.02 million) in state film subsidies and expects to begin shooting next year.

The funding – from regional body Filmstiftung NRW and the German Federal Film Board – neatly matches the $1.3 million (€1 million) Stromberg producers Brainpool raised online in a phenomenal crowd-funding effort to kick-start the long-in-development product.

Brainpool and series creator/head writer Ralf Husmann had been discussing a big-screen version of the series for years but initially had been unable to secure sufficient funding by traditional means.

The move to crowd-funding was spectacularly successful. Brainpool raised its €1 million target in a single week as more than 3,000 fans invested up to €1,000 each in exchange for a small equity stake a share in the film's future profits. The move created a major buzz around the project and helped convince state funding boards to get behind it.

Stromberg wrapped its fifth and final season on German TV in January. The German version of The Office ran to 46 episodes, compared to a total of 12 (plus a two-part Christmas special) for Gervais' original on the BBC.