German regional film board awards subsidies

NRW Film Board backs Bent Hamer pic amongst others

COLOGNE, Germany -- A not-so-happy holiday is the focus in the new project, "Home For Christmas" by award-winning Norwegian director Bent Hamer ("O'Horten").

Hamer has co-written the script, set in a tiny Norwegian town on Christmas Eve, with writer Levi Henriksen. Cologne-based Pandora Film, who produced "O'Horten," is on board, together with German European public broadcasters ZDF and ARTE. The NRW Film Board is backing the project with €400,000 ($560,000) in production subsidies. Hamer plans to shoot portions of the film in the NRW region.

Also benefiting from NRW's largesse is "Generation X" author Douglas Coupland, who has received backing to adapt his own novel "Eleanor Rigby" for the screen. The book tells the story of a lonely woman whose life is changed by an unexpected meeting with the son she gave up for adoption. Coupland is adapting his book for Cologne-based production house Tatfilm ("The Last King of Scotland").

Director Thomas Riedelsheimer, whose "Rivers and Tides" (2001) won the German Film Prize for best documentary, received €80,000 ($112,000) towards his latest doc: "Breathing Earth," a look at the work of Japanese artist Susumu Shingu. Cologne-based Filmpunkt and Scotland's Skyline Productions will produce.

Director Michael Gutmann and producers Odeon Pictures received €620,000 ($868,000) towards the production of "The Last 30 Years," about two former student radicals who meet up three decades later. Andi Rogenhagen and producers Wuste Film West got €500,000 ($700,000) in production coin for "Johnny Kulhkissen" the story a young girl with Tourette's Syndrom which features actors Uwe Ochsenknecht, Nora Tschirner and Waldemar Kobus.

And first-timer Casten Unger picked up €430,000 ($602,000) for the production of "Bastard," about two boys who take advantage of their underage status to enact revenge on grown-ups. Maranto Film will produce.

Other projects receiving NRW funding include Caligari Entertainment's adaptation of best-selling children's book "Ritter Rost" -- about a singing robot-knight -- which received €300,000 ($420,000); Ziegler Film's two-part TV drama "Gottes machtige Dienerin" (God's powerful servant) on the life of sister Pascalina, confidant of Pope Pius XII, which got €400,000 ($560,000) and "Undercover Love," a spy drama produced by Berliner Polyphon for commercial network RTL, which received €550,000 ($770,000).