'Grapes,' 'Julius' get German cash

Development funding from NRW Filmboard

BERLIN -- Danish filmmakers Susanne Bier ("Things We Lost in the Fire") and Andreas Thomas Jensen ("Adam's Apples") are teaming to co-write the drama "Julius," about a Holocaust survivor who meets his twin sister he thought died in the camps.

Bier and Jensen collaborated on Bier's Oscar-nominated drama "After the Wedding," (2006) with Jensen writing the screenplay based on Bier's original story.

The NRW Filmboard has backed "Julius" with 80,000 euros ($108,000) in development funding for Cologne-based Zentropa International, which will produce the film. It's an inside job for Bier and Jensen, who worked with Zentropa on "After the Wedding" and individually on several other projects. Jensen most recently wrote the script to Zentropa's "Antichrist" from director Lars von Trier.

German director Bay Okan and his shingle Bajan Film received $808,000 from NRW for his drama "Grapes of Hope," a German-French-Romanian co-production starring veteran Mario Adorf and German-Turkish actor Baki Davrak ("Edge of Heaven"). Based on the novel by Fakir Baykurt, it tells the story of a German-Turkish teacher working in a Romanian village.

And the life of former MTV Europe presenter Steve Blame is also getting the big-screen treatment. Blame, who moderated MTV News from across Europe in the late 1980s and early '90s, is using his experiences as the basis for a film, titled "Take the Blame," which he is co-writing with British director Steve Hudson ("True North").