'Hannah Arendt,' 'Vivaldi' get NRW subsidies

German funding body backs von Trotta, Riggen projects

COLOGNE, Germany -- Veteran director Margarethe von Trotta returns to her perennial theme of strong woman with her new project, a biopic of Jewish philosopher and political theorist Hannah Arendt. Producers Heimatfilm picked up €750,000 ($920,000) in production financing from regional subsidy body Film Board NRW on Tuesday.

Von Trotta co-wrote the script to "Hannah Arendt" with Pam Katz. The film focuses on Arendt's reporting for The New Yorker on the war crimes trial of the Nazi Adolf Eichmann. In it, she coined the phrase "the banality of evil." "Hannah Arendt" will shoot in Israel and in North-Rhine Westphalia in Germany. Von Trotta's last feature, a biopic of the German nun Hildegard von Bingen starring Barbara Sukowa, was a sleeper success in Germany, earning around $4 million at the boxoffice here.

The Film Board NRW also put up €1.5 million ($1.8 million) towards another biographical feature, Patrica Riggen's "Vivaldi." Jessica Biel and Kevin Zegers are set to star, together with Ben Kingsley and German actress Veronica Ferres. Luke Evans is also believed to be attached to the project.

Kevin Lund and T.J. Scott penned the script to "Vivaldi," which focuses on a forbidden romance between the legendary composer, and priest, Antonio Vivaldi and his protege, singer Anna Tessieri Giro, an affair that inspires him to write his masterpiece "The Four Seasons." Vivaldi himself denied there was any affair and most modern scholars agree.

Raffaella De Laurentiis and Michael Mosca are producing the project, with Cologne-based shingle Zeitsprung attached as a co-producer.
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