Senator sets up English-language prod'n arm

Berlin-based Senator in talks with Cologne-based studio MMC

COLOGNE, Germany -- Berlin-based Senator Entertainment is changing its mother tongue, announcing plans Monday to open a Cologne-based operation to produce English-language features.

Ulf Israel, head of 3L Filmproduktion, a co-producer on Paul Schrader's "Adam Resurrected" and Julie Delpy's "Two Days in Paris," will shift to Senator in January to run the new company, together with Senator CEO Helge Sasse.

Senator is in talks with Cologne-based studio MMC aimed at setting up a long-term production partnership. MMC has such a production and services agreement in place with Andras Hamori's H20 Motion Pictures, which plans to shoot Samuel L. Jackson-starrer "Running Wild" and Alex Winter's "The Gate" at MMC.

Sasse said Senator picked Cologne because of the "great potential" offered by regional subsidy body the Filmstiftung NRW, which doles out more than $50 million a year in production aid.

The new production shingle will complement Senator's German-language joint venture Deutschfilm, set up earlier this year by Anatol Nitschke and Christoph Muller, Senator's former head of distribution and production, respectively. Deutchfilm's first production will be Philipp Stolzl's "Goethe!" a romantic drama based on the young life of the great 19th century writer starring Alexander Fehling ("Inglourious Basterds").