Two novel ideas at Universum


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BERLIN -- German distributor Universum Film is shoring up its co-production business with film adaptations of two German-language classics: Norbert Jacques' pulp thriller "Dr. Mabuse" and the children's book "Lippels Traum" (Lippel's Dream) by Paul Maar.

"Lippels Traum," the story of a boy who creates his own fantasy world to escape problems at home, is set to begin shooting this year in Germany and Morocco. Ulrich Limmer, who successfully adapted Maar's best-seller "Das Sams" (The Slurb), will produce the film through his Munich-based collina Filmproduktion together with Universum.

"Dr. Mabuse," the story of an arch-criminal who used hypnosis to carry out his fiendish plans, was made famous through several film adaptations, including three by Fritz Lang. Universum acquired the rights from producer Artur Brauner, who produced such "Mabuse" films as Lang's "The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse" (1960) and Harald Reinl's "The Invisible Dr. Mabuse" (1962).

Universum now is shooting the children's feature "Princess Lillifee," a co-production with ndF and Caligari, which is set for an April 2009 release.