2021 Berlin International Film Festival: MDM-Funded Films by Dominik Graf and Anne Zohra Berrached Included in Competition and Panorama Section
"Fabian", an adaptation of a novel by Erich Kästner, directed by Dominik Graf, is a contender for a Golden Bear at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival. Director Anne Zohra Berrached is going to present her drama "Copilot" in the Panorama section. In total, four MDM-funded films are premiering within the festival’s official program this year.
Dominik Graf’s movie "Fabian" is a cinematographically extraordinary adaptation of the eponymous novel by Erich Kästner; starring Tom Schilling, Saskia Rosendahl, and Albrecht Schuch. The film is set in Berlin in the late 1920s, where Jakob Fabian, a literature scholar, is making ends meet with a copywriting gig, while his friend Labude is juggling political activism and the pursuit of his postdoctoral degree. The two live the Bohemian dream, drifting in and out of bars, artists’ studios, and brothels, until Fabian becomes infatuated with Cornelia Battenberg.
The main shooting location, which was the basis for 510,000 euros worth of funding from MDM, was the town of Görlitz, where the cast and crew spent four weeks in the summer of 2019. Additional scenes were shot in Kleinwelka (near the city of Bautzen), in Berlin, and at Babelsberg Studio. "Fabian" was co-produced by Lupa Film, DCM Pictures, the public television networks ZDF and ARTE, AMILUX Film, and Babelsberg Studio. It was co-funded by MDM, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, FFF (Film and Television Fund) Bavaria, BKM (German Federal Commissioner for Cultural and Media Affairs), and DFFF (German Federal Film Fund). It will be brought to German movie theaters by DCM Film Distribution.
"Copilot" by filmmaker Anne Zohra Berrached ("24 Weeks") is set in the early 90s and tells the story of the smart young woman Asli, a science student who one day falls head-over-heels in love with a charismatic man named Saeed. The two end up getting married; Asli promises Saeed never to reveal certain secrets. The couple seems to have a blissful future ahead of them, when Saeed suddenly makes a choice that not only shatters Asli’s dreams but shakes the foundations of much of the world.
The drama was co-produced by Razor Film Production and Haut et Court (France) as well as Zero One Film. Apart from the 400,000 euros contributed by MDM, funding also came from FFA/Mini Traité, BKM, DFFF, Eurimages, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, the North-Rhine-Westphalian Film and Media Fund, and Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein. “Copilot” was shot in Leipzig, Eisleben and Halle, among other locations. The film will be brought to cinemas by Neue Visionen Filmverleih.
The two other MDM-funded films premiering at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival are "Mission Ulja Funk" by Barbara Kronenberg, screening in the "Generation" section, and "Anamnesis" by directing duo Chris Wright and Stefan Kolbe, featured in the "Forum" section.
The 71st edition of the Berlin International Film Festival is taking place from March 1 to 5 in purely digital form and will be limited to an industry and press audience. However, a part II is scheduled for June 9 to 20, entitled "Summer Special", which will welcome the general public to screenings of most of the festival’s films in Berlin’s cinemas and in the presence of the filmmakers.