06. September 2006

Munich, 6 September 2006. Beta Cinema has acquired the international licensing rights to the German hit production Hui Buh. Produced by Rat Pack and Constantin Film, Bully Herbig's latest film has already drawn 1.8 million viewers to the theaters. The story about the lovable, bumbling castle ghost starring Bully Herbig, Heike Makatsch and Christoph Maria Herbst in the lead roles sold more than 20 million copies in Germany as a printed book and audio book.
Beta Cinema presents a series of outstanding German films at this year's Toronto International Film Festival. Chris Kraus' Four Minutes, which was hailed as Best Film at the Shanghai Film Festival, and Hans Steinbichler's Winter Journey are being screened in the "World Cinema" section. The multiple award-winning German dramaThe Lives of Others by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck will be shown in the "Special Presentation" section. The film recently won the audience award at the Locarno Film Festival. As an A-festival, Toronto (Sept 7-16) is one of the most important film fests in the world and a leading platform for European films in North America.
In Four Minutes, director Chris Kraus ("Shattered Glass") relates the story of young Jenny (Hannah Herzsprung), who has been convicted of murder and seems to have reached the end of her days. Probing behind the young woman's cruelty and dreams, an eighty-year-old piano teacher (Monica Bleibtreu) plans to turn Jenny back into what she was before the crime: a piano prodigy. The Shanghai jury president and film director Luc Besson already secured the French rights to Four Minutes in Shanghai for his distribution firm Europacorp. The film, which was subsidized by European Film Promotion Support, has also already been sold to Italy's Lady Film ("Good Bye, Lenin," "Go for Zucker!") and to the U.K. distributor Peccadillo Pictures ("Before the Fall").
"The reactions of American distributors after two preview screenings organized by German Films in Los Angeles and New York were very promising. We are expecting to sell the film to a reputable U.S. distributor in Toronto. Distributors from Japan have also shown great interest. Negotiations are underway," says Dirk Schürhoff of Beta Cinema.

Hans Steinbichler's Winter Journey tells the story of bankrupt businessman Franz Brenninger (Josef Bierbichler, "Hierankl"), who neglects his blind wife (Hanna Schygulla, "The Marriage of Maria Braun"), gets involved in a shady financial deal in Kenya and, with the help of his interpreter (Sibil Kekilli, Golden Bear for "Head On") tries unsuccessfully to get his money back. Winter Journey, which had its world premiere at the International Film Festival in Karlovy Vary (Czech Republic) in July, has already been sold to Turkey. The production is being brought to German theaters by X-Verleih.
To date, distributors of more than 40 countries acquired The Lives of Others, which was honored with seven German Film Prizes. Among the territories are the U.S. (Sony Pictures Classics) and all major European nations. The latest deals include contracts with the U.K. distributor Lionsgate and the renowned Turkish distributor Chantier Films.