Vitus (2006) - News Poster



Women to Watch: Jan Miller

Jan Miller is a connector – and she loves doing it! Supporting producers around the world is in her DNA. After she invited us to speak at the second Strategic Partners in Halifax, (which she created and directed for 15 years), we would then meet Jan regularly in Cuba, Berlin and Cannes where she is a regular moderator at the Producers’ Network Breakfasts. Cartegena was also on her regular beat. She is in demand everywhere as a trainer for directors, writers and producers of pitching and content development as well as an international consultant, from regular events like Poland’s ScriptEast, to Guangzhou, Manaus, Capetown, Glasgow, Yellowknife and most recently, Tehran to name just a few of the more exotic locales.

After bringing the stars in alignment to launch Canada’s first national film school, the National Screen Institute and its highly regarded Features First and Drama Prize programs almost three decades ago, Jan moved from Canada’s west to the east coast where she launched Strategic Partners, Canada’s premiere international co-production market.

In Sp’s 10th year, Jan was approached by Nadja Radojevic of the The Erich Pommer Institut – Epi to partner on a brand new training concept Trans Atlantic Partners (Tap) where Jan Miller serves as its Head of Studies. Together they have developed the program in to one-of-a-kind training that brings together experienced producers from Europe, Canada and the U.S. with a team of Experts, to develop projects for international co-production and co-venturing. Tap is co-presented by the Erich Pommer Institut and the Canadian Media Production Association – Cmpa. Industry partners are Telefilm Canada and Canada Media Fund.

Always responding to the industry, Tap began with only European and Canadian involvement but both Nadja and Jan realized bringing U.S. indie producers into the mix would take the program to a whole other level. Each year, three additional producers from beyond these three ‘regions’ are also selected to participate in this two-module program.

The Tap 2015 line-up includes producers from India, Australia and Mexico. And now in its 7th year, Tap, responding to the industry needs, has opened its program to independent producers with international television series projects in development as well.

This year’s expert line-up of award winning producers include Belladonna’s René Bastian of Belladonna Productions whose film “ Cold in July” is directed by Jim Mickie, and whose newest film “Live Cargo” was presented at Ifp’s No Borders and Us in Progress this past month, K5’s Oliver Simon, Dynamic Television’s Klaus Zimmermann (“100 Code”, “Borgia”, “Death In Paradise”, “The Transporter”), international television consultant Lorri Faughan (“Pillars Of The Earth”), and Buffalo Gal’s Phyllis Laing, (“Aloft”, “Keyhole”, Heaven is for Real”) of Buffalo Gal Pictures, Canada, who was herself a Tap’er in its very first year.

Jan says that they often draw on previous Tap producer talent to come back as resources as so many have remarkable track records.

The Erich Pommer Institut of Germany is a leading training provider in the European media industry dealing with cutting-edge legal and economic topics. Nadja Radojevic, has recently moved into the CEO and Director of Training.

Epi was founded in 1998. Erich Pommer himself was the producer of “Metropolis” and “The Blue Angel”. He left Germany in the war and his grandson, Erich Pommer is a Los Angeles entertainment attorney. The Institute’s core business is advanced professional training in film and media. Aside from Trans Atlantic Partners which is held in Berlin in June and in Halifax in September post Tiff, Epi hosts a European TV Drama Series Lab following the American model with top showrunners and Scandinavian trainers. Now in its fourth edition - former editions featured Showrunners James Manos (“Sopranos”), Carol Flint (“West Wing”, “Emergency Room”), Frank Spotnitz (“The X-Files”), Simon Mirren (“Criminal Minds”) and Glen Mazzara of “Walking Dead” – David Semel, Executive Producer “Madam Secretary”, Co-Executive Producer “House MD” and Director of “The Man in the High Castle”, “Hannibal”, Hemlock Grove”, “Homeland”, “Heroes”will be trainer amongst others.

Epi also hosts Essential Legal Framework, a program consisting of three independent workshops for European professionals on negotiating, European coproduction and digital strategies. A national section for German speakers only, runs four hours a day with 20-30 seminars per year. Its focus is on media law and deals with television, film production, labor and tax revisions which ­– one of their best-selling seminars as there have recently been quite a lot of changes in tax law in Germany. Classes in film financing and film funding are also popular.

There is also a Copyright Policy Congress, Writers Room Simulation and other conventions featuring various current topics relevant to the media industry. In fall Epi is pioneering with Epi e:training starting with a course on European Co-Production. Epi e:training is offering crucial knowledge and business insights by top-level experts online – at your own pace and wherever and whenever you want. “We developed the online training program according to the demands of today’s media industry. It offers more flexibility and adapts to individual preferences," comments Nadja Radojevic. Epi is located at the historic Babelsberg Studios and can be found at

Trans Atlantic Partners (Tap) is designed for experienced film and television producers from Europe, Canada and the U.S. including 3 additional seats for International producers. The 24 Tap 2015 producers below were selected by the Erich Pommer Institut (Epi) (Germany) and the Canadian Media Production Association (Cmpa) (Canada).

European Producers

-Simon Amberger, Germany (Producer, "Eastalgia", Molodist Int. Ff 2012, Tallinn Int. Ff 2013 | Producer, Blockbustaz, 2014, Winner ZDFneo TV Lab 2014 | Producer, Ada, 2014)

-Sebastien Aubert, France ("Patardzlebi" (Brides), 2014, Berlinale 2014, 3rd Audience Award)

-Rudolf Biermann, Czech Republic (Producer, "Kawasaki's Rose," 2009, Berlinale 2010, Ecumenical Award Panorama Section, Czech Lion 2010 | Executive Producer, "I Served the King of England," 2006, Berlinale 2006, Fipresci Critics Award | Producer, "Garden," 1995, Karlovy Vary Iff 1995, Jury Award)

-Jacqueline de Goeij, Belgium (Producer, "Allez, Eddy!," 2012, Chemnitz Ff, Main Prize & Diamant Award For Most Convincing Acting Performance Of A Child, Palm Springs Best of the Fest Selection | Producer, "Zus & Zo," 2002, Academy Awards, Nominee Best Foreign Language Film, Dutch Ff, Golden Calf Best Actor)

-Sylvia Günthner, Germany (Producer, "Bela Kiss: Prologue," 2013, Twisted Celluloid Ff Ireland 2013, Audi Festival of German Films Australia 2014)

-Martin Heisler, Germany (Producer, "Houston," 2013, Sundance Ff 2013, Independent Ff Boston 2013, Special Prize of the Jury | Producer "Forget Me Not," 2012, Ff Locarno, Settima Della Critica 2012, Best film | Producer "David Wants to Fly," 2010, Berlinale 2010)

-Rachel Lysaght, Ireland (Producer, "Patrick's Day," 2015, Ifta 2014, Best Script, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Sound | Producer, "One Million Dubliners," 2014, TV Award Sandford Saint Martin Trust, UK, Irish Ff Boston 2015, Director's Choice, Galway Film Fleadh Ireland 2014, Best Feature Documentary)

-Christof Neracher, Switzerland (Producer, "War" (Chrieg), 2014, San Sebastian Ff 2014, Max Ophüls 2014, Max Ophüls Prize | Producer Vitus, 2006, Shortlist Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film 2006, Berlinale 2006, AFI Fest 2006, Audience Award)

-Diarmid Scrimshaw, UK (Producer / Production Co., "Tyrannosaur," 2012, Sundance 2011, Best Director, Satellite Awards 2011, Best First Feature)

Canadian Producers

-Coral Aiken, Canada (Producer, Big Muddy, 2014, Toronto Iff 2014, Arizona Iff 2015 | Producer, "The People Garden")

-Patrick Banister, Canada (Executive Producer, "Bitten," 2014 | Executive Producer, "Whistler," 2006)

-John Barbisan, Canada (Executive Producer, "Bitten," 2014 | Executive Producer, "Whistler," 2006)

-Amy Belling, Canada (Producer / DoP / Cam Op / Post Supervisor, Songs She Wrote About People She Knows, 2014, Toronto Iff 2014, Santa Barbara Iff 2015 | Producer / DoP / Cam Op / Post Super, Stress Position, 2013, Sci Fi London 2013, Las Vegas Ff 2013, Best Cinematography / Best Supporting Actor)

-Isaac Clements, Canada (Senior Production Executive, "The Pinkertons," 2014-15 | Production Executive, "Sunnyside,"2014-15 | Associate Producer, "Silent Night," 2012)

-Jeff Kopas, Canada (Producer / Director / Writer, "An Insignificant Harvey," 2011, Busan Iff 2012, Audience Award)

-Linda Ludwick, Canada (Exec. Producer/Producer: "Mohawk Girls Season 2," 2014, Yorkton Ff 2015, Banff Media Festival 2015 | Exec. Producer/Producer, "Smoke Traders," 2012, Yorkton Ff 2013 | Exec. Producer/Producer, "Reel Injun," 2009, 3 Gemini awards 2010 | Exec. Producer/Producer, "Moose TV," 2006, "Cfpta" 2008)

-Robyn Wiener, Canada (Producer, "Numb," 2015 | Producer, "Black Fly," 2014, Viff 2014 , Marché du Film Telefilm Perspective Canada Cannes 2015| Co-Producer / Line Producer, "Lawrence & Holoman," 2013, "Viff" 2013, Best Director | Co-Producer / Line Producer, "American Mary," 2012, London Fright Ff 2012)

American Producers

-Mollye Asher, USA (Producer, "Fort Tilden," 2015, SXSW 2014 Grand Jury Prize | Producer, "She's Lost Control," Independent Spirit Award Nominee 2015, Berlinale 2014 | Producer, "Songs My Brother Taught Me," 2015, Sundance 2015, Cannes 2015)

-Diane Houslin, USA (Producer, "Yelling to the Sky," 2011)

-Tommy Oliver, USA (Producer, 1982, 2015, Toronto Ff 2013, Austin Ff 2013, Marquee Audience Award | Producer, "The Perfect Guy," 2015 | Producer, "Kinyarwanda," 2011, Sundance Ff 2011, World Audience Award, AFI Fest 2011, Audience Award)

-Riel Roch Decter, USA (Producer, "The Wait," 2014, South by Southwest 2013, Deauville 2013 | Producer, "Bottled Up," 2014, Tribeca Film Festival 2013 | Producer, "Life After Death from Above 1979," 2014.

International Producers

-Vivek Kajaria, India (Producer, "Fandry," 2014, Indian Ff of La 2014, Grand Jury Prize Best Film, Fipresci India 2014, Film Critic Award Best Indian Film 2013 | Presenter, "Anumati," 2013, National Film Award for Best Actor 2013, New York Indian Ff 2013, Best Film Award | Producer, "Siddhant," 2015, Mumbai 2014)

-Ozcar Ramirez Gonzalez, Mexico (Producer, "Ciclo," 2013, DocsDF 2012, Vancouver Latino Iff 2013, Audience Award | Producer, "The Compass is Carried by the Dead Man," 2013, Tokyo Iff 2011, La Iff 2012 | Producer, "Days of Grace," 2012, Cannes Iff 2011, Guadalajara Iff 2012, Best Director, Best Score, Press Award)

-Lisa Shaunessy, Australia (Executive Producer, "Killing Ground," 2016 | Co-Producer, "Black & White & Sex," 2012, Iff Rotterdam 2012, Sydney Ff 2011, Best Experimental Film | Producer, "Hipsters," Sbs Australia, 2015)

Who is Jan Miller and how did she arrange such an organization?

It’s in Jan’s nature to look for opportunities to support the individual filmmaker, her local industry and work internationally as well. Most recently Jan served as an international consultant for the Canadian Media Production Association helping to develop their international strategy and contributing to Cmpa led delegations to Berlin and Rio de Janeiro. In March she led a delegation of 18 production companies to the Hk Filmart for Creative BC and Cmpa BC.

Jan divides her time on Tap, on international contracts, on teaching and on Wift-at.

How do you see the place of women in the film industry?

Recognizing that there was a real need in Atlantic Canada for women to come together and support, celebrate and learn from each other in the industry, I started Women in Film and Television - Atlantic which I headed up as Founding Chair and architect for six years. During this time I was working with a remarkable team to launch Women Making Waves an annual Conference that brings in the best female talent to offer master classes, panels, conversations and networking opportunities to men and women in the industry. I continue as one of the organization’s primary resources and mentors. And most recently, strongly believing that women in the industry need to strengthen their entrepreneurial skills and business strategies, I worked with Mount Saint Vincent University’s Centre for Women in Business, to launch Wift-at’s first six month Advanced Management and Mentoring Program.

Can you explain your connection to the music business?

Close to a decade ago, I was approached by Canada’s vibrant east coast music industry to adapt my pitching workshop into a program that has become “export readiness for the music industry”... During this intensive workshop I work with artists, bands and managers to develop their communication and pitch skills to present their work to international music supervisors, festival programrs and tour managers in 1-2-1 meetings. It was a very steep learning curve, but I loved the challenge of redesigning her training to fit a new market.

Can you explain your connection to romance writers?

When the Music Export Readiness workshops took off, other disciplines began approaching me to ask if I could adapt her teaching for a workshop for Romance Writers wanting to pitch to potential film and TV producers and then theatre practitioners wanting to pitch their properties internationally. My un-designed career path came full circle!

How did you come into the film world?

I first came into the entertainment industry through my theatre troupe that performed clown and mask shows internationally for 10 years as one of Canada’s cultural calling cards. During this period I successfully auditioned for a short film and the seed was planted …

What do you do in Nova Scotia? (or What did you do?)

Amazingly I call home Nova Scotia. Living 40 feet from the ocean, I connect daily to the world and travel the world almost as often. I am an international resource for the local industry and mentor talent both for the short term and long term as the demand requires. My husband and I also breed standard poodles!

How would you sum up your “portfolio”?

I am an initiator, a passionate connector devoted to helping people do what they want to do well.
See full article at SydneysBuzz »

M-Appeal Picks Up Locarno Player ‘Unlikely Heroes’ (Exclusive)

M-Appeal Picks Up Locarno Player ‘Unlikely Heroes’ (Exclusive)
London — Berlin-based sales company M-Appeal has picked up Locarno film festival player “Unlikely Heroes” (Schweizer Helden), which centers on a Swiss housewife and 11 asylum seekers, who have just a few days to put on a play.

Peter Luisi’s comedy drama, which is the first Swiss movie ever to be picked up by M-Appeal, will world premiere at the fest’s open-air venue, Piazza Grande, on Aug. 13, following an industry screening on Aug. 9.

The film follows Sabine, a recently divorced housewife, who finds herself alone over the Christmas holidays. In order to win the respect of her friends and family she decides to stage the Swiss national play, “William Tell,” with a group of asylum seekers.

Luisi’s previous features include “Verflixt Verliebt” (2004), “Love Made Easy” (2006), “Die Praktikantin” (2010) and “The Sandman” (2011). He also was the co-writer of Fredi Murer’s “Vitus” (2006).
See full article at Variety - Film News »

'Easy A' Director Will Gluck To Remake Swiss Drama 'Vitus' As 'How To Disappear Completely'

'Easy A' Director Will Gluck To Remake Swiss Drama 'Vitus' As 'How To Disappear Completely'
Well, this is something of a left turn. Comedy director Will Gluck, who's had two straight big hits in "Easy A" ($75 million worldwide) and "Friends With Benefits" ($150 million), is set to take on slightly heavier material with "How To Disappear Completely". The drama focuses on a young prodigy in the musical and academic worlds who slowly finds his skill level dropping as he ages, creating conflict with his overbearing parents. The script is from Ed Solomon ("Men In Black") though Gluck is expected to take a pass as well as direct for Sony.

The source material in this case is "Vitus", a 2007 film that represented Switzerland's official entry for the Best Foreign Film Oscar (it was not nominated). We're not necessarily familiar with the film, which stars the prolific Bruno Ganz ("Downfall") as the father, though critics seem to have been mixed, if Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes are anything to go by.
See full article at The Playlist »

Will Gluck Will ‘Disappear Completely’

I’ll make an effort to abstain from any Radiohead/Kid A references and give you the straight facts. As THR informs us, Will Gluck (Easy A, Friends with Benefits) is adding another project to his plate — one which is set up at Sony, to the surprise of no one — entitled How to Disappear Completely.

A remake of Fredi M. Murer‘s 2006 drama, Vitus, which co-starred Bruno Ganz, Disappear will follow a young piano player who tries to evade his controlling parents and “amass a fortune in the stock market [that will] change the lives of those around him.” Right now, Gluck has been commissioned to work on the script — Men in Black scribe Ed Solomon gave that a stab earlier — and direct whatever results from that. Max Minghella is producing with Timothy Bricknell through their Ant Colony Films; Todd Black and Jason Blumenthal are also attached in this regard.

Where How
See full article at The Film Stage »

Desert Island Monster Movies

By George D. Allen

Recently, I wrote an article for the Movies Unlimited home blog, MovieFanFare, offering my quickly selected picks for 10 “desert island” movies, those films which, were I forced to choose, I felt (in those moments writing the article, anyway) I would be carting along with me to enjoy during my eternal vacation/banishment on said remote locale.

Now, monsterfans, wipe those memories of Stephen King’s gruesome short story “Survivor Type” from your mind and assume all of your other creature comforts are as normal as they could possibly be (so that you don’t have to worry about minor concerns like hacking off your own body parts for food!), and pick those 10 masterworks of the horror genre you’re going to be forced to live with for the rest of your days. I completed my own “Rorschach test” in this regard below. It was tough. I
See full article at Famous Monsters of Filmland »

'Redbelt' a cinch for Tribeca/ESPN fest

'Redbelt' a cinch for Tribeca/ESPN fest
NEW YORK -- David Mamet's mixed martial arts drama Redbelt has been chosen as the gala premiere at the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival.

Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as a noncompeting jujitsu trainer who rescues an action star (Tim Allen) from a beating, leading him to a life in Hollywood and eventually back to the ring. Emily Mortimer and Alice Braga also star.

The Sony Pictures Classics release will have its world premiere in the sports-themed Tribeca Film Festival section on April 25, followed by a bicoastal release May 2 and a national rollout the following week.

The film provides the Tribeca/ESPN fest with a rare sports film from a highbrow director. It also allows it to mend some fences with a high-profile SPC presentation: SPC co-president Tom Bernard complained about poor turnout for his 2007 Tribeca entry Vitus, which he said was possibly caused by added uptown venues drawing away downtown crowds. The uptown venues have been removed this year.

Nine on foreign-pic Oscar shortlist

Nine on foreign-pic Oscar shortlist
Nine of 61 films that originally qualified for consideration by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the foreign-language film Oscar have advanced to the final voting phase.

The rules for the category changed this year. Instead of several hundred members of the foreign-language film committee selecting the five nominees, this year -- during what the Academy calls Phase I -- their ballots selected nine finalists for nomination.

A Phase II committee of 30, comprised of 10 randomly selected members of the larger group and two 10-member contingents from New York and Los Angeles, will choose the final five nominees.

The films are Algeria's Days of Glory, directed by Rachid Bouchareb (distributed in the U.S. by the Weinstein Co.); Canada's Water, by Deepa Mehta (Fox Searchlight); Denmark's After the Wedding, by Susanne Bier (IFC Films); France's Avenue Montaigne, by Daniele Thompson (ThinkFilm); Germany's The Lives of Others, by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (Sony Pictures Classics); Mexico's Pan's Labyrinth, by Guillermo Del Toro (Picturehouse); the Netherlands' Black Book, by Paul Verhoeven (Sony Pictures Classics); Spain's Volver, directed by Pedro Almodovar (Sony Pictures Classics); and Switzerland's Vitus, by Fredi M. Murer

Spanish May Be the Language of the Oscars

  • WENN
Spanish-language movie hits Pan's Labyrinth and Volver are shortlisted for Oscar gold at the upcoming Academy Awards. Nine films from 61 hopefuls were selected as possible nominees for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 79th Oscars. As well as Mexico's Pan's Labyrinth and Spain's Volver, other potential nominees are Days Of Gloria (Algeria), Water (Canada), After The Wedding (Denmark), Avenue Montaigne (France), Black Book (The Netherlands), Vitus (Switzerland) and Lives Of Others (Germany). The final five films in contention will be announced at the officials nominations on January 23.

'Vitus' dances to N. America

'Vitus' dances to N. America
COLOGNE, Germany -- Sony Pictures Classics has picked up North American rights for the Swiss drama Vitus from the German sales group Media Luna Entertainment, Media Luna said Monday.

Fredi M. Murer's Vitus, which tells the story of a gifted musical protege who defies his parents, is Switzerland's official selection for the 2007 foreign-language Oscar nomination race.

Vitus debuted at the Berlin International Film Festival earlier this year and has since sold to more than 20 territories, including Germany (Schwartz-Weiss), France (Ocean Films) and Japan (Tokyo Theaters).

Already a success in its native Switzerland, where it has pulled in close to 200,000 admissions, Vitus will bow in Germany on Dec. 21.

The movie recently screened at the AFI Fest in Los Angeles, where it won the audience award for best feature.

Rookie Zbanic's 'Grbavica' tops AFI fest

Rookie Zbanic's 'Grbavica' tops AFI fest
As the 11-day film festival drew to a close, the AFI Fest 2006 juries awarded prizes Sunday to a wide range of international contenders. Taking home the international feature competition's narrative grand jury prize was rookie filmmaker Jasmila Zbanic's Grbavica: The Land of My Dreams, Bosnia and Herzegovina's official entry for the 2006 best foreign language Oscar, starring Mirjana Karanovic (When Father Was Away on Business) as a mother dealing with the Third Balkan War. Strand Releasing is distributing the film in the U.S.

The international documentary grand jury prize went to Mark Verkerk's Dutch-French co-production Buddha's Lost Children, about a Thai Buddhist monk who fights for orphans. Verkerk also received a $10,000 grant from Aquafina.

Winning feature audience awards in a tie were Carla Garapedian's rock activist docu Screamers and Lucy Walker's Tibetan climbing docu Blindsight, plus Swiss filmmaker Fredi M. Murer's narrative film Vitus, about a gifted boy who rebels against his doting parents.

Receiving special mention was the Danish feature from Peter Schonau Fog, The Art of Crying, starring Jannik Lorenzen.

The international shorts competition jury awarded the grand jury prize to Disappearing, directed by American Stefanie Berk, who took home a $10,000 camera package from Dalsa Digital Cinema.

San Sebastian fest announces Zabaltegi films

San Sebastian fest announces Zabaltegi films
MADRID -- Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Babel, the documentary Neil Young: Heart of Gold and Paris, je t'aime are among the nine films selected for the San Sebastian International Film Festival's Zabaltegi section, organizers said Tuesday. One of the most popular sections at San Sebastian, Zabaltegi is designed to give festivalgoers a chance to catch up on films they may have missed at previous festivals. Other titles this year include Sundance favorite Little Miss Sunshine, Berlin title Vitus and Cannes entries The Court from Abderrahmane Sissako and Buenos Aires, 1977 from Israel Adrian Caetano. Manoel de Oliveira's Belle toujours, an homage to Luis Bunuel and Jean-Claude Carriere, and Alfonso Cuaron's Children of Men will screen in Venice prior to San Sebastian, qualifying them for the category as well.

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