Magazine article Variety

Winter Thrills despite Chills

Magazine article Variety

Winter Thrills despite Chills

Article excerpt

The Berlin festival may not unspool on a sunny beach, but the European Film Market, which runs along-side the fest, is becoming much more like Cannes and the American Film Market - at least when it comes to serving as a launching pad for major movies.

"Berlin has really solidified itself as the third international sales market," says FilmNation topper Glen Basner.

A pair of high-profile projects will be unveiled on the market's opening day Feb. 6: "Race" and "Max Steel."

"Race," isabiopic starring John Boyega ("Attack the Block") with Stephen Hopkins directing a story about runner Jesse Owens and his four gold medal wins at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. Producers have set a media event for the Olympic Stadium where Owens performed the feat of humiliating Adolf Hitler, single-handedly crushing his theories of racial superiority. It's a German/Canadian co-production between Solofilms and Trinity Race with shooting planned for April in Berlin and Montreal.

Mattel and Dolphin Films will unveil details about "Max Steel," the toymaker's live-action tale of teenager Maxwell McGrath and alien companion Steel, who can combine special turbo-energy powers to generate sensational superhero Max Steel.

Berlin has traditionally served as a market for arthouse, serious dramas and social fare aimed at European distributors. But in recent years, companies looking to cut through the masses of pics at Cannes and AFM have used Berlin events as a spur for sales of mainstream projects such as Ron Howard's "Rush"; Steven Soderbergh's "Side Effects"; "Kill the Messenger," starring Jeremy Renner; Anton Corbijn's "A Most Wanted Man"; and the untitled Hugh Grant-Marisa Tomei romantic comedy with Castle Rock producing. …

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