Twelve exceptional books suitable for adaptation to the screen have been selected for Books at Berlinale 2019, and film producers can discover them at the Berlinale Co-Production Market in Berlin’s Abgeordnetenhaus (state parliament) on 11 February 2019. Here, rights holders will present their material in moderated pitching sessions, after which there will be a get-together to allow film producers, rights holders, publishers and literary agents to meet and talk.
The event has been held every year since 2006, organised by the Berlin International Film Festival in cooperation with Frankfurter Buchmesse. With more than 160 submissions from over 30 countries, the number of submissions this year surpassed even that of previous years.
Festival director Dieter Kosslick, who co-founded Books at Berlinale, is delighted with the development of the initiative: “Our idea was and is to connect producers with the publishing industry on the basis of a curated selection of outstanding international books that are particularly suitable for filming. It’s great that “Books at Berlinale” continues to grow in the 14th year of its existence and is enjoying ever greater popularity.”
This year’s selection includes books – or, as the case may be, publishers and literary agents – from the following countries: Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Spain, the Republic of Korea, Syria and Turkey.
“The selection consistently includes exciting new releases, bestsellers and prize-winning books with very high screen-adaptation potential – from 11 countries this year, which once again shows the diversity of the international literary landscape”, points out Juergen Boos, Director of the Frankfurter Buchmesse. “I’m particularly pleased that ‘Dance or Die’, a title by a Syrian author, is in the running. It’s important for the moving stories of our time to be told in different ways so that they reach a wide public.”
“Dance or Die”, the true story of Ahmad Joudeh, who held on to his dream of dancing despite the war in Syria and threats from extremists, is an impressive demonstration of the power of peaceful resistance through art (represented by the Italian publisher DeA Planeta Libri).
The selection also includes a book from Norway, the Frankfurter Buchmesse 2019 Guest of Honour: Simon Stranger’s “Keep Saying Their Names” (original title: “Leksikon om lys og mørke”). The rights to the novel were quickly snapped up in 11 languages. The book, presented by the Oslo Literary Agency, won the Norwegian Booksellers’ Prize in November and is both a critical and popular success.
The novel “Rightful Blood” by Francesca Melandri was just celebrated as the “International novel of the year” in the Spiegel’s annual review of literature. The book, which also broaches the topic of Italy’s colonial history, was a big bestseller in Germany this year (German title: “Alle, außer mir”) and is being presented by The Italian Literary Agency.
The renowned UK agency The Artists Partnership, which represents authors, screenwriters and directors, will present the thriller “The Good Son” (an international bestseller and “Bestseller of the year” in the Republic of Korea) by You-jeong Jeong.
The 1988 novel “Salt on Our Skin” by Benoîte Groult sold over a million copies in Germany alone (German title: “Salz auf unserer Haut”) and was adapted for the screen shortly after its release. Now the film rights to this dramatic love story are once again available and suitable for a remake.
With “The Guest” (“Misafir”) by Nermin Yıldırım, the Kalem Agency presents a drama with political implications from the world of Turkish psychiatry.
The selection also includes, amongst others, a top title from Diogenes Verlag’s spring catalogue (“Die Liebe im Ernstfall ” by Daniela Krien), “Die Tote im Wannsee ”, the story of a 1968 criminal case in Berlin, which is also a portrait of contemporary German history (presented by Elisabeth Ruge Agentur) and Kathrin Weßling’s novel “Super, und dir? ” (Ullstein Buchverlage).
Books at Berlinale 2019 – the selected titles:
(in alphabetical order by presenting company)
“Dance or Die” (Ahmad Joudeh, Syria), DeA Planeta Libri, Italy
“Love in Case of Emergency”/“Die Liebe im Ernstfall” (Daniela Krien, Germany) Diogenes Verlag, Switzerland
“Salt on our Skin” (Benoîte Groult), Editions Grasset & Fasquelle, France
“The Invisible Girl” (Blue Jeans), Editorial Planeta, Spain
“The Wannsee Murder”/“Die Tote im Wannsee” (Lutz Wilhelm Kellerhoff), Elisabeth Ruge Agentur, Germany
“The Girl with the Leica” (Helena Janeczek, Germany) Gruppo editoriale Mauri Spagnol, Italy
“The Guest” (Nermin Yıldırım), Kalem Agency, Turkey
“Keep Saying Their Names” (Simon Stranger), Oslo Literary Agency, Norway
“Play Dead” (A.F. Th. van der Heijden), Singel Uitgeverijen, Netherlands
“The Good Son” (You-jeong Jeong, Republic of Korea), The Artists Partnership, UK
“Rightful Blood” (Francesca Melandri), The Italian Literary Agency, Italy
“Great, and You?”/“Super, und dir?” (Kathrin Weßling), Ullstein Buchverlage, Germany
Books at Berlinale is held in Berlin’s Abgeordnetenhaus (state parliament) as part of the Berlinale Co-Production Market. The main partners of the Berlinale Co-Production Market are the MDM – Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung (Central German Media Fund) and Creative Europe – MEDIA Programme of the European Union. The Berlinale Co-Production Market is part of the European Film Market (EFM).
Film producers who are or would like to become involved in adapting literature to the screen, as well as publishers and literary agents, may write to email@example.com until 4 February to register to attend the event. Further information is available at firstname.lastname@example.org.