Rock Salt Acquires Berlinale Film ‘Curveball’ in North America From ARRI (EXCLUSIVE)

Leo Barraclough
·3 min read

Munich-based sales agency ARRI Media Intl.’s has signed a North American distribution deal with Rock Salt Releasing for “Curveball – A True Story. Unfortunately.,” which had its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival in the Berlinale Special Gala section this year.

The film, co-written and directed by Johannes Naber, is released in German cinemas on Nov. 26, and will be released in North America by Rock Salt in the first quarter of next year.

The film tells the true story of how the Iraq war, with the involvement of the German government and secret service, was started based on faulty intelligence.

Bioweapons expert Dr. Arndt Wolf of the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) is obsessed with the idea that, despite UN inspections, anthrax is still being produced in Iraq. Back home in Germany, Wolf’s superior Schatz assigns him as case officer for the Iraqi asylum seeker Rafid Alwan because Alwan claims to have worked as an engineer for Saddam Hussein’s secret bioweapons program.

This is a rare triumph for a secret service badly in need of a win: finally, they have a piece of intelligence that would put them one step ahead of the CIA. What they are missing, though, is proof, the search for which proves difficult, as Alwan (the man they call “Curveball”) is well aware of his value to the agency. His claims end up serving a number of different interests, including the CIA, and the German government, as everyone tries to use his story for their own purposes.

“Thus, bit by bit, a construed tale becomes reality and a lie becomes the truth. A truth, which sets in motion a chain of events that forever changes the global political landscape,” according to a statement from ARRI.

Nick Risher, VP acquisitions and business development at Rock Salt Releasing, said: “In the current political climate, we are excited to bring this crazy but true story to U.S. audiences. We have heard about Iraq, anthrax, and Colin Powell, but who knew Germany was involved? ‘Curveball’ greatly showcases the dark humor indicative of fine German filmmaking.”

ARRI Media Intl.’s deputy head of sales and acquisitions, Moritz Hemminger, commented: “Due to the subject of the film, we always considered North America as a key territory for distribution. Having the extremely dedicated Rock Salt team releasing ‘Curveball’ in U.S. cinemas and platforms, makes the filmmakers and us at ARRI Media extremely happy and proud.”

Naber wrote the screenplay to “Curveball – A True Story. Unfortunately.” with Oliver Keidel. The film is produced by Bon Voyage Films, led by Amir Hamz, Christian Springer and Fahri Yardim, and coproduced by Antonio Exacoustos, Joseph M’Barek at ARRI Media, Stefanie Gross at SWR, ARTE, NDR and BR.

The production was funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media, DFFF German Film Fund, FFA Film Fund, Film Fund Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein, and MFG Media and Film Society BadenWuerttemberg.

Naber received numerous awards for his directorial debut “The Albanian,” and his feature film “Age of Cannibals” won, among others, a Bronze Lola and the German Film Critics’ Award for best picture.

Rock Salt’s slate includes Oscar-winning director Susanne Bier’s drama “A Second Chance,” starring “Game of Thrones’” Nicolaij Coster Waldau, “Kiss of the Spider Woman” director Hector Babenco’s final feature film, “My Hindu Friend,” starring Willem Dafoe, and most recently Nicole Brending’s Slamdance winner “Doll House: The Eradication of Female Subjectivity in American Popular Culture.”

ARRI Media Intl.’s slate include festival favorites like Andrei Konchalovsky’s “Paradise” and “Sin,” Christian Schwochow’s “The German Lesson” and Hueseyin Tabak’s “Gipsy Queen,” family films like “The Magic Kids,” “Four Enchanted Sisters” and “Ploey,” and genre movies, like “The Last Berliner” and “The Sonata.”

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