BERLIN - Alec Schulmann, the German producer of Oscar-nominated Mongol (2007) has teamed up with ex-Beta Cinema executive Andreas Rothbauer to launch a new production and world sales operation, Picture Tree International.
As the long-time head of sales and acquisitions at Beta before stepping down last year, Rothbauer was responsible for acquiring and handling world sales on such films as Oscar-winners The Lives of Others (2004) and The Counterfeiters (2007) and the Oscar-nominated Downfall (2004) and Il Divo (2008). He and Schulmann first worked together on Mongol, which Schulmann co-produced and Rothbauer and Beta sold worldwide.
Picture Tree, which will have its official market unveiling at Berlin's European Film Market next month, aims to be an integrated production and sales operation, licensing film rights worldwide as well as boarding international features as a co-production partner. Based in Berlin, the new firm is backed by the Investitions Bank through its VC Fonds Kreativwirtschaft program as well as via private investors.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Rothbauer said Picture Tree is in the process of finalizing a series of agreements with independent production companies in Scandinavia, Canada and South Africa by which the firms would take equity stakes in Picture Tree and come on board as strategic partners.
"The idea isn't to have exclusive agreements on the production or sales side -- we will still acquire from and co-produce with third-party companies -- but having production partners in these countries will help to speed up the process on co-productions and better integrate production with sales," Rothbauer said.
Picture Tree will not have a slate ready for the EFM but will be acquiring films and meeting with potential co-production partners at the market in Berlin. Rothbauer said the company's focus will be on commercial product -- both English and foreign language -- with clear international sales potential.
Picture Tree is based in Berlin and plans to unveil its first production and sales line-up at the Cannes Film Market in May.