Germany’s 2016 ‘Books at Berlinale’: A Bid for Film Rights

In News by Dennis Abrams

By Dennis Abrams | @DennisAbrams2

Berlinale logo

Selling movie rights is always a win for publishers, which helps explain why 130 titles from 25 countries were submitted for this year’s “Books at Berlinale” pitch event, presented under the aegis of Frankfurt Book Fair at the Berlin International Film Festival, the Berlinale.

Eleven titles, judged to have the best potential for film adaptation thanks to their “timely subject matter, dramatic plots and well-drawn characters,” will be in the final competition next week.

Among those selected are Philipp Winkler’s Hool, the story of a “hooligan”; Meltem Yilmaz’s Soraya, which tells the story of a young Syrian woman who escapes the horrors of the refugee camps by being sold into marriage with an older man; and best-selling author Christine Nöstlinger’s Konrad oder das Kind aus der Konservenbüchse (Conrad: The Factory-Made Boy).

In a prepared statement, Juergen Boos, Director of the Frankfurt Book Fair, said:

Carol by Todd Haynes“A successful page-to-screen adaptation gives the respective publishers substantial advantages—as we’re seeing right now with Carol, Todd Haynes’ new film. Carol, which is based on a novel by Patricia Highsmith (Diogenes), has been nominated for six Academy Awards–and won the Frankfurt Book Fair’s prize for Best International Literary Adaptation last year.

“Everyone who works in this business knows that dealing with film rights can be a drawn-out, risky process.

“That’s why we’re so proud that numerous successful literary adaptations, including Tuya, based on the novel by Claudia Piňeiro and Nackt Unter Wölfen (Naked Among Wolves) based on a book by Bruno Apitz, had their start at Books at Berlinale”.

From the 2010 Berlinale, an event at the Brandenburg Gate. Image:

From the 2010 Berlinale, an event at the Brandenburg Gate. Image:

Eleven Titles in Contention

  • A Robot in the Garden by Deborah Install (Andrew Nurnberg Associates, UK)
  • Spy Toys by Mark Powers (Bloomsbury Publishing, UK)
  • The Ice-Cream Makers by Ernest van der Kwast (De Bezige Bij, NL)
  • The Trick by Emanuel Bergmann (Diogenes Verlag, CH/GER)
  • Hool by Philipp Winkler (Elisabeth Ruge Agentur, GER)
  • Das achte Leben (The Eighth Life) by Nino Haratischwili (Frankfurter Verlagsanstalt, GER/GEOR)
  • Poppyseed Lemon Cake by Cristina Campos (Grupo Planeta, SP)
  • Soraya by Meltem Yılmaz (Kalem Agency, TUR)
  • Run Away by Guy Delisle (Mediatoon, FR)
  • The Eyes of the Lake by Jessica Schiefauer (Nordin Agency, SWE)
  • Konrad oder Das Kind aus der Konservenbüchse (Conrad: The Factory-Made Boy) by Christine Nöstlinger (Oetinger Filmrechte-Agentur, GER)

The competition takes place from 3 to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 16, at the Abgeordnethaus (state parliament) in Berlin.

Each of the eleven rights holders will be given a few minutes to make a presentation. Following the publishers’ pitches, interested producers will have an opportunity to speak with them directly and ask questions about the titles that have caught their attention.

Interested film producers, along with publishers and literary agents, have until Wednesday (February 10) to register to participate in the event.

For further information, contact Kathrin Grün at

About the Author

Dennis Abrams

Dennis Abrams is a contributing editor for Publishing Perspectives, responsible for news, children's publishing and media. He's also a restaurant critic, literary blogger, and the author of "The Play's The Thing," a complete YA guide to the plays of William Shakespeare published by Pentian, as well as more than 30 YA biographies and histories for Chelsea House publishers.