Story meeting in Paris. Internally known as “The Paris Pitch”.
Overkill is our default setting: on the road on the Croisette during the Cannes Film Festival with the Strech-Limu acquired only for that reason
Storyboard frist draft
Feature film 2014
Screenplay / adaptation of a novel
Production company: B-Side Films GmbH
An insider thriller about the backers of the international financial crisis.
Evil and breathtaking.
In summer 2012, hedge fund manager Adam Lemmer acquired the film rights to a novel by Pascal Roussel, a banker at the European Investment Bank in Luxembourg: Divina Insidia: The Divine Trap. It was no real novel, more of a conspiracy theory disguised as one: the world’s powerful families form a cartel and plan to plunge society into chaos through escalating financial crises and thus seize power. The goal, however, is not power or wealth, but to turn people away from God and establish the rule of Satan.
The sympathetic little Berlin production company B-Side Films was given the task of developing a film from the novel and shooting it. I was invited to a script pitch and got to read the novel. It was quite bumpy. Essentially, it consists of three long lectures given by a powerful “insider” to a young journalist. As befits the genre, it spreads the great meta-conspiracy theory, from the Christian ban on interest to Adam Weishaupt’s Illuminati, the Bilderbergers, 9/11, the UN, the Knights Templar, Rothschilds and Rockefellers, everything of rank and name in the conspiracy-genre was included. This job needed someone who is good at structuring complex themes – and someone who is famililar with the world of conspiracy theories – the perfect job for me. On Friday I got the novel, on Monday I had finished my concept, two days later I met Adam for the first time in the courtyard of a fine hotel on Ku’damm. I was very nervous as I met my new employer: he in a red velvet suit with an impressively large red calling card, which identified him as “Ambassador of the Ecumenical Hospitaller Order of St. John Knights of Malta” as well as various international financial firms. After almost two hours without point and comma of lecturing on the dark world of the great world conspiracy and only a few opportunities for me to add some keywords to this mysterious pattern, I finally had the job.
An incredible tour de force started: after we got Pascal’s blessing, I had to rework the pile of conspiracy theories into an real story within a very short time frame. They wanted to develop nothing more and nothing less than an internationally marketable thriller – and they wanted to develop it fast. Adam had never made a film before – but apparently he had no need to wait for public funding for development and pre-production. He financed it all himself – and the price we had to pay was that we had to work superfast. Every three weeks we had to deliver a new version, which we discussed in personal meetings. This meant we were flown to whereever Adam was on business – including an impressive entourage consisting of his wife, four children, two nannies, two drivers, a bodyguard and at least one lawyer. Of course in each case in the largest hotel at the place. The first version was produced at record speed and was translated even faster into English, as top directors were sought on the international stage. After the first refusals, however, this plan was abandoned again and a German director with international experience was found, a second version was written, again translated into English, since the production company was now looking for internatinal credible actors. Gradually it became clear that Adam would not be able to raise the budget, so an elaborate brochure as well as a sales trailer for financing was created.
The budget for the pre-production including location scouting, casting and storyboarding was just negotiated when the beautiful bubble burst: Adam was arrested by the Italian police in Malta, apparently on behalf of Interpol, who had been on his tail for months. It turned out that he had actually invested considerable financial means in the film – but had acquired them from unclean financial transactions. Apparently all the ominous companies he had pretended to run, all the lawyers, authorised signatories, asset managers, parties with prominent guests and the whole broad-minded appearance had been nothing but dazzling for a huge pyramid system that needed ever new funds in order to generate the non-existent profits of the previous participants. Even the Knights Templar of Malta, of whom he was allegedly a member, could no longer help him. The only real thing his system had produced was a fictional script, which unfortunately would no longer become a film as “The man” went to jail. Too bad for this beautiful project. That was a wonderfully weird, crazy, bizarre time.
I’ll be happy to send you excerpts from the script on request.