Netflix snaps up streaming rights to Cate Shortland’s Berlin Syndrome
Netflix has been shopping at Sundance again, snapping up the rights to Berlin Syndrome, the new film from Cate Shortland.
The acclaimed Australian director Cate Shortland made a name for herself with Somersault, which premiered in Un Certain Regard at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival, before cementing her status as one of the world’s top female filmmakers with Lore, which premiered at the 2012 Sydney Film Festival. She has since directed The Secret Life of Us and written episodes of The Slap, before going on to make Berlin Syndrome, which premieres at Sundance next Friday night.
The film follows Australian tourist Clare, who travels to Berlin to photograph East German architecture and meets Andi, a handsome but brooding schoolteacher. After a brief, erotic fling, Clare tries to leave, but Andi isn’t ready to let go. She soon finds herself held prisoner in his locked apartment, cut off from the outside world. As her ordeal unfolds, Clare cycles between reasoning with her captor, surrendering to his obsessions, and plotting her escape.
Teresa Palmer and Max Riemelt star in the thriller, which is adapted by Shaun Grant (The Snowtown Murders) from Melanie Joosten’s 2011 novel. It is produced by Aquarius Films, Entertainment One, Memento Films International, Screen Australia, Film Victoria, Fulcrum Media Finance and DDP Studios.
“Palmer’s empathetic and courageous performance keeps us rooting for Clare, while Riemelt brings terrifying depth to the disturbed Andi,” according to Sundance, which describes Berlin Syndrome as “psychologically acute and uncommonly observant to the shifting power dynamics between captor and prisoner”.
While Vertical Entertainment has bought the North American theatrical rights to the title, Netflix has bought all rights after that point, including streaming. Deadline reports that the sale, brokered by UTA Independent Film Group and Vertical’s Rich Goldberg and Peter Jarowey, was in the low-to-mid-seven-figure territory.
The agreement echoes that of Under the Shadow, which was snapped up by Vertical and Netflix at last year’s Sundance, which was released in US cinemas in summer 2016 and in UK cinemas by Vertigo last autumn, before going on to arrive on Netflix UK this month.
The deal marks the second acquisition by Netflix before Sundance has even begun, with the streaming giant recently buying Kitty Green’s documentary Casting JonBenet, which explores the still-unsolved death of a six-year-old US beauty queen in 1996. That will be released on Netflix and in US cinemas this spring.