“Originally, I wanted to work in development, but I became increasingly fascinated by the worlds of international production and distribution during my studies,“ recalls Cosima von Spreti who graduated from HFF Munich’s Production and Media Economics department in 2013. She had her first taste of working in international sales at Films Distribution (now Playtime) in Paris before returning to Germany to take up a post of Sales and Acquisitions Manager at the Tele München Group (TMG). Two years later, she was appointed as the group’s Vice President Acquisitions & Co-Productions, in charge of development, financing and production of all of TMG’s co-productions, such as THE NAME OF THE ROSE and SANCTUARY. In addition, she was a part of the acquisitions team for German-speaking Europe and the international sales arm TM International.
Last year saw a career-defining moment when she was promoted to Head of Co-Finance and Co-Production at the brand new kid on the block, LEONINE, which resulted from the merger of TMG, Universum Film, i&u TV, Wiedemann & Berg Film, and W&B Television. “The focus of my work has definitely changed since coming to LEONINE,“ von Spreti explains. “My work now revolves around co-financing and co-producing opportunities for international projects as well as concentrating on world sales opportunities. My activities operate within the licensing division under LEONINE’s CEO Fred Kogel. It’s a really exciting time because there are so many different ways to set up projects and there is so much demand for European production at the moment.”
She points out that LEONINE’s production portfolio covers a wide range of formats – from TV series, feature films, TV shows, and entertainment formats, infotainment formats to content for social media – and explains when her team is considering coming onboard as a partner: “We are looking for original ideas of high quality with international appeal. Ideally, we don’t just acquire for German-speaking territories,“ she notes, “because if we are a production partner on a project, we’d like to consider the worldwide distribution as well.“ Moreover, von Spreti’s credo for being involved in a project is “the earlier the better: this puts us in a strong position for the distribution and selling process if we can be actively involved right from the development stage.”
At the same time, LEONINE has not developed a standardized approach to how it becomes a partner in a project, but rather operates on a case-by-case basis: serving as a co-producer and handling international sales, or as co-producer and theatrical distributor, or as a co-developer and co-producer, to name various possibilities. For example, the LEONINE team was so impressed by the package for the HERZOGPARK society dramedy – to be produced by Letterbox Filmproduktion – that they agreed to take on international distribution for the six-part event series, with producer Yoko Higuchi-Zitzmann commenting after the deal was signed that “with Cosima von Spreti, we have found a passionate sparring partner who shares our creative vision.“
Meanwhile, Christian Alvart and Sigi Kamml’s production outfit Syrreal Entertainment approached LEONINE to be their co-development partner for SANTIAGO, the modern interpretation of The Count of Monte Cristo. Alvart will be directing with co- creator Adolfo J. Kolmerer in two eight-part easons at locations in Europe and Mexico. “We are attractive as a partner for German producers because of our access to international markets which could give that additional boost for their projects,“ von Spreti explains. “What I also enjoy about my position is the potential for synergies across LEONINE’s group of companies: to see if our production houses could perhaps collaborate on the co-development of international projects if, for example, a project has a strong German theme or storyline.“
Last year, von Spreti served as executive producer on the late Joseph Vilsmaier’s last feature film DER BOANDLKRAMER UND DIE EWIGE LIEBE and is at the helm for the first screen adaptation of Margit Auer’s bestselling THE SCHOOL OF MAGICAL ANIMALS as well as IMMENHOF 2 – DAS GROSSE VERSPRECHEN, the sequel to Sharon von Wietersheim’s 2019 reboot of the 1950s classic, where principal photography started at the beginning of July. Furthermore, the cameras are set to roll in September for Marcus H. Rosenmüller’s next feature, the summer comedy BECKENRAND SHERIFF, a co-production with Lieblingsfilm.
“There is never a dull moment working in this new environment that is LEONINE. Many opportunities and collaborations await and I couldn’t be more excited to see what the future holds,“ adds von Spreti and gives a taste of an amazing development: “There are 10 books in the Magical Animals series and we are now entering the financing process for number 2 together with Alexandra and Meike Kordes and director Gregor Schnitzler. These books are such a huge brand and it’s amazing how it has evolved. When we first became involved, 1.5 million books had been sold, and that’s now risen to 4.5 million in the last two years!“