U.S. rights to Academy Award winner Florian Gallenberger’s historical drama "John Rabe" have been picked up by Strand Releasing. The German-French-Chinese co-production is based on the diaries of John Rabe who was known as the "Schindler of China" because of his role in rescuing 200,000 civilians during the Nanking Massacre. Strand's Jon Gerrans negotiated the deal with Beta Cinema's Dirk Schuerhoff. The company plans a spring 2010 release.
Set in Nanking in 1937, the film tracks the life of German businessman, John Rabe who worked for Siemens and is ordered back to Berlin. During a farewell ball held in his honor, the city is bombed by the Japanese following their capture of Shanghai, Rabe acting on instinct, opens the gates to the company and offers refuge to his employees and their families.
“We have been pursuing this impressive, historic film since its premiere at the Berlin Film Festival, and look forward to introducing 'John Rabe' to a U.S. audience,” commented Gerrans in a statement. "We feel in very good hands and it is great to see that Jon and Marcus believe so strongly in this film," added Schuerhoff.
Based in Munich, Beta Cinema is the theatrical sales division of Beta Film.