German helmer Florian Gallenberger won an Oscar for his 2000 short film Quiero Ser (I Want To Be…) and followed that up with such features as Honolulu and City Of War: The Story Of John Rabe. Both those films starred Daniel Bruhl with whom the director is reteaming on Colonia. Principal photography is about to begin on the thriller that has Emma Watson opposite Bruhl in a tale inspired by true events. They play a young couple who become entangled in the Chilean military coup of 1973. Daniel (Bruhl) is abducted by Pinochet’s secret police and Lena (Watson) tracks him to a sealed-off area in the south of the country called Colonia Dignidad. The Colonia presents itself as a charitable mission run by a lay preacher, but is in fact a place from which no one has ever escaped. In order to find her beloved, Lena decides to join the cult.

Shooting will take place in Luxem­bourg, Munich, Berlin and South America until the end of the year. Gallenberger is helming from a script he wrote with Torsten Wenzel. Benjamin Herrmann is producing through his Majestic banner. Nicolas Steil will serve as co-delegate producer through Iris Productions.

The creative team boasts a bevy of European talent including cinematographer Kolja Brandt (Hector And The Search For Happiness), production designer Bernd Lepel (Down­fall, The Baader Meinhof Complex), costume designer Nicole Fischnaller (A Most Wanted Man), makeup designers Waldemar Pokromski (The White Ribbon, The Pianist) and Claudine Moureaud (Merchant Of Venice), sound recordist Carlo Thoss (The Girl With The Pearl Earring) and editor Hansjörg Weissbrich (Night Train To Lisbon).

The film is co-produced by Rat Pack Filmproduktion, in association with ProSieben and Sky, supported by FilmFernsehFonds Bayern, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, FFA German Federal Film Board, Ger­man Federal Film Fund, Luxembourg Film Fund and the MEDIA program of the European Union.

Watson is represented by Markham, Froggatt & Irwin in the UK and WME in the U.S. Brühl is repped by Germany’s Players, the UK’s Tavistock Wood and WME.