Cannes favorite and Oscar nominee Tim Roth teams up with Succession star Hiam Abbass for Come togetherabout a terrorist whose life is saved by a Syrian refugee, by South African writer/director Oliver Schmitz.
Celsius Entertainment has won worldwide sales rights – excluding Germany, Austria, Australia and New Zealand – and is launching sales on the Marché du Film. The film will shoot in 2023.
A German-New Zealand co-production, Come together centers on Charlie (Roth), a white racist who is in a car accident about to commit an act of terrorism, waking up in the hospital without remembering anything about his life (including his racism and his terrorist plans). While recovering, he befriends Alma (Abbass), a Syrian refugee and former doctor, who saved Charlie’s life at the scene, and they become friends. But when his story is revealed, she must decide if he really is a different person.
The poignant, high-concept film is produced by Oliver Stoltz, who backed Schmitz’s life first, which bowed in the Un Certain Regard sidebar in 2010 and would go on to win multiple awards and become South Africa’s Oscar nomination. Catherine Fitzgerald (Bellbird, The speaker) from Blueskin Films in New Zealand is a co-producer.
“A few years ago (after the big wave of Syrian refugees came to Germany) I read a small article in a local newspaper about a right-wing politician who had been in a car accident. The first people on the scene, who helped him, were Syrian refugees. It had a big impact on me and that idea stuck with me,” said Schmitz, who also directed the 2016 apartheid drama. Shepherds and butchers.
“We tend to help. It is a very human condition, fortunately. Would we help to the same degree if we knew the other person hated you? I knew there was a meaningful story in there and a few years later, in a discussion with Tim Roth, I saw a path for the story and sat down to write it, placing in New Zealand – a society that is generally inclusive and with good values, so it is all the more shocking that two worlds completely collide, a white racist who assumes this country is his and an immigrant recent, a Syrian doctor who saves his life and helps him, unaware of his politics. It is strangely a story of hope and not of despair. I believe in that. It’s possible.”
Alongside his film work, Stoltz is also a successful German television director, with credits including the award-winning comedy series Türkisch Für Anfänger and doctor’s diaryboth of which won Best Series at the German Television Awards and the German Comedy Awards, as well as a Grimme Award.
Thierry Wase-Bailey, CEO of Celsius, added: “We are very happy to be working with our great friend Oliver Schmitz on this very special film which tackles major societal issues in an original way.”
Accustomed to the Croisette, Roth was recently seen in Michel Franco To sleep and Mia Hansen-Love Bergman Island and has Resurrection alongside upcoming Rebecca Hall. Perhaps best known on television for playing Marcia Roy in SuccessionAbbass recently appeared in Blade Runner 2049 and Gaza my love. We will soon see her in David Bruckner hellraiser to restart.