November 30, 2019

The first time creator-producer Tobias Meinecke heard about the APOLLONIA, a doomed German sailboat crossing the Atlantic in December 1981, and sensed there might be a movie in what happened on that boat, was in the Spring of 1983, when - Tobias had just started film school in Munich - the Skipper of the Apollonia was charged with double murder and details of the fateful passage emerged in the press.

But only when three decades later Tobias met aquatic cinematographer and entrepreneur WIM MICHIELS and his partner KAREN JENSEN at Cannes this year, and learned about LITES WATER STUDIOS, the newest and most advanced pre-rigged and completely controlled water studio in the world, was he convinced that the movie, which takes place 90% on a sailboat in the middle of the ocean and is essentially a no-escape thriller, could be produced as envisioned. It is the unique set-up at LITES, (indoors, completely controlled, able to simulate all weather situations and a believable ocean environment) that allows for the totality of the scenes demanded in the script to be shot at one place: on the one hand the action heavy storm sequences, heart racing shoot-outs, chases around the boat and man overboard scenes; on the other the performance driven quiet scenes of psychological warfare.

The immediate sympathy Tobias had for LITES was mutual and a partnership for the project struck.

The concept and story of APOLLONIA also convinced Belgian powerhouse BELGA FILMS to join the project as the project's key finance, production and distribution partner in BENELUX - where due to the studio location outside of Brussels, the majority of the project will be filmed. Prior to the completion of the studios, BELGA and MICHIELS had previously worked together on KURSK, the Thomas Vinterberg directed submarine drama, staring Matthias Schoenaerts.

With substantial soft money on offer in Belgium from tax shelter and regional support, the partners are now working together to bring producers and financiers from Germany and Spain on board.

The LITES STUDIOS are conveniently located at the center of Europe on the outskirts of Brussels, Belgium and in addition to the deep tank daylight pre-rigged studio the complex features another wet studio and two large dry studios.