TERRA MATER STUDIOS procure film rights for “Alice’s Book“
“Alice’s Book: How the Nazis Stole My Grandmother’s Cookbook” is a family saga, spy thriller, historical investigation, and cross-border Holocaust drama. Born in Vienna to a Jewish family, Alice Urbach, a bestselling cookery author, fled to England to escape persecution by the Nazis. Years later, she discovered that her books were being published under someone else’s name.
In “Alice’s Book”, Karina Urbach narrates the thrilling story of her own grandmother, a strong woman who spent her entire life fighting for her rights. The historian shines a light on a previously unexplored aspect of Aryanization: namely, the appropriation of Jewish authors’ intellectual property. In the course of her research, Urbach uncovers long-lost letters, audiotapes, and film recordings in archives across Vienna, London, and Washington, revealing an untold chapter in the history of Nazi crimes.
“What she has unearthed is the stuff of movies – persecution, murder, fraud, imprisonment, escape, rescue, friendship, secret service activities, rise, fall, and new beginning … Urbach’s narration is thrilling, cinematic even,” wrote the “Tagesspiegel”. Nina Steiner, producer at TERRA MATER Studios, who discovered the book and immediately negotiated the rights to adapt it for the screen, is of the same opinion: “‘Alice’s Book’ is an incredible family story that instantly captivates its reader and doesn’t let go. It’s also an important historical document that mustn’t allow to vanish into obscurity. We’re thrilled to have procured the film rights for this brilliant book.”
The story of Alice’s sons is also as exciting as it is incredible: Her eldest son, Otto, made a name for himself as a ski instructor at Reed College in the US state of Oregon, before going to work in Shanghai for US Intelligence. Back in the USA, he found himself caught up in the middle of the Second World War and continued his work as a spy. Together with Italian aristocrat Emilio Pucci – who would later become an internationally renowned fashion designer – and Cordelia Dodson, a well-to-do American who was as beautiful as she was intelligent, he fought against fascism and exposed SS networks.
Alice’s younger son, Karl, fell into a trap set by the SA and Gestapo in Vienna on the day after Kristallnacht, in November 1938. He was tortured and transported to Dachau concentration camp. Amazingly, with the help of his brother, Otto, and support from Cordelia’s family, he was rescued in February 1939.
Walter Köhler, Founder and CEO of TERRA MATER Studios, sees international potential in the book, which has already been translated into seven languages: “Karina Urbach’s book contains everything an exciting film needs. There would even be enough for a multi-part series – we’ll see. What’s important to us is that every word is based on real events, is historically verifiable, and a piece of contemporary history. We’re extremely proud to be able to adapt the extraordinary story of Ms Urbach’s grandmother Alice for the screen.”
Karina Urbach is also delighted at the joint project: “Nina Steiner’s enthusiasm and understanding of both the Austrian and international aspects of Alice’s story were irresistible. I’m sure that my grandmother would have trusted her and Terra Mater Studios with making the screen adaptation of her life.”
Terra Mater Studios is currently looking for scriptwriters and directors for the production.