Upstart production company Cool People Productions LLC has acquired rights to Ronald H. Balson‘s bestselling WWII novel Once We Were Brothers. They are out to filmmakers and a new edition of the novel is being published internationally through St Martin’s Press. Balson, a Chicago trial attorney, self-published the fast paced thriller in 2010. Cool People president and producer Billy Asher Rosenfeld said the book has a strong online following. “Given the book’s devoted fanbase and the raw power of the material, our expectations for the film version could not be higher,” he said. Rosenfeld, formerly of Armory/Benderspink, and SVP Berenice Fugard, who segues from StudioCanal, will oversee the film’s development for Cool People. The company is currently planning to finance the film’s production in 2014 through a private film fund.
Once We Were Brothers tells the compelling tale of a family that struggles to survive in WWII war-torn Poland, a childhood friendship ripped asunder, and a young love that incredibly endures through the unspeakable cruelty of the Holocaust. In modern-day Chicago, respected philanthropist Elliot Rosenzweig is accosted at a fundraiser and accused of being a former Nazi SS Officer. His aged and mentally unstable accuser, Ben Solomon, insists that he has the right man. As Solomon pulls a young attorney with her own self-doubts onto the case, two lives, two worlds, and 60 years converge in an explosive race to redemption that makes for an enthralling account of love, survival, and ultimately the triumph of the human spirit.
“It’s a heart-wrenching touching story that will not leave you anytime soon.” said St. Martin’s Press executive editor Kathryn Huck. Attorney Ellie L. Altshuler of Fox Rothschild brokered the film and TV rights for Cool People Productions with literary agent Maura Teitelbaum for the author.
Special thanks to Mike Fleming Jr. of Deadline for this article.