Iron sky
Director Timo Vuorensola, actors Christopher Kirby, Goetz Otto, from left, look to actresses Stephanie Paul, Julia Dietze and Peta Sergeant. Photo by AP
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Screenshot from the film Iron Sky.
Screenshot from the film Iron Sky.

A film that depicts the fictional story of a group of Nazi scientists who in 1945 escaped to the dark side of the moon has generated more than its share of interest at this year's Berlin Film Festival. The Finnish-Dutch-Australian co-production, which is called "Iron Sky," shows the scientists establishing a secret base on the moon, called "Black Sun," where they develop a fleet of flying saucers that they plan to fly back to earth in 2018 in a plot to take over the planet.

Their plan is complicated when an American space shuttle craft is about to land on the site of the Nazi base. War erupts between the Nazis and an American team, and although the Germans manage to land in New York, they are confronted by a fearless woman named Renate, who is prepared to do anything to foil their plot.

The film, which is directed by Timo Vuorensola of Finland and produced through the Finnish firm Energia Productions, has been sold to distributors around the world. A communique released on Thursday announced that a distribution agreement has been signed for in Israel with Shoval Film Production and Distribution.

In one indication of the interest in "Iron Sky" around the world, when a trailer for the movie was posted on the Internet on YouTube, within a week it had been accessed over 5 million times.

The creators of "Iron Sky" worked on the movie for five years, according to Benny Shvily of Shoval Film Production, and they raised $1.5 million of their $10 million budget for the film on the Internet from private individuals who were enlisted into the project. As a result, the film already had a built-in following even before its release, he said.

"I know of course that this is a subject that is sensitive," he acknowledged. "I consulted on the matter with the German distribution company, and told them that the distribution of the film in Israel could be problematic, but they assured me it was a wild comedy that subjected the Nazis to ridicule."

There is no release date yet for the film in Israel, Shvily said, and he admitted that he had hesitated before agreeing to take on distribution of the film here. In the 1980s, Shvily created his own film about Nazis, a comedy called "Mivtza Shtreimel" ("Operation Shtreimel" ) about a group of daring Jewish fighters who set out to steal secret Nazi military plans.

With regard to "Iron Sky," Shvili said he expected it to prompt some opposition here, noting that even the sight of the Nazi flag sparks a negative reaction by some in Israel. "I understand them," he said, "but you have to understand that this is not a film that seeks to glorify the Nazis."