Tag Archives: Ku’damm 56

Hot damm

German writer Annette Hess tells DQ about period drama Ku’damm 56 and its upcoming sequel Ku’damm 59, her desire to create a series with strong female characters and why she enjoys writing about the past.

Annette Hess
(photo: Lukas Wahl)

The origins of German period drama Ku’damm 56 make for an interesting play on the progression of writers within the country’s television industry. Annette Hess, who had created long-running series Weissensee, was demoralised at the lack of control she had over her own show. So for her next project, she carved out a role as a showrunner that meant she could be hands-on with the programne throughout its development and production.

Ku’damm 56, about three sisters finding their way in 1950s Berlin while under the watchful eye of their strict, socially conservative mother, first aired on ZDF in March 2016. Shown over three nights, it was watched by an average of six million people. Its sequel, Ku’damm 59, will debut on March 18 this year.

“Ku’damm 56 was the first time I was involved as a kind of showrunner,” Hess tells DQ. “It was on Weissensee that I did not have enough influence to give my opinion, and I didn’t like that very much. I was outside and it was always the director who was the last one to decide. I told my agent I wanted to have it another way next time.

“There’s a lot of work still to do, of course, because a lot of directors don’t like this development. But it had to be done because I know so many talented writers and they’re so frustrated after years [in television] and they’re going into literature. I also started [writing literature] myself and now I have to write a book!”

Ku’damm 56 tells a story of conflicting generations through Berlin dance school owner Caterina Schöllack (Claudia Michelsen) and her three daughters Monika (Sonja Gerhardt), Helga (Maria Ehrich) and Eva (Emilia Schüle). While Helga and Eva are willing to follow their mother’s wish to see them happily married, Monika rebels against her strict upbringing and falls in love with rock ’n’ roll music.

Hess puts the success of Ku’damm 56 down to the music and dancing at the centre of the coming-of-age story. “It’s one you can understand immediately if you have problems with your mother, even if your mother isn’t such a monster as Caterina.

Ku’damm 59 centres on Caterina Schöllack (Claudia Michelsen, second from left) and her three daughters (L-R) Monika (Sonja Gerhardt), Helga (Maria Ehrich) and Eva (Emilia Schüle)

“Older people were interested because it was about their youth. It was the youth of my parents, which is why I wrote it, because my mother told me lots of stories about her girlfriend, and these girls – Helga, Monika and Eva – are kind of real. And the younger ones are also interested to see where their mothers and grandmothers come from and how they lived.”

Set three years later, the sequel sees single mother Monika fight for custody of her daughter, as Caterina believes the little girl should live with Helga and her husband Wolfgang (August Wittgenstein), as a way to hide his secret homosexuality. Meanwhile, the careers of Monika and her dance partner Freddy (Trystan Pütter) pick up speed under the stewardship of Caterina’s management, while Monika must also confront her feelings for Joachim (Sabin Tambrea). Eva is also unhappy in her marriage to Professor Fassbender (Heino Ferch).

Like its predecessor, Ku’damm 59 is produced by UFA Fiction and distributed by ZDF Enterprises.

“We always had [a sequel] in mind if it was a success,” Hess admits. “You’re thinking about it in your meetings with the broadcaster and talking about what you could do. For me, it’s always difficult, if it’s a success, to make it even better. Of course, everyone’s expecting it to be better than Ku’damm 56. I told my husband, ‘What can I write?’ It was a long process. But on the other hand, I love to write characters and tell their lives. Now it’s even better than Ku’damm 56.

The show is set three years after the first instalment, Ku’damm 56

“I’m so overwhelmed by what I see [on set]. The actors are much more in their characters, the director is much more free this time and the stories are grown-up stories. Ku’damm 56 was more like a fairytale; Monika was an ugly duck who became a swan. Now they’re struggling and have conflicts with each other and their husbands and their mother. It’s not a coming-of-age story but really a drama, and with a lot of humour too.”

Taking to social media,  Hess says she enjoyed hearing from viewers who were willing Monika and potential love interest Joachim to marry. Monika rejected Joachim in Ku’damm 56 but he returns in the sequel.

“There are a lot of fans asking for marriage and happy endings between him and Monika so it’s wonderful to see all these Facebook posts,” the writer says. “It’s quite new that the writer has direct reaction to what you have written. They said after the first part it has to go on, they have to marry and I’m giving the fans this marriage but not in the way they are expecting. I really like to listen to viewers and fans and to react and give them more, but not in the way they are expecting.”

Ten years ago, Hess wrote a series called Die Frau vom Checkpoint Charlie (The Woman from Checkpoint Charlie), a TV movie for Arte based on the true story of a woman who is separated from her children while escaping 1980s East Germany. While it was a big success, Hess says she is now far removed from this “simple” kind of story that was made at a time when something like Ku’damm, with a cast of complex characters, would not have been produced. Now she’s fighting to bring more complicated females to the screen.

Sabin Tambrea returns as Joachim

“Female movies are the more soapy movies and the others are crime stories, mostly with strong men, and women are prostitutes or drug addicts,” she says of the German industry. “I’m exaggerating but it’s a big issue for me because it’s a real problem. It’s a kind of regression. You can see it in the directors – 20% of directors are female, the same with writers, and these 20% are writing mostly the soapy stuff while men are writing the interesting projects. It’s not moving, so for me it’s now very important.

“In other series, women are just ornaments or they try to make one strong woman so nobody can say there isn’t one. It’s ridiculous sometimes. But they’re not really the sort of female characters I want to see. Orange is the New Black and The Crown are great series with fascinating female characters.”

Future series from Hess are likely to continue to live in the past, as per Weissensee and the Ku’damm shows. She’s now also writing an adaptation of Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo (The Children from Bahnhof Zoo), an autobiographical book by Christiane F, who Hess describes as “the most famous drug addict in the world.” The series is set in Berlin in the 1970s.

“For me, it’s easier to tell stories from a distance,” she says. “If I’m writing about my everyday life, I cannot choose what is important – I think everything is important. But if I have some distance, I can decide what is the essential story, what are the essential characters, and that’s the story I’m going to tell. But whether it’s in the 1950s or 1970s, it’s also about today because the conflicts are the same. It has to be a mirror of our time, otherwise it wouldn’t work with the audience. It’s just like something from a museum.”

Whether there will be a third instalment in the Ku’damm series set in 1962 remains to be seen, as Hess would have to deal with the Berlin Wall, which was built a year earlier. “I don’t like to write these things,” she adds. “We have seen it so many times, it’s not easy to find a new idea about it.”

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A global tour of 2016’s best new dramas

It would be easy to fill a 2016 review with the huge volume of excellent US scripted shows that have been pumped out this year. But for the final column of the year, we’re looking back on some of the new shows from around the world that have made their mark, be it in terms of audience, sales or critical acclaim.

Baron Noir: There were some heavyweight French TV productions this year, including Section Zero, Marseille and France/Sweden copro Midnight Sun. But the one that has secured the highest rating on IMDb is StudioCanal’s Baron Noir. A Canal+ Création Originale, Baron Noir follows French politician Philippe Rickwaert’s thirst for revenge against his political enemies. Launched to critical acclaim in France, with a second season now in development, this “French House of Cards” has been picked up internationally by SBS Australia, Amazon Prime Video in the UK and Ireland and Sony Channel in Germany. “Baron Noir is a gripping political thriller and a masterpiece of French storytelling,” said Carsten Fink, VP of German-speaking Europe at Sony Pictures Television Networks.

Cleverman: This New Zealand/Australia/US coproduction was a clever fusion of aboriginal mythology and dystopian sci-fi. Backed by funding from Screen NSW, the six-part show debuted in June 2016 on ABC Australia, achieving an audience average of around 300,000. It also aired on Sundance in the US, which joined the production during development. While Cleverman wasn’t a huge ratings hit, it did get a positive response from critics. The Boston Herald said it was “unlike any other TV miniseries you’ve seen before. The gritty Australian production uses a sci-fi backdrop to test notions of racial identity and integration with a twist of supernatural terror.” Red Arrow International has sold the show to broadcasters including BBC3 in the UK. It has also been greenlit for a second season, with Sundance again on board.

The Crown: Some would argue that Netflix’s best new series this year was Stranger Things. But the show that has undoubtedly attracted the most attention is The Crown, a US$100m dramatic exploration of Queen Elizabeth II’s early life. Written by Peter Morgan and directed by Stephen Daldry, the show has received pretty much universal acclaim and is currently sitting pretty with an IMDb score of 9. The success of The Crown has even encouraged some analysts to raise their share price targets for the SVoD platform. A second season has already been commissioned and the ambition is that the series will run for five or six seasons. For more about The Crown, see this DQ feature.

Descendants of the Sun: The most-hyped Korean drama of the year was Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo. But the series that seems to have really done the business is this love story between a special forces soldier and a female doctor. Descendants of the Sun was a major hit for KBS in Korea and then sold to more than 30 countries around the world. It was especially popular across Asia. In China, it aired simultaneously with the South Korean broadcast, achieving 2.3 billion streams on iQiyi. Its popularity in China caused concern with the country’s Ministry of Public Security, which warned viewers that “watching Korean dramas could be dangerous, and even lead to legal troubles.”

Insider (Icerde): It’s been another prolific year for Turkish drama. One of the standout shows of the year was Ay Yapim’s Insider, about two estranged brothers who end up on opposite sides of the law. The show debuted on Show TV on September 19 and proved a big ratings hit. Gaining an audience share of almost 12%, Insider beat everything except for Orphan Flowers (Kirgin Cicekler), a popular ATV series that was launched in 2015 to great acclaim. The show is distributed by Eccho Rights. For more on Turkey, read this DQ piece.

Ku’Damm 56: This UFA drama centres on a group of young women seeking to break free from stuffy social conventions in 1950s Germany. The show, which aired on ZDF, was a major hit, attracting 6.3 million viewers for its season finale (an impressive 19.6% share of the audience). The show was developed and written by Annette Hess, whose previous successes include Weissensee. It was one of the 12 new dramas featured at the Mipdrama Screenings.

Medici: Masters of Florence: This show provided an illustration of how Italian broadcasters are now flexing their muscles on the international stage. Although produced in English and distributed by a French company (Wild Bunch TV), Medici was originally commissioned by Italian public broadcaster Rai. The show, which features Dustin Hoffman, debuted well on Rai Uno, securing an audience of 7.6 million. It has now been renewed for a second season and licensed to the likes of Sky Deutschland and Netflix (US, UK, India).

The Night Manager: A huge hit for the BBC in the UK, this was a six-part adaptation of John le Carre’s novel of the same name. The limited series also aired on AMC in the US and has been sold to around 180 countries worldwide by IMG. With a cast headed by Tom Hiddlestone, Hugh Laurie and Olivia Colman, the show was indicative of a couple of key trends – first, a shift towards Anglo-American drama coproductions; and, second, a realisation that some stories are better told through the medium of TV than film. At time of writing the show is in the running for a Golden Globe, having previously picked up a couple of Primetime Emmy Awards. One of these went to talent Danish director Susanne Bier. For more on The Night Manager, see this DQ feature.

Pasión y Poder (Passion & Power): This Mexican telenovela comes from the Televisa stable. A remake of a successful 1988 telenovela, it centres on the rivalry between two families. The show aired on Televisa from Autumn 2015 through to Spring 2016, comprising 80 episodes. It also aired on Univision in the US and became the channel’s number one telenovela of 2016. The finale was especially strong, attracting 5.2 million viewers – more than rival shows on CBS, NBC and Fox. Also airing on Hulu, Passion & Power was a big winner at the 2016 TVyNovelas Awards.

Public Enemy: Nobody knew much about Belgian drama Public Enemy until this year’s MipTV. All that changed after the Zodiak Rights-distributed show won the market’s first-ever Coup De Coeur. Sarah Wright, director of acquisitions at Sky and one of the executives that selected the show, said: “We chose Public Enemy because we felt it was brave, it was strong, it was fresh, it had twists and turns. It feels like something that will travel.” After its MipTV boost, that’s exactly what happened, with the show being picked up by Sky Atlantic in the UK and Germany and TF1 in France among others. Producer François Touwaide, Entre Chien et Loup, said: “Public Enemy is the result of a great initiative launched jointly by Wallonia Brussels Federation and RTBF in 2013 to develop Belgian talent across TV series. After a significant success in Belgium we are very happy with the international response to the show and the great job done by Zodiak Rights.”

This Is Us: On the US network front, Dan Fogelman’s family drama for NBC has been one of the most talked-about new shows of 2016. The show, which is currently on a winter break, averaged 9-10 million viewers per showing across its first 10 episodes and is expected to keep up that momentum when it returns for eight more instalments on January 10. Another Golden Globe nominee, it would be a major surprise if This Is Us doesn’t get a second season. Indeed, Fogelman recently said he has four seasons’ worth of stories sketched out. A marathon of the first 10 episodes will air on USA Network on January 7 ahead of NBC’s next episode. The show has been licensed overseas to broadcasters including Channel 4 UK. Click here for the Guardian’s assessment of the first season.

Trapped: This Icelandic drama actually aired on RÚV on 27 December 2015, but it seems churlish to exclude it from the class of 2016 on that basis. Created and directed by Baltasar Kormakur, the show has subsequently aired across Scandinavia and on BBC4, France 2 and ZDF in Western Europe. Other markets to acquire the show included Australia, Poland and the US, where The Weinstein Company purchased the rights. The tense thriller is part of a second wave of Nordic noir series that has seen Iceland, Norway and Finland all become significant international players. In September 2016, RÚV Iceland announced that a second 10-episode season had been commissioned for release in late 2018.

Westworld: There’s such a lot of great US drama in the market that it’s difficult to single out just one or two shows. But HBO’s movie reboot Westworld certainly deserves a mention. With a budget of around US$100m, the show is shaping up as a potential successor to the channel’s monster hit Game of Thrones. Nominated for a Golden Globe, Westworld recently finished its first season with an average audience of 1.8 million (same-day viewing). However, the most encouraging thing about the show is that its audience has been rising since episode five, with the finale achieving the show’s best ratings to date at 2.2 million. All of which bodes well for the second season, which is likely to air in 2018.

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Networks seek feel-good dramas

Call the Midwife
Call the Midwife has been given three more eight-episode seasons

One of the UK’s most popular dramas, Call the Midwife, has been renewed for three more seasons. The feel-good show, created by Neal Street Productions for BBC1, launched in 2012 and has so far run for five seasons. The new commission means three more lots of eight episodes as well as the bonus of three Christmas specials.

Commenting on the BBC’s  heavyweight backing for the show, which reflects a trend in TV towards multi-series commissions, Charlotte Moore, director of BBC Content, said: “I’m privileged to have Britain’s most popular drama series on BBC1, and this new three-series commission underlines our commitment. Call the Midwife continues to raise the bar with each series and is really valued by audiences. The quality and ambition of the storytelling is credit to the excellence of writer Heidi Thomas, who has brought the show into the 1960s with a diverse range of subjects.”

To date, the show has attracted an average of around 10 million viewers per episode each season. So far it has been rooted in the 1950s but will now tackle the social upheaval of the 1960s.

Heidi Thomas, creator, writer and executive producer of the show, said: “In the 1960s Britain was a country fizzing with change and challenge, and there is so much rich material – medical, social and emotional – to be explored. We have now delivered well over 100 babies on screen and, like those babies, the stories keep on coming!”

Interestingly, the recommission comes at a time when more and more executives in the industry are calling for entertaining, feel-good dramas. ITV director of TV Kevin Lygo recently told the audience at a Bafta event in the UK that he wanted to see more “happy, life-affirming dramas,” adding: “I’m a bit tired of endless murders where in the first five minutes someone, always a woman or a child, is abducted, raped, knifed, killed or bludgeoned.”

The Durrells
The Durrells – a ‘positive, happy’ show

Networks that have invested in feel-good shows have generally secured strong ratings. ITV, for example, enjoyed success with The Durrells, which Lygo said “was a positive thing, a happy, well-made, brilliantly performed show – perfect for Sunday evening.”

His network has recommissioned The Durrells and is also about to launch another feel-good show called The Good Karma Hospital. Produced by Tiger Aspect, the programme is set in a coastal town in tropical South India. It follows the story of a British-Asian junior doctor who arrives at the run-down Good Karma Hospital to join a dedicated team of over-worked medics.

The feel-good factor is also producing some positive results in the US this season. The best example of this is NBC’s comedy drama This Is Us, which launched this year. Eight episodes in, the show is attracting a rock-solid 9-9.5 million viewers and is generally regarded as one of the best new dramas of the year.

Younger
Younger was recently given a fourth run on TV Land

It’s too soon to call this a trend but there are a few other shows that suggest the US audience is receptive to shows that put a positive spin on life’s challenges. In the comedy arena, we’ve seen breakout hits like Modern Family, The Goldbergs (both ABC) and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix), while in drama there have been successes like The CW’s Jane the Virgin and TV Land’s Younger. The latter show, which was recently renewed for a fourth season, is the channel’s top performer with an audience in the 500,000 to 600,000 range.

Around the world, the emphasis still tends to be on crime series, with France and Italy in particular making their mark with hard-boiled series such as Spiral and Gomorrah respectively, to name a couple.

Indeed, The Economist went as far as calling Italian political drama “the new Nordic Noir.” But there is a decent array of international shows that can be categorised as feel-good, inspirational or life-affirming.

Ku'Damm 56
Ku’Damm 56 airs on ZDF in Germany

Keshet’s Yellow Peppers was a big hit in Israel before being adapted successfully as The A Word for the BBC in the UK, while UFA’s Ku’Damm 56 has been one of the breakout shows of the last year for ZDF in Germany.

Even the gloomy Nordics have series like Rita and The Legacy in among their crime noir shows. One of the region’s recent hits is Next Summer, a comedy drama that satirises the idea of the idyllic, cosy family summer holiday at a getaway. A hit for TV Norge/Discovery in Norway, Next Summer is now up to three seasons and is being remade for Kanal5/Discovery is Sweden. (There has also been talk of a Fox remake coming to the US market).

Australia’s contribution to the feel-good revolution is Seven Network’s The Secret Daughter, a musical show that stars former Australian Idol contestant Jessica Mauboy as a part-time indigenous pub singer whose life changes forever when she meets a wealthy city hotelier. Produced by Screentime, the 10-episode first season started in October and received some positive notices from the press at launch. Now six episodes in, it’s posting a respectable one million viewers per episode (with consolidated viewing included) and has been renewed for 2017.

Next Summer
Norwegian feel-good series Next Summer

The Koreans also manage to make space for some upbeat shows – the best recent example being KBS2’s Oh My Venus. In this series, a Korean personal trainer working in Hollywood returns home after a scandal involving an American actress. Back on Korean soil, he becomes emotionally involved with a former teen star who is now an out of shape 33-year-old lawyer – cue romance.

There’s a similar ‘coming home’ vibe to Fox Turkey’s In Love Again (Ask Yeniden). In this case, two young people go to the US (separately) to start new lives, but the American Dream turns sour for both of them. They meet on the plane home and, embarrassed to admit the truth to their families, pretend to be married. Fox has also enjoyed success with Cherry Season, which focuses on the tangled lives and loves of a fashion designer and her friend.

Oh My Venus
Oh My Venus centres on a personal trainer

In the world of telenovelas, there has always been a steady flow of upbeat or uplifting shows such as Ugly Betty, The Successful Pells, Rebelde Way and the original Jane the Virgin. One title about to hit the market is Telemundo’s La Fan, which tells the story of a happy-go-lucky woman from a poor background who is a passionate fan of a famous telenovela actor. One day, a twist of fate brings the two of them together. At first, he hardly notices her, but before long he can’t imagine his life without her.

The big challenge with feel-good drama is making sure it doesn’t skew too heavily towards the female audience, with most of the shows in this area relying on strong female leads. However, many of the above examples have proved it is possible to create a cross-gender, cross-generational hit with the right story.

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Ku’damm 56: UFA Fiction’s fifties focus

Fresh from the global success of Cold War drama Deutschland 83, Germany’s UFA Fiction is now exploring the political and sexual revolution of 1950s Berlin in Ku’damm 56. Michael Pickard reports.

A tree-lined boulevard filled with shops, restaurants and hotels, Kurfürstendamm is described as the Champs-Élysées of Berlin.

Dating back to around 1542, the 3.5km-long avenue – known as Ku’damm – is now home to an array of fashion houses and boutiques. But in the 1920s, it was the burgeoning scene of many theatres, cafes and nightclubs.

UFA Fiction CEO Nico Hofmann
UFA Fiction CEO Nico Hofmann

It is also the setting for a new German period drama that has dancing at its heart.

Ku’damm 56 tells the story of Caterina Schöllack (Claudia Michelsen), a dance school owner who has three daughters, Helga, Eva and the rebellious Monika. When Monika tries to break free from her mother’s strict social conventions, she begins a search for female equality during a time when women are becoming increasingly unwilling to simply stand by their man.

Produced by UFA Fiction for German broadcaster ZDF, the three-part miniseries is written by Annette Hess and directed by Sven Bohse.

UFA Fiction has been enjoying success on the international stage with Second World War drama Generation War (Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter) and Cold War spy thriller Deutschland 83, which became the first German-language series to air in the US after it was picked up by SundanceTV. It has now been sold to 20 broadcasters and online platforms worldwide.

The production company’s latest story is set in 1956, between the events of those two shows, and focuses the changing role of women 11 years after the end of the Second World War.

Nico Hofmann, CEO of FremantleMedia-owned UFA, says: “This is the first time a show has focused on women and tells the story of sexual liberation in the 1950s completely from a female perspective.

“I think we will start a huge debate in Germany when it airs because this is a topic nobody has ever had on their agenda. It’s not just a dancing school adventure, it’s about society in those days. It’s very critical, very sharp, and how you deal with sex and how we were educated in those days is the key issue of the whole show.”

Alexander Coridass, president and CEO of ZDF Enterprises, which distributes the series internationally, continues: “It’s the beginning of the sexual revolution. Don’t forget 1956 is only 11 years after the war – even some prisoners of war had only just returned.

The show takes its name from Kurfürstendamm in Berlin
The show centres on Kurfürstendamm, a culturally significant boulevard in Berlin

“Directly after the war, women had to take over the country. Then the men returned and they wanted to take up their old roles again. Partly, at least, I experienced that myself and it was extremely interesting. On one hand, women were pushed back slightly but they became aware they didn’t have to accept it. This clash of two cultures – pre-war society and the dawn of a new era – led to political and sexual liberation. That’s a unique, spicy, sometimes funny and sometimes dramatic mixture.”

Hofmann is no stranger to using his series to start debates, following the controversy that surrounded Generation War’s depiction of the Nazi era and the subsequent conflict. Now he hopes the story of women finding their way in post-war Germany will spark new discussions.

“It’s a huge topic in Germany,” he says. “It’s very unique because you had a situation where you can say modern Germany was founded by women. There were no men. It wasn’t the same situation as in France or the UK. You had a lot of POWs coming back 10 years later. There were six million men killed. It’s a female society.

“We had a very controversial debate over Generation War. We had a month-long debate in Germany – and in Poland as well. We will have the same with this show because it’s a topic that’s never been seen. I’m amazed no one has done it before.”

Beyond the role of women, Ku’damm 56 – which will likely be called Berlin 56 for international viewers – also offers an opportunity to look at other emerging trends of the era, such as new fashions and the rise of rock ‘n’ roll music.

“The fashion was great,” says Coridass. “It was conservative but stylish. At that time, the fashion and rock ‘n’ roll would still have been forbidden but, after the war, we were focused on other things. This was also the first sign of the rise of the German economy after the war. There are so many aspects that come together that we are pretty sure this will be a unique story.”

Ku'damm 56's creators hope the drama will spark national debate similar to that generated by Generation War and Deutschland 83
Ku’damm 56’s creators hope the drama will spark national debate similar to that generated by Generation War and Deutschland 83

Hofmann adds: “It’s a very sharp and very critical portrait of society of those days. It’s not easy to watch. The most important thing about Annette’s script is the accuracy with which she’s portraying these women. It’s about our families, our mothers. A lot of it portrays my own mother in those days. It will have a similar impact to Generation War in terms of debate.”

While German drama has often looked back on its own history, Hofmann says the way these stories are told is now changing. “They’re moving away from kitsch and melodramatic structures and getting to a very sharp, analytical way of showing society,” he explains. “That’s why we’re proud of Deutschland 83 and Generation War, which have opened doors for me in other countries. It’s a game-changing moment for the industry in Germany. We’re now talking to (US cable channels) AMC and SundanceTV about new projects, and with Scandinavia, Italy and France about coproductions.”

In particular, Hofmann also says he plans to work more closely with Jens Richter, the CEO of distributor FremantleMedia International, and other drama producers within Fremantle’s production group.

“It’s the best time in my life,” he adds. “We have six shows on the way and made nearly €50m (US$57m) in revenues last year. We are having some very good conversations talking about what we’re doing after Deutschland 83 with SundanceTV.”

Other projects currently on UFA’s slate include three-part spy drama The Same Sky; Breaking News, about a war correspondent operating in Israel in the 1920s; and Hitler, an eight-hour biopic examining events from the Nazi leader’s rise to power to the Second World War. Based on the book Hitler’s First War by Thomas Weber, it has already been pre-sold to TF1 in France.

Another UFA drama, Nackt unter Wölfen (Naked Among Wolves), which tells the story of a three-year-old Jewish boy who is smuggled into the Buchenwald concentration camp in March 1945, has been sold by Global Screen to networks including SVT in Sweden, Spain’s TVE, DR in Denmark, Mediaset in Italy and KBS in South Korea.

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