ZDFneo, the German broadcaster ZDF’s digital channel aimed at viewers aged 25 to 49, has boarded crime-thriller series “Below the Surface” as a co-production partner with SAM Productions. The series will feature in the Berlin Film Festival’s Berlinale Special Series on Feb. 15.
The eight-part series centers on a subway train beneath Copenhagen where 15 people are taken hostage by three masked, armed men. A terror taskforce, led by Philip Norgaard (Johannes Lassen) and Louise Falck (Sara Hjort Ditlevsen), is dispatched to rescue them, while reporter Naja Toft (Paprika Steen) acts as a go-between with the police as the captors bait the press with information about each hostage’s past. “For eight days the tense standoff grips Denmark, as those trapped underground lose all hope for survival,” according to a statement.
The series was originally commissioned by Discovery Networks for Denmark’s Kanal 5, where the series will debut in the spring. The drama will also air on Kanal 5 in Sweden, TV Norge in Norway, and Iceland’s RUV. Studiocanal is handling worldwide distribution.
The series has been put together by a team of leading Scandinavian creatives with Kasper Barfoed as creator, head writer and concept director, alongside Morten Kjems Hytten Juhl, who serves as producer. SAM Productions’ Soren Sveistrup (“The Killing”), Adam Price (“Borgen”) and Meta Louise Foldager Sorensen (“A Royal Affair”), and ZDF editors Frank Seyberth and Wolfgang Feindt serve as executive producers.
Simone Emmelius, head of ZDFneo, said: “In 2017, ZDFneo will be showcasing its first international co-productions, so extending our fiction portfolio in TV and online is key for us. Therefore, I’m glad that we have found suitable partners in Discovery, SAM and Studiocanal, and am sure that ‘Below the Surface’ will intrigue our young target audience.”
Price added: “We are thrilled that our brand-new Scandinavian collaboration has brought together a winning partnership between ZDFneo, Discovery and Studiocanal – three of the leading companies in international television.”
Rola Bauer, managing director at Studiocanal TV, who orchestrated the co-production strategy with SAM, commented: “SAM has brilliantly created a gritty and grounded narrative that touches all of our fears today, and we wanted to help find the right co-pro partner to support SAM and their partner Discovery. So, for us, ZDFneo was such a natural fit ,and we are thrilled that they saw the relevance of this story.”