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Beta Film and ZDF Enterprises’ joint-venture Intaglio Films has set environmental thriller “The Swarm” as its first production. “Game of Thrones” executive producer Frank Doelger, who heads up Intaglio, will executive produce the high-end English-language drama alongside ndF International Production’s managing director Eric Welbers.

Berlin-based Intaglio, which was launched in February by Beta and ZDF to develop, finance and produce English-language scripted dramas for the international market, is developing the eight-part drama with ndF for German pubcaster ZDF. The production is scheduled to begin shooting in 2019.

Based on a 2004 novel by Frank Schaetzing, first published in English in 2006 and now translated into 25 languages, “The Swarm” follows a group of scientists and military personnel from around the world who discover that humans are not the only intelligent species on Earth, and that an intelligent being in the depths of the ocean, having suffered the ravages of human civilization on its habitat, is about to fight back.

Frank Zervos, senior vice president films and series at ZDF, said the novel’s themes were “more relevant than ever in light of the environmental challenges the world is facing today.” “Now really is the ideal time to produce out of Germany on an international scale and adapt the biggest, most successful German novel of the past decade that focuses on a globally relevant and urgent subject matter,” said Zervos.

Doelger (pictured, right) and Welbers (left) will serve as executive producers alongside Schaetzing. It is being produced in partnership with rights holding company Swarm Production KG, which is owned by Athos, and Schaetzing’s publisher, Kiepenheuer & Witsch.

“After having spent eight seasons in the mythical world of ‘Game of Thrones,’ it is great to return to the present with ‘The Swarm’ and its searing exploration of the impending doom brought about by man’s callous disregard of the oceans,” said Doelger, adding that Schaetzing’s doomsday scenario was “as dire as anything imagined by [‘Game of Thrones’ author] George R. R. Martin.”