×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Netflix Moves Into German Original Films With Three New Projects (EXCLUSIVE)

Netflix is making its first foray into German original films, unveiling a slate of three projects that it will produce with local film and TV powerhouses UFA, X Filme and ZDF.

In the lineup are “Betongold” (“Concrete Gold”), a fast-paced satire about the world of real estate from UFA Fiction; “Isi & Ossi,” a young-adult romcom from X Filme Creative Pool; and “Freaks,” a drama about a working-class mom with supernatural powers, from ZDF and Lüthje Schneider Hörl Film. The movies are set to start production this spring and will be released globally on Netflix from 2020.

The feature projects follow Netflix’s strong commitment to series in Germany, where it is currently producing a slew of shows, including supernatural hit “Dark” and gritty crime drama “Dogs of Berlin.”

“Concrete Gold,” written and directed by Cüneyt Kaya, follows three young real-estate grifters in Berlin, played by David Kross (“The Keeper”), Frederick Lau (“The Captain”) and Janina Uhse (“Good Times, Bad Times”), who amass absurd wealth through illegal financing schemes, only to get caught up in a maelstrom of lies, deceit and drugs. UFA Fiction’s Sebastian Werninger and Johannes Kunkel are producing.

“Netflix and UFA give me the opportunity of complete creative freedom for a film we can bring to a global audience,” said Kaya, whose credits include ZDFneo comedy series “Blockbustaz.” “This is extremely bold and groundbreaking for an uncompromising film like ‘Concrete Gold.’”

Popular on Variety

In “Isi & Ossi,” writer-director Oliver Kienle (“Bad Banks”) chronicles the relationship between a rich girl, played by Lisa Vicari (“Luna”), and a struggling young boxer, portrayed by Dennis Mojen, who set out to use each other for their own selfish ends, only for emotional chaos to ensue.

“Freaks” revolves around a working-class mother who discovers her supernatural powers when she stops taking her medication and proceeds to form a dysfunctional superhero team. The pic reunites the talent behind “Red Bracelets,” the hit German version of “Red Band Society”: director Felix Binder, writer Marc O. Seng (whose credits also include “Dark”) and actor Tim Oliver Schultz.

“Only Netflix would produce a genre-bending project like this,” said Binder. “They shared our enthusiasm for this extraordinary story immediately, and I am glad to have found a home for ‘Freaks’ here to tell an unexpected superhero story from Germany.”

Pubcaster ZDF has also been involved in the project since a very early stage.

Kai Finke, Netflix’s director of co-productions and acquisitions for Germany, Austria and Switzerland, said it was “especially thrilling for us to work with an exceptional group of artists, unconventional filmmakers and great producers on this slate of movies.”

Among new German shows set to stream on Netflix this year are “The Barbarians,” about Germanic warriors taking on Roman legions in AD 9; “Tribes of Europa,” which follows three siblings fighting to survive in an apocalyptic future; and “Don’t Try This at Home,” about two teenage friends who launch an online drug business.

More Film

  • High Fidelity

    What’s Coming to Hulu in February 2020

    Next month, Hulu will ring in Valentine’s Day with some counterprogramming. The streaming service will debut its original series “High Fidelity,” a gender-swapped reimagining of Nick Hornby’s novel of the same name. Previously, the book was adapted into a 2000 movie from Stephen Frears starring John Cusack. Zoë Kravitz stars as Rob Brooks, a music-obsessive [...]

  • Wes Anderson

    Wes Anderson's 'French Dispatch' Sets Summer Release

    Wes Anderson’s star-studded comedic drama “The French Dispatch” will debut in theaters on July 24, Searchlight Pictures announced Wednesday. “The French Dispatch” is set in Paris during the 1950s and follows a group of journalists at an American newspaper bureau. The ensemble cast includes Benicio del Toro, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Lea Seydoux, Frances McDormand, [...]

  • Hillary Clinton Hulu Documentary

    Hillary Clinton Documentary Sells to Sky for U.K. Audiences (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Hillary,” a four-hour docuseries about the life and career of Hillary Clinton, has sold to Sky for U.K. distribution rights, Variety has learned. Clinton sat down for 35 hours of interviews with director Nanette Burstein (“On the Ropes”). The project premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival to strong reviews, for offering an honest portrait [...]

  • Rhythm Section Movie

    Will Blake Lively's 'Rhythm Section' Fumble at the Box Office on Super Bowl Weekend?

    Ticket sales could grind to a halt over Super Bowl weekend, a notoriously quiet time of year at the box office. Two new movies are opening — Paramount’s spy thriller “The Rhythm Section” and Orion Pictures’ fantasy adventure “Gretel & Hansel” — though each is expected to make less than $10 million. Since the Super [...]

  • The Fight ACLU Documentary

    ACLU Sundance Doc 'The Fight' Headed to Magnolia Pictures

    Magnolia Pictures is wrapping up a low-seven-figure deal for distribution rights to the moving documentary “The Fight,” insiders told Variety. Premiering at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, the project is directed by Elyse Steinberg, Josh Kriegman, and Eli Despres. CAA and Submarine are brokering the deal on behalf of financiers. The directors also served as [...]

  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    Quentin Tarantino on Re-Creating 1960s L.A. for 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood'

    Quentin Tarantino’s earliest memory of Los Angeles was as a young boy visiting Grauman’s Chinese Theater, standing in the courtyard and looking at the handprints of John Wayne and Roy Rogers. He recollects the Mold-A-Rama machine outside that dispensed a souvenir wax pagoda if you inserted a quarter. The director had toyed with re-creating that [...]

  • Harriet Frank Jr. dead

    Harriet Frank Jr., Oscar-Nominated 'Hud' and 'Norma Rae' Screenwriter, Dies at 96

    Harriet Frank Jr., who collaborated with her husband, Irving Ravetch, on the Oscar-nominated screenplays for “Norma Rae” and “Hud,” died on Tuesday at her home in Los Angeles. She was 96. Her nephew Michael Frank announced her death to the New York Times. Frank and Ravetch worked on 17 features together after meeting while writers at [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content