Netflix is partnering with “Deutschland 83” creator Anna Winger on a new miniseries that tells the story of a young ultra-Orthodox Jewish woman who flees her arranged marriage and religious community to start a new life abroad.
“Unorthodox” is the first project out of the gate for Winger’s newly launched production company, Studio Airlift. The shingle, which is based in Berlin, has at least two other projects in different stages of development. Winger is also preparing for filming later this year of “Deutschland 89,” the final tranche of the Cold War spy tale that began with “Deutschland 83” and continued with last year’s “Deutschland 86.” The series is produced by UFA Fiction and distributed by Fremantle.
“Unorthodox“ is loosely based on the semi-autobiographical novel by Deborah Feldman. The series follows a young woman brought up in an ultra-Orthodox community in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg district who strikes out for Berlin, leaving behind an arranged marriage and tight-knit faith community in part to pursue her goal of becoming a classical musician. The four-hour series features dialogue in both English and Yiddish.
“She’s pursuing her own dreams, and there’s no way for her to do that within the constraints of her community,” Winger told Variety.
Winger wrote the show, in collaboration with Alexa Karolinski, a documentarian who has made films about growing up Jewish in Germany. Talent has not been finalized yet. Shooting is to begin in May in both Brooklyn and Berlin, with delivery of the show expected next year.
Winger founded her new production company with the intention of pursuing global stories. Besides “Unorthodox,” Studio Airlift has optioned “Apartheid Guns and Money: A Tale of Profit” by Hennie van Vuuren, an investigation of the international espionage and money-laundering network run by South Africa’s racist apartheid regime to keep its grip on power.
Airlift is also working on a half-hour original drama set in contemporary Paris, written by journalists Pamela Druckerman and Simon Kuper.