‘Downfall’ Director Oliver Hirschbiegel to Helm Series on Migrants (EXCLUSIVE)

Oliver Hirschbiegel, the director of “Downfall” and Sundance-winner “Five Minutes of Heaven,” is set to produce and direct “Europe” (working title), a contemporary drama series about African migrants coming to Europe.

Hirschbiegel told Variety at the Zurich Film Festival that the series was being co-developed with Sky.

Stefano Bises, the co-creator and co-writer of the TV series “Gomorrah,” as well as co-writer of “The New Pope” and “Midnight Sun,” is writing “Europe.” Munich-based production house Pantaleon Films and Italy’s Indiana Production are producing alongside Hirschbiegel.

While the plot is under wraps, Hirschbiegel said the series would explore the current situation with migrants in the Mediterranean. It’s inspired by “Bilal,” a book written by the journalist Fabrizio Gatti.

The cast will be a mix of Italian, German, English and African actors.

Having recently directed the three episodes of “Criminal: Germany” for Netflix, Hirschbiegel said he was looking to work again with either Netflix or Amazon on an anthology set across different continents – Africa, Asia and America – where each segment will tell a story about a riddle revealing specific aspects of the respective culture or psyche. In the same vein as “Criminal: Germany,” Hirschbiegel said each episode of the anthology would be made with local cast and crew. The anthology will span different genres, from horror to drama to comedy.

Hirschbiegel said he was also in talks with Amazon on a “historical family saga based on a novel and telling six extraordinary biographies of women.”

The director said the presence of global platforms like Netflix and Amazon had shaken up the TV industry and was allowing him to have “four or five irons in the fire” and become increasingly involved on the production side.

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