UFA Fiction is partnering with actor-producer Tyron Ricketts and his Berlin-based Panthertainment to produce films and series for the global market focusing on stories from people of color.
UFA Fiction producer Nataly Kudiabor (pictured, left) will work with the Austrian-born Ricketts (right), one of Germany’s most successful black actors, on developing and overseeing projects Panthertainment acquires from directors and writers.
“Tyron and I have known each other for 20 years,” Kudiabor said. “As people of color, we have always dealt with the problem of on-screen representation. We want to give creative people – regardless of their origin or skin color – the opportunity to tell their own stories from their perspectives and we are convinced that we can reach a broad audience with them.”
She noted that “game changers” such as the films “Black Panther” and “Crazy Rich Asians” show how great the public’s need is for new narratives, which is likewise reflected in the popularity of series formats on streaming platforms.
Ricketts added: “With digitization changing our society to a similar extent that the replacement of the horse by machine once did, it is essential to modernize the narratives of today’s society. I am very happy to have found an ally in UFA with whom we are rethinking old narrative patterns in order to create an alternative to the traditional, sometimes still very Eurocentric, stories.”
Joachim Kosack, managing director of UFA and UFA Serial Drama, said media professionals had a special responsibility to “decisively counter racist and discriminatory tendencies, set appropriate topics and make them visible in our programs. Consistently advancing this path and strengthening and supporting the culture of creative exchange and diversity is a matter of the heart for UFA and for me: a further step for more openness in our society.”
Kudiabor, who joined UFA Fiction as a producer in May, previously co-headed Berlin-based Good Friends, where she oversaw production of such recent series as “Bonusfamilie,” a remake of Swedish family drama “The Bonus Family,” for ARD’s Das Erste; “Arthurs Gesetz” for TNT Comedy and Telekom Deutschland’s EntertainTV; and the upcoming “The Mopes,” starring Nora Tschirner, which UFA Fiction is producing for TNT Comedy.
Meanwhile, Ricketts has starred in such high-profile series as ZDF’s hit crime drama “SOKO Leipzig” and Netflix’s “Dogs of Berlin.” He has also worked for Harry Belafonte in New York, where he conceived social media strategies against racism for the famed singer and activist.