German sellers returning to Cannes’s Mipcom TV mart will be packing a wide selection of domestic and international TV fare heavy on high-end crime and historical series.
With a market that has become increasingly open to different formats, sales companies see good opportunities for diverse offerings.
“Crime is still the most in- demand genre in the market, as well as action,” says Julia Weber, head of international sales and acquisitions at Munich-based Global Screen. “But whatever genre you look at, the main driver remains the story. It needs to be compelling and speak to the audience.”
Weber adds that more and more historical dramas are also being produced, underscoring “an increasing need for series that are rather escapist and that cater to audiences in the post-lockdown world.”
Global Screen’s six-part “The Palace” is a prime example, she adds. Produced by Constantin Television for ZDF and directed by Uli Edel, the series centers on Berlin’s celebrated Friedrichstadt-Palast music hall in the late 1980s, and follows twin sisters (both played by Svenja Jung) as they search for their roots. “It tackles universal topics such as identity, freedom and the desire to break through outer and inner walls and this ideal combination is what helps to make a series travel well internationally,” Weber says.
In “Westwall,” produced by Gaumont Germany for ZDF, a young police officer (Emma Bading) becomes entangled in a right-wing extremist conspiracy after falling for a secretive young man (Jannik Schümann).
Global Screen is also offering the mystery-adventure youth series “3HZ,” produced by Belgium’s De Mensen for Belgian kids’ channel Ketnet. Taking place in two different timelines, the 13-part series comprising half-hour episodes is the kind of show that works for both streamers and mainstream broadcasters, Weber says.
While some players still follow established programming patterns, that is rapidly changing, particularly when it comes to the lengths of series, she adds. “In recent years we’ve seen the market open up and there is now an enormous flexibility in terms of programming and content hours. Anything goes as long as it suits the story that’s being told.”
Indeed, leading Beta Film’s muscular Mipcom lineup is Alejandro Amenabar’s fact-based adventure series “La Fortuna.” Produced by AMC and Movistar Plus, the series stars Stanley Tucci as a deep-sea treasure hunter fighting to keep his recently salvaged booty from the Spanish authorities.
The six-part “Sisi” (pictured), which unspools out of competition at Canneseries, retells the story of the 19th century Bavarian princess who became empress of Austria. Produced by Story House Pictures, “Sisi” will premiere on RTL’s TVNow streaming platform at the end of the year.
Also in Beta’s catalog is the historical series “Hotel Portofino” from London-based Eagle Eye Drama. Set in the Italian Riviera of the 1920s, the series stars Natascha McElhone as the daughter of a wealthy industrialist who moves to Italy to set up a quintessentially British hotel in the beautiful town of Portofino.
From drama and children’s fare to nature and science documentaries, ZDF Enterprises offers a full package. Highlights include such international titles as “The Window,” which explores the complex world of professional soccer. The 10-part series was created by screenwriter James Payne and produced by Berlin-based Boogie Entertainment and ZDF Enterprises.
ZDF partnered with Stockholm-based BR•F and Swedish broadcasters TV4 and C More on “Agatha Christie’s Hjerson,” a playful, modern-day whodunnit based on the fictional detective Sven Hjerson, created by Christie’s fictional writer Ariadne Oliver and likewise handled by the pubcaster’s sales division. The series centers on the renowned criminal profiler and a trash TV producer looking to build a true crime show around him.
From Russian, streaming platform Start and producer Sreda, ZDF Enterprises also presents “Sherlock: The Russian Chronicles,” a mystery-thriller that takes Arthur Conan Doyle’s famed sleuth to 1889 St. Petersburg, on the trail of Jack the Ripper.
Also in ZDF Enterprises’ lineup is the six-part Channel 4 crime thriller “Before We Die,” an adaptation of the Swedish noir series produced by Eagle Eye Drama about a police detective who discovers her estranged son is an undercover informant in a brutal murder investigation.