Monday’s Up Next: Germany session at this year’s European Film Market (EFM) in Berlin put the spotlight on a slew of upcoming series, spanning Hamburg’s Red Light district, Germany’s first female undercover cop and the Munich Olympic massacre.
Invited to the Berlinale studio, with some participants taking part online, several of Germany’s top creatives made the play date to talk with Julia Fidel, head of the Berlinale Series. Hanno Hackfort (“4 Blocks”), Jella Haase (“Lollipop Minster”), Lisa Kreimeyer (Netflix), Viviane Andereggen (“Tatort”), Christian Beetz (“Make Love”), Georg Tschurtschenthaler (“Viral Dreams”), and actor Detlev Buck (“Berlin, Berlin”) were amongst those that took part.
The idea of the panel was to present new material straight from the editing room with many of the series still six months away from being seen. The session provided a first look at a number of projects nearing completion, including the comedy “Greenlight – German Genius,” from W&B Television, Warner TV Comedy and CAB Film.
Inspired by a Twitter exchange between British comedian Ricky Gervais and Germany’s Kida Khodr Ramadan, the series features a Who’s Who of German celebs. It revolves around the idea of Ramadan buying the rights to Gervais’ TV show “Extras” to make a German version. Until it’s discovered the Germans have no sense of humor and there are no global stars living there.
Other projects featured included “Macadamia & Mothermilk,” from BBC Studios Germany and Studio Babelsberg; the action series “Kleo” (Zeitsprung Pictures, Netflix), which focuses on the Stasi-killer of the same name; the German-Israeli thriller “Munich Match” (Amusement Park Films, Sky, CBS Studios), which follows a friendly game staged fifty years after the Munich Olympics massacre; and the documentary series “Reeperbahn Special Unit 65,” from Gebrüder Beetz, NDR, WDR, SWR, rbb, agufnd SHE.
Each set of creatives was asked to present their show and talk about the making of.
“‘Greenlight German Genius’ started with a Tweet with Ricky Gervais, but the problem with ‘Extras’ here is that all of the most famous Germans – Einstein, Goethe, Marlene Dietrich, are all dead,” quipped Ramadan. “It is a bit of a Who’s Who of the German film scene. People not in it are a bit jealous. But that’s not the point. Something different happens in each episode. There was a theory that Beethoven was black. Leni Riefenstahl is featured. There is a really interesting perspective on historical figures.”
Was it hard to convince German talent to play a heightened version of themselves? “There were a lot of beautiful new hairstyles,” he added. “They were adding elements to their own roles or versions to themselves so it was funny.”
Meanwhile, the last part of the Munich project is filming in Prague. “It’s fifty years since the 1972 Munich Olympic massacre. Everyone gets ready. Then there is intel saying there is going to be a terrorist attack,” explained director Philipp Kadelbach. “It’s about anything that can happen to us but how we must continue with our life. With guilt and so on. It’s what’s the best approach to lead a good life.”
“Reeperbahn Special Unit 65” uncovers the story of special police unit, 65, that was bought in in the 1980s.
“We have drug lords, criminals. We have it all. We have to be a bit crazy to get into a project like this,” said producer Christian Beetz. “We see a very dark and violent Germany. We show the first female undercover agent in Germany. The real-life agents talked to us but they said ‘I will talk to you, but you cannot show me.’ Bit by bit, another coffee, another drink, they opened up. Pimps. Police. 2018 was a complete game changer through Netflix. There’s a big change in the audience for this German project because it is going to be seen all around the world on Netflix.”