Studio Hamburg Enterprises has signed its first-ever co-production deal with Germany’s Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion to produce high-end documentary series “Reeperbahn Special Unit 65.” The show is the first non-fiction series to receive an invitation to present at the Berlinale Series Market showcase Up Next: Germany, which runs from Feb. 14-16.
Now in production, “Reeperbahn Special Unit 65” is a cop series that tells the story of FD65, Germany’s first-ever police unit dedicated to fighting organized crime. The series offers a “compelling and surprising look at the unexpectedly dark and depraved 1980s Germany – a time when liberalism ends, punk becomes en vogue, and the conservative era of Thatcher, Reagan and Kohl begins,” according to a press statement.
In the style of a U.S. cop series, the production takes place in the notorious St. Pauli Reeperbahn red-light district of Hamburg as the AIDS pandemic overturns the lives of pimps and prostitutes, and cocaine becomes the latest money machine.
Across five 43-minute episodes it delves into a world of brutal thugs, toxic love and murder. The audience follows as organized crime grows into a hydra with many far-reaching tentacles, from the so-called “Godfather of St. Pauli” and his ties to the U.S. East Coast mob, rival pimp gangs engaged in a war against each other, to the Hell’s Angels, South American drug lords, and Germany’s most notorious hitman.
Told from the perspectives of former police officers and those they were on the hunt for, “Reeperbahn Special Unit 65” is the narrative of “the battle between good and evil and the opaque grey areas in between.”
The team at Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion, producers of the Netflix series “Rohwedder: A Perfect Crime,” also developed the series. It was commissioned by German TV channels NDR, SWR, WDR and RBB for the ARD network. It will premiere on ARD’s digital platform this year.
The series also constitutes the first documentary project to be supported by the German Motion Picture Fund. The project is further supported by Moving Images North (MOIN) and Nordmedia, two key public film funds in Northern Germany. Studio Hamburg Enterprises GmbH acts as co-producer and exclusive sales agent (German and international rights, except North America).
Christian Beetz, producer and head of Gebrueder Beetz, commented: “After having produced the Netflix Original ‘A Perfect Crime,’ we decided to realize our next high-end documentary series together with the German public TV network ARD in Hamburg. The network’s increasingly popular online platform is perfectly suited for us to also reach younger audiences.”
Tania Reichert-Facilides, head of Studio Hamburg Enterprises Ltd., said: “Our aim is to be a strong partner for producers. We are thrilled to join this superb project by Gebrueder Beetz as co-producer. We are particularly excited that this collaboration puts an innovative spin on our existing cooperation with the NDR channel, part of the ARD network.”