Berlin-based X Filme Creative Pool will adapt one of the most successful German-language podcasts, “Zeit Crime” (“Zeit Verbrechen”) into an anthology series for Paramount +.
Awarded the German Podcast Prize, “Zeit Crime” is based on the criminal investigations of Sabine Rückert and Andreas Sentker. According to producer Jorgo Narjes, it currently boasts 5 million streams per month and an average of 1.5 million listeners per episode, “most of them female and in their late twenties.” So far, the podcast consists of more than 100 episodes.
Filming started this month and will continue until the end of June 2023.
The show is helmed by four directors, making four separate 60-minute-long films, each one inspired by a specific story from the podcast. Faraz Shariat, also behind HBO/Sky show “The Baby,” Helene Hegemann (“Axolotl Overkill”), Jan Bonny (Netflix’s “King of Stonks”) and Mariko Minoguchi, who recently brought sci-fi “Element” to Locarno Pro’s Alliance 4 Development, are on board.
The episodes are written in collaboration with Raquel Dukpa, Paulina Lorenz, Esther Preussler and Jan Eichberg.
Narjes and Uwe Schott, X Filme Creative Pool’s CEO, teased: “Four crimes. Four films. Four creative teams. With our adaptation of ‘Zeit Crime,’ we are introducing novel perspectives to the crime genre.”
As each of the films will have a different style and narrative approach, they “ought to captivate newcomers and fans of the podcast alike,” they stated.
The company is also behind the popular neo-noir period series “Babylon Berlin,” created by Tom Tykwer, Achim von Borries and Hendrik Handloegten, and “The Sheikh,” inspired by true events.
“We are very happy about the trust that Paramount+, Zeit and the podcast team, especially Sabine Rückert, have placed in us.”
“We are delighted that X Filme has come to us with this extraordinary project, whose IP has a huge following,” added Paramount’s Susanne Schildknecht, observing that following Dani Levy’s “The Sheikh,” “Zeit Crime” will now mark the second collaboration between the company and X Filme Creative Pool.
“We are very pleased to be able to gather two such renowned brands under our umbrella and to present another unique locally produced format at Paramount+,” she noted.
“To convincingly adapt such a well-known and popular podcast into images is a special and exciting challenge, which is already absolutely convincing in the scripts.”
Sabine Rückert, deputy editor-in-chief of German newspaper “Die Zeit,” and the mastermind behind the podcast, also commented on the new initiative.
“I am sure they will succeed in wonderfully translating the elaborately researched crime stories of the Zeit editorial staff – which are, after all, the basis for this project – into feature films.”
“The podcast is different from most crime or true crime formats, as it doesn’t give in to the usual voyeurism, it doesn’t glorify criminals or revel in their crimes,” summarizes Narjes, mentioning its “deeply human and empathetic way” narration.
“I think one of the challenges is that each of these stories has already been told, in a quite perfect way. For our writers and directors, it was more about finding a new approach and a specific take on each of them. While the films will be works of fiction, there will definitely be a lot of things the listeners will recognize.”