Munich, 8 October 2014. A path-breaking premiere in the German film and media landscape: X-Filme, ARD, Sky Germany and Beta Film are joining forces as co-producers of the high-end series Babylon Berlin, based on the internationally bestselling police thrillers by Volker Kutscher. German star director Tom Tykwer (“Perfume – The Story of a Murderer”, “Run Lola Run”) signed in as showrunner.
Kutscher’s Babylon Berlin, centering on police inspector Gereon Rath investigating in 1920s Berlin, delivers an atmospheric portrayal of the most exciting city in the world, a hotbed of drugs and politics, murder and art, emancipation and extremism.
Tom Tykwer, Hendrik Handloegten and Achim von Borries have, in association with Stefan Arndt, developed a concept for a major TV series for the global market as an adaptation of Kutscher's books for X Filme Creative Pool. Currently planned is the first season of the German language, internationally financed TV series. Shooting is scheduled for mid-2015.
ARD Chairman Lutz Marmor on the joint venture with Sky: "In order to realize this costly and intricate project, we wanted to try out a new form of cooperation with Sky, which could also be a viable model for the future. I'm tremendously looking forward to the film adaptation of Babylon Berlin."
Gary Davey, Executive Vice President of Programming at Sky: “Babylon Berlin is another great milestone for Sky Deutschland. It is not only our first in-vestment in a major German production, but also the close cooperation with ARD, a media company with a great reputation all over Europe, is just as im-portant for us. The story is perfectly suited for our mission statement to offer our customers high-quality productions. It describes a very special place at a very special point in history. We are enthused about working with well re-nowned colleagues such as Stefan Arndt as a producer and Tom Tykwer as a director. Both will make sure that Babylon Berlin will be the perfect addition to our successful US series.”
Volker Herres, Program Director of ARD, on the project: “Das Erste has the most successful series in Germany in its program. With Babylon Berlin we seize the opportunity to show that we can also be major players in series on the international market as well. The story offers a perfect mix of precise and atmospheric milieu characterization and lots of tempo and excitement. With this project, we are striving to create a film event of a very special nature for our public."
Tom Tykwer: “Babylon Berlin is a large-scale police thriller rich in details and with multifaceted characters embedded in a historical context that reflects present-day Germany and Europe in a surprising way. Genre cinema, epic breadth and political evidence-gathering come together in a unique manner in this meticulously detailed and thrilling story. It’s great that we have the chance to develop such a fascinating project in this innovative narrative form. I’m looking forward to many spectacular seasons!”
Stefan Arndt, CEO X Filme and producer: “Ever since they were published, the Gereon Rath novels were treated not only in the press as a topic that could make a great adaptation for a TV series. We are more than delighted to be able to begin, with our partners from ARD, Degeto and Sky, a new epoch of TV series production from Germany for the international market.”
Jan Mojto, CEO Beta Film: “This concentration of financial means is a new way in Germany to realize high-intensity projects in a quality that is – although being shot in German - unlimitedly competitive around the world; for Beta Film as world sales agent certainly quite a challenge. However, 1920s Berlin is a setting that fascinates people around the world, and Tom Tykwer is the right person to capture this fascination in TV-images."
The author Volker Kutscher on the filming of his successful crime stories: “I am more than happy to see Gereon Rath and his world in the hands of X Filme and Tom Tykwer. Not only because I greatly admire Tykwer’s work, but also because I know that we both tick pretty much the same way when it comes to the TV adaptation of the Rath material. For me, ‘The Sopranos’ was a moment of awakening back then. The new way of telling stories which this TV series proposed and with which it established a new tradition, most certainly influenced my writing, or at least my fictional thinking. And if the world of Gereon Rath is to be adapted in precisely this tradition, that of series such as ‘The Wire,’ ‘Mad Men,’ ‘Breaking Bad,’ ‘Six Feet Under,’ ‘Boardwalk Empire,’ – then this is just what I have always dreamed of for this topic. I sensed how all participants were enthusiastic about this project, how committedly they went at it, and what fire and passion they've brought to their task. I am looking forward to the results with great expectations."
The story editors responsible for Babylon Berlin are Sascha Schwingel and Carolin Haasis (both ARD Degeto), Gebhard Henke (WDR) and Marcus Ammon (Sky Deutschland). As co-producer, Beta Film will be handling world sales.
For further information:
Beta Film Press, Dorothee Stoewahse
Photos of Tykwer, Handloegten and Borries available under: