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X-Filme, ARD, Sky Deutschland and Beta Film develop joint TV series, Babylon Berlin

Pioneering Production: ‘Babylon Berlin’ with Tom Tykwer

A pioneering premiere in the German film and media landscape: X-Filme, ARD, Sky and Beta Film are collaborating for the first time on a series. ‘Babylon Berlin’ is based on the internationally acclaimed bestselling crime novels of Volker Kutscher, and features the exploits of Detective Inspector Gereon Rath in late 1920s Berlin as he moves in the most exciting city in the world, a cornucopia of drugs and politics, murder and art, emancipation and extremism.

Tom Tykwer, Hendrik Handloegten and Achim von Borries developed the concept of a major TV series adaptation for X Filme Creative Pool together with Stefan Arndt. The first series of a German-language, internationally financed TV series is now planned, with filming due to start in April of this year.

ARD Chairman Lutz Marmor on working with Sky:

“In order to realise such an ambitious, large-scale project, we wanted to trial a new method of cooperation with Sky. This could also be a model for the future. I am very much looking forward to the film adaptation of ‘Babylon Berlin.’

Gary Davey, Executive Vice President Programming, Sky:

‘‘‘Babylon Berlin’ is another great milestone for Sky Deutschland. As well as being our first investment in a major German production, it is equally significant that we are collaborating for the first time with ARD, a media company of international renown. The story is perfectly suited for our mission statement to deliver high quality productions to our viewers. It describes a very special place at a very special point in history. We are enthusiastic about the prospect of working with highly respected colleagues such as producer Stefan Arndt and director Tom Tykwer. Both will ensure that ‘Babylon Berlin’ perfectly complements our successful series from the US.”

Volker Herres, Programme Director, Erstes Deutsches Fernsehen, on the project:

Das Erste already has the most successful German series on its schedule. ‘Babylon Berlin’ represents a perfect opportunity to show that, when it comes to series, we can also play in the top league internationally. The material provides the perfect mix of authenticity and atmosphere and is both pacy and tense. With this project we are striving to provide the public with a unique viewing experience.”

Tom Tykwer:

“‘Babylon Berlin’ is a large-scale police thriller rich in detail and historical context that also uncannily reflects present day Germany and Europe. Genre cinema, epic breadth and political evidence gathering come together in this meticulously researched and thrilling story. It’s great that we have the opportunity to develop such a fascinating project in this innovative narrative form. I am looking forward to many spectacular series!”

Stefan Arndt, CEO X Filme and Producer:

“Ever since their publication the Gereon Rath novels have been seen as having great potential for a TV adaptation, and not just in the press. We are delighted to be able to begin a new era of German TV series production for the international market with our partners from ARD, Degeto and Sky.”

Jan Mojto, CEO Beta Film:

“This concentration of financial means represents a new way to realise large-scale projects in this country, which despite being shot in German, are good enough to compete with the very best in the world; as Beta Film’s world sales agent, that is 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 for the TV viewing public.”

Author Volker Kutscher on the film adaptation of his successful crime novels:

“I am more than happy to know that Gereon Rath and his world are in the hands of X Filme and Tom Tykwer, not just because I appreciate Tykwer’s work very much but also because I know that we are both thinking along the same lines with regard to the filming of the material. At the time ‘The Sopranos’ represented a kind of epiphany for me. The series established a new tradition in story telling and certainly influenced my writing, or at least my thinking processes; and if the world of Gereon Rath is to be adapted in precisely this tradition, in the tradition of series such as ‘The Wire’, ‘Mad Men’, ‘Breaking Bad’, ‘Six Feet Under’ and ‘Boardwalk Empire’, then it is precisely what I have always wished for this material. I have sensed the enthusiasm of all those involved in the project, and the ambition and zeal with which they have set about their work, and I am already very much looking forward to the result.”

The senior editors involved are Sascha Schwingel and Carolin Haasis (both ARD Degeto), Gebhard Henke (WRD) and Marcus Ammon (Sky Deutschland). As co-producer, Beta Film will be responsible for international distribution.

Volker Kutscher

Volker Kutscher