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Beta begins brewing Empire Oktoberfest

Germany’s Beta Film has started production on its high-end drama from Hannu Salonen (Shades of Guilt) about two warring Munich families, which is being produced for local pubcaster Das Erste.

Hannu Salonen

Empire Oktoberfest (working title) is set in 1900 and explores the fierce battle between two family breweries and the world-famous public beer festival. Zeitsprung Pictures and Violet Pictures are producing the six-hour series, which stars Mišel Maticevic (Babylon Berlin), Martina Gedeck (Lives of Others), Klaus Steinbacher (Das Boot) and Mercedes Mueller (Passenger 23).

The show is being coproduced with regional broadcasters BR, ARD Degeto, WDR and MDR for Das Erste. Filming is taking place in Germany and the Czech Republic, with production set to be wrapped in August. Beta is handling global sales and will present the first images from Empire Oktoberfest at Mipcom in Cannes this fall.

Finnish director Salonen’s previous credits include German-Finnish crime series Arctic Circle plus Crossing Lines, The Criminalist and Tatort.

“The power-obsessed milieu of Munich’s breweries in 1900 is a fascinating setting for a series,” said producers Michael Souvignier, Till Derenbach and Alexis von Wittgenstein in a joint statement.

“The contrast between roughness, gloom and the ease of the world-famous Schwabing bohemia with eccentric artists such as Wassily Kandinsky and Thomas Mann is a great, exciting stage for a family epic of Shakespearian scale.”

The story revolves around a young girl who falls in love with a poor brewer’s son. Their feelings are against her mobster father’s wishes, leaving the young brewer fighting desperately to protect his own family.


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