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ZDFE, ndF start drama joint venture

Germany’s ZDF Enterprises (ZDFE) and independent producer neue deutsche Filmgesellschaft (ndF) have established a joint venture to develop scripted projects for domestic and international audiences.

Eric Welbers

FictionMagnet Produktions will be the first JV between the two firms, with ZDFE holding a 49% stake in the business and ndF the remaining majority share. The latter’s co-CEOs, Eric Welbers and Matthias Walther, will head up the new Unterföhring-based company.

FictionMagnet will develop and produce projects for ZDFE’s broadcast parent ZDF, while the distribution arm will help take these out to the international market.

The two partners have worked together for more than three decades in fiction on series including Mountain Medic (Der Bergdoktor), The Old Fox (Der Alte) and Alpine Rescue (Die Bergretter), as well as numerous one-off productions.

The first project from FictionMagnet is already in the works in the shape of In Their 50s (Um die 50), a TV movie based on 1990s series Um die 30 from Dominik Raacke and Ralf Huettner.

“Pooling the programme-making expertise, international experience and corporate commitment of our two companies creates the ideal conditions for making successful German productions for the domestic and international markets,” said ZDFE president and CEO Fred Burcksen.

“With this joint venture, we have a great opportunity to meet the programme challenges of the future together,” added Welbers and Walther in a joint statement, noting that ndF would continue to work as an independent prodco alongside FictionMagnet.

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