MIPCOM Spotlight: ZDF Studios


The ZDF Studios highlight Concordia takes place in a town built on surveillance and data collection for the greater good of society.

By its 20th anniversary, it is thriving, but then the first murder occurs, and someone hacks the town’s impenetrable AI, compromising the very foundation of the project.

“At MIPCOM 2023, the ubiquitous topic of artificial intelligence will be relevant for us,” says Dr. Markus Schäfer, president and CEO of ZDF Studios.

The children’s series Tobie Lolness, based on the book by Timothée de Fombelle, follows the titular character as his family is exiled for refusing to share knowledge that could permanently damage their world. Schäfer describes it as “a coming-of-age story of adventure, heroism, friendship and survival, with a powerful environmental message.”

Leading the ZDF Studios unscripted slate, Namibia’s Natural Wonders goes into the heart of the African country to explore its arid savannas, flowing rivers and rugged Atlantic coastlines. Mega Building Collection provides insights into groundbreaking technology and engineering achievements, including the Pont de Normandie, one of the largest cable-stayed bridges in Europe.

Ancient Apocalypse tells the stories of lost civilizations. Every continent “has places where crumbling stones tell the stories of fallen civilizations, whether they are buried under the Earth, hidden in the shade of the jungle or in the chaos of a lost city,” says Ralf Rückauer, VP Unscripted. “They all raise the same questions: How could something so gigantic simply vanish, and why do civilizations collapse?”

In drama, the ZDF Studios highlight The Swarm centers on a group of international scientists as they rush to discover what is causing the world’s oceans to exhibit strange happenings, including ice worms triggering tsunamis, deadly bacteria poisoning drinking water and whales aggressively attacking boats. Produced by Schwarm TV Production, Bravado Fiction, Beside Production and ATHOS, it is “a testament to the power of co-production and the incredible outcomes diverse partnerships can achieve in the worldwide arena,” says Robert Franke, VP Drama at ZDF Studios.

Also on offer, four new episodes of the Stories to Stay Awake reboot continue to modernize Chicho Ibáñez Serrador’s horror series. Season two of Before We Die sees the return of detective Hannah Laing and Dubravka, a figurehead of the Mimica crime family.