Showcase: ZDF Studios


A Canneseries competition selection, The Zweiflers leads off a slate packed with highlights for ZDF Studios at MIPTV. The six-part series, which will be screened for audiences on April 7 at 3 p.m. in the Grand Auditorium Louis Lumière, is about a dysfunctional extended Jewish family. Family patriarch Symcha Zweifler, a Holocaust survivor, wants to sell his delicatessen empire when suddenly he is confronted with his past in Frankfurt’s red-light district just after World War II—a test for the whole family as long-suppressed conflicts resurface. Things get worse when Symcha’s grandson Samuel and his girlfriend Saba are expecting a son. A tragicomic search for the meaning of life begins, culminating in decisions that will change the lives of everyone involved. Available in German, English, Russian and Yiddish, it features an all-star cast, including Aaron Altaras (Unorthodox, Deutsches Haus), Saffron Coomber (Three Little Birds, Small Axe), Sunnyi Melles (Kaiser Karl, Triangle of Sadness), Mark Ivanir (Heart of Stone, Schindler’s List) and Eleanor Reissa (The Walking Dead, The Plot Against America).

“Rarely does one come across a family drama with such distinctive characters, beautifully portrayed by a great international cast,” says Dr. Markus Schäfer, president and CEO of ZDF Studios. “With its nuanced emotional family and cultural conflicts, The Zweiflers is a tragicomedy that many people will relate to, regardless of their religion or background.”

The drama slate also features We’re on It, Comrades!, a MIPDrama Screenings selection. It centers on the Institute of Paranormal Phenomena, where skeptic David and naive scientist Vojta solve mysteries ranging from an alien abduction of an upstanding citizen of Czechoslovakia to the spontaneous self-ignition of a saint in a church and an attack by the creepy goat monster Kozlopír.

The documentary Time: A Journey Through Thousands of Years will be showcased at MIPDoc as part of the invitation-only MIPDoc Co-Production Summit, taking place on the Palais Stage on April 6 at 11:15 a.m. Marking the first-ever co-production partnership between ZDF Studios and China Media Group’s (CMG) Film, Drama and Documentary Programming Center, the ambitious two-part documentary spotlights the universal topic of time. “We are delighted to partner with CMG and ARTE on this major production, a fascinating study on something familiar to us all that is so valuable but elusive that mankind can neither capture nor reproduce it,” Schäfer says. “This documentary is about how we can live happier lives, not just as individuals but perhaps as a species.”

On Saturday, April 6, at 3 p.m. in Auditorium K of the Palais des Festivals, ZDF Studios will host a special showcase for its brand-new format Skydive Quiz. The format takes the tried-and-tested game-show genre to new heights as contestants must answer relatively easy questions—while falling from the sky. The family-friendly show features six contestants per episode, all of whom are first-time jumpers. Each episode closes with a TV star entering the game. Contestants can bet part of their winnings on how many questions the VIP will answer correctly. Will they dare to risk their hard-won cash for the chance to double—or lose—their winnings? Skydive Quiz was created by Portuguese magician Mário Daniel, who will perform a few tricks for the audience during the showcase.

Delivering something for the younger set, Clan—Choose your Destiny sits in the sweet spot of teen and tween live-action that ZDF Studios has become so well-known for. Based on a novel inspired by a true story, the coming-of-age series is about a group of friends striving each day to change a destiny that seems already set in stone. It delivers the positive message that our future depends on us. Schäfer calls it “a story of love, friendship, hope, sports and redemption.”

In addition to the traditional acquisition topics, sales and co-productions for the MIPTV planner, ZDF Studios invites “anyone with good ideas to talk to us or our production companies about investments and distribution,” Schäfer says. “Let’s get in touch!”