ZDF Enterprises, Werner Film & Wild Sheep Align for YA Drama


ZDF Enterprises, Werner Film Productions and Erik Barmack’s Wild Sheep Content have entered into a development agreement for a young adult drama series.

The partners will jointly develop a series based on the book On the Jellicoe Road by Australian author Melina Marchetta, who is best known as the author of teen novels Looking for Alibrandi and Saving Francesca. On the Jellicoe Road centers on 17-year-old Taylor Markham, leader of the boarding school underground community.

The series, created by Melina Marchetta, will start development as early as this month, and writers Samantha Strauss (Dance Academy, H2O: Just Add Water, The End), Sarah Walker (Wentworth, Wonderland) and Angela Betzien (Total Control, Secret City) have committed to the project.

Joanna Werner, executive producer at Werner Film Productions, said: “On the Jellicoe Road is one of my favorite books of all time and I am so thrilled to be developing this with Melina, Erik, Fred and all at ZDF Enterprises. It is an enthralling, sophisticated, complex and gripping teen story which I can’t wait to see on the screen.”

Barmack, CEO and Founder of Wild Sheep Content, added: ”Young adult series have become truly global, and we are thrilled to be working on bringing this seminal Australian work to a global audience with Werner Film Productions and ZDF Enterprises.”

Fred Burcksen, president and CEO of ZDF Enterprises, said: “We are very proud of our long-standing and successful partnerships with both Joanna Werner and Erik Barmack and are really excited to be partnering with them on this outstanding new project. My team is very much looking forward to work with these experienced partners on the development of this amazing story.”

Additionally, ZDF Enterprises unveiled a number of agreements with partners in Russia, Ukraine and the Baltic States. TV3 Russia licensed the first season of The Crimson Rivers for its free-TV service. IVI Russia also acquired the series for its SVOD and AVOD platforms, alongside Wild District, London Kills, Victor Lessard and Beyond Appearances. The Ukrainian free-TV channels Inter and NTN added the original Scandinavian crime series Bron/Broen, the three-parter Bella Germania, The Criminalist, Betty’s Call and Ottilie von Faber-Castell. ZDF Enterprises and the free-TV channels All Media Baltics Latvia and Lithuania inked a three-year agreement for romantic TV movies, along with the acquisition of the murder mystery series Queens of Mystery. Latvia’s public free-TV channel LTV Latvia went for Bella Germania, Queens of Mystery and Ottilie von Faber-Castell, while LNK Lithuania took on a package that includes the Nordic noir drama series Before we Die, suspenseful Belgian thriller Tabula Rasa, Kristina Ohlsson’s Sthlm Requiem and The Crimson Rivers.

Robert Franke, VP of ZDFE.drama with ZDF Enterprises, said: “We are very proud of our strong and growing partnerships with so many valued customers in Russia, Ukraine and the Baltic States. My team is looking forward to even further expand our business in these territories in the future.”