Netflix Greenlights First German-Language Films

David Kross and Frederick Lau - Split-Getty-H 2019
Tristar Media/Getty Images; Tristar Media/Getty Images

The streaming giant, which produces such German-language series as 'Dark' and 'Dogs of Berlin,' has ordered a trio of original German features including 'Betongold' starring David Kross and Frederick Lau.

After dipping its toe into German TV with supernatural mystery series Dark and the crime drama Dogs of Berlin, Netflix is diving into film production "auf deutsch," meaning "in German," giving the green light to a trio of German-language features.

The streaming giant is set to begin production this spring on the young adult rom-com Isi & Ossi, the supernatural social drama Freaks, and Betongold, described as a satire set against the backdrop of Berlin's real-life real estate bubble. All three will premiere on Netflix worldwide in 2020.

Tom Tykwer's X Filme will produce Isi & Ossi with Oliver Kienle, a writer on award-winning German TV series Bad Banks, directing from his own script. Veteran comedy director Cüneyt Kaya will direct Betongold, which stars David Kross, Frederick Lau und Janina Uhse, for producer UFA Fiction. Felix Binder, whose credits include the hit YA series Red Bracelets — and the 2017 spinoff film of the same name — will direct Freaks from a script by Marc O. Seng, a writer on Netflix's Dark. Luthje Schneider Horl Film will produce, in co-production with German broadcaster ZDF.

“We're happy that we've found three very different projects with which to entertain our audience, which we will increasingly do with exclusive German films,” said Kai Finke, Netflix's director of content acquisitions and co-productions for German-speaking territories.

Netflix's commitment to foreign-language cinema has been thrown into focus this year with the award-season success of Alfonso Cuaron's Mexican drama Roma, which is a frontrunner for the Oscars.

At the Berlin International Film Festival, which runs through Feb. 17, Netflix will be screening its first-ever film in competition, Isabel Coixet's black-and-white Spanish feature Elisa and Marcela.