Six independent production companies from Germany, Austria and Switzerland are pooling their resources to set up a joint development and co-production group to help bankroll high-end drama series and feature films.
Germany’s Claussen + Putz, producers of Netflix series Biohackers and hit children’s film The Little Witch; Hamburg-based Wüste Film (Head-On, Alma & Oskar); Austria’s Die Film AG (7500 with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Vicky Krieps-starrer Corsage), and Lotus Film (Cold Feet, Cathedrals of Culture); and Hugofilm Features (When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit) and Zodiac Pictures (Heidi, The Divine Order) together have formed Das Dach to jointly develop German-language projects.
The move, unveiled Wednesday, is a reaction to a dramatic shift in the independent production market, brought about by the disruption of the global streaming giants.
“The market is undergoing a fundamental change,” the producers say in a statement. “Previous territorial boundaries and restrictions are being called into question in the face of supranational and global exploitation groups. Big players dominate the market and rapidly growing development and production budgets are making it increasingly difficult for medium-sized, independent companies to compete.”
But the Das Dach indies also see opportunity in this new disruptive age, as streaming giants are increasingly focusing on international language markets, in part due to regulatory requirements to invest in local production.
“With more than 100 million inhabitants, the German-speaking market is one of the largest exploitation areas worldwide,” the group says. “National and international media providers also want to serve this market with German-language content. By bundling creative potential, production expertise and economic strength, Das Dach can offer a particularly attractive, cross-border, entertaining and culturally identity-creating offer for streamers, TV broadcasters and cinema distributors operating in the German-speaking area.”
Das Dach will set up a joint, revolving development fund that will allow its members to bankroll early development of high-end projects. “High-end series projects, in particular, require project development funds in the six-digit Euro range at a very early stage and finding financing partners for this is often the greatest challenge,” the group said. “By sharing the risk of these big budget projects, Das Dach can provide a key advantage at an early stage, gaining momentum and boosting the quality (of productions).”
Das Dach isn’t the first collaboration between indie producers in response to the current digital disruption. The Creatives, an association of 10 film and TV indies, including France’s Haut et Court (The Returned), Germany’s Komplizen Film (Spencer) and British group Good Chaos (Triangle of Sadness), was launched two years ago, with backing from global production giant Fremantle, to co-develop high-end drama series for the international market.