One of the most consistent and enthusiastic distributors of foreign language content since its inception, the streaming service has only just now taken on its first German-language production, in the form of this series from creators Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese.
As Friese explained, sitting down with Odar and star Louis Hofmann at Deadline’s Toronto Studio, this collaboration with Netflix stemmed from an interaction three years ago, when execs saw the pair’s hacker feature Who Am I at the Toronto Film Festival and asked if they saw a future for a potential series version of the film.
As it turned out, they didn’t—disinclined to repeat themselves, Odar and Friese instead pitched Netflix several ideas, one of which became Dark.
“The story is about four families that are being sent on a frantic hunt after two children disappear. I am part of one family, of course,” Hofmann explains. “My character Jonas is very introverted and has recently lost his father that has, in a mysterious way, killed himself. Mikkel disappears, the little child. That’s where it all starts. Jonas is then trying to reveal a big family secret.”
Co-creator Odar—who directed all 10 episodes—spoke to the meaning of having Netflix take on the series, signaling a new global platform for German filmmaking. “I think Netflix is a game changer here right now because they basically create all this interesting global material that everyone wants to watch—Narcos, for example, which basically isn’t an American show, but it feels almost like an American show, and everyone watched it,” he explains. “It’s a game changer—the audience is really hungry for international stories, as well.”
Billed as a mystery series centering on the disappearance of children, Dark has drawn instant comparisons to Netflix’s Stranger Things, and while the series’ creators insist that their series is a very different animal, they can’t help but enjoy the comparison.
“It’s really exciting because if all those people who watched Stranger Things will at least think about watching Dark, I think that’s a great opportunity for us,” Friese says. “So keep comparing it.”
To view Deadline’s TIFF conversation with the Dark creators and star Louis Hofmann, click above.
Deadline Studio at TIFF 2017 is presented by Calii Love, Watford Group, Philosophy Canada, and Equinox. Special thanks to Dan Gunam at Calii Love for location and production assistance; and Ontario Camera for equipment assistance. Video producer: Meaghan Gable; lighting and camera: Neil Hansen; design: Dialla Kawar; sound recording: Ida Jokinen.