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VARIETY: ZDFneo Joins Beta Film, Neuesuper on Sci-Fi Series ‘Children of Mars’

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Apr 05 2019

German public broadcaster ZDFneo has boarded Neuesuper and Beta Film's upcoming high-end science fiction series "Children of Mars."

A low-fi near-future series, "Children of Mars" kicks off with an eccentric billionaire who organizes and funds a one-way trip to the red planet for a crew of 12 highly trained astronauts and himself, with the objective of starting a colony. The crew's colorful pasts will inspire drama on the journey and frame larger questions about humanity's place in the solar system.

2016 Variety Piazza Grande Award nominee Christian Schwochow ("The Crown," "NSU German History X") is set to direct the six-part series which is already in development. Production is spearheaded by Neuesuper producer Simon Amberger along with Korbinian Dufter and Rafarl Parente. Beta Film lead in setting up financing and will handle international sales for the series.

"'Children of Mars' is not just a sci-fi series, but a universal story about human nature, set where humans may live one day," said Amberger via press release. "With its longstanding tradition in high-end drama ZDFneo is the perfect partner to embark on this truly global journey with us."

ZDFneo does seem a natural fit for a series like "Children of Mars," as the broadcaster's dedicated network to content for younger audiences between 18 and 45. It also marks the continuation of a push into high-end drama which has the legs to succeed in both domestic and international markets. Science fiction stands out as a genre that is not only popular among young audiences, but often benefits from the use of multiple languages.

Frank Zervos, ZDF SVP films and series said: "After the success of 'Bad Banks,' we are looking forward to starting the next project with director Christian Schwochow. After a contemporary theme we're moving towards the future. Together with him, the production company Neuesuper and further top creative talent we continue our joint mission to deliver high-end fictional TV made in Germany."

Beta's managing director Moritz von Kruedener added: "Our aim is to support development and financing of high-budget projects like 'Children of Mars' out of Germany and Europe for international exploitation. Partners like ZDF, Christian Schwochow and Neuesuper are key in making an ambitious project like this successful."