Leonine Studios Boards European Thriller Series ‘The Seed’ From Writer Christian Jeltsch For Germany’s ARD Degeto & Norway’s NRK

EXCLUSIVE: Leonine Studios has taken worldwide rights to German-Norwegian thriller series The Seed (working title), which is set around the explosive takeover of a seed company and comes from Chameleon writer Christian Jeltsch.

The Germany-based producer-distributor joins its subsidiary Odeon Fiction, alongside co-commissioners German broadcaster ARD Degeto and Norway’s NRK and Czech producer MIA Film on the production, which began shooting on May 10 at spectacular original locations in Spitsbergen (Norway), Munich (Germany) and Prague (Czech Republic). The service producer in Spitsbergen is PolarX AS.

Jeltsch, who is writing upcoming Sky Deutschland corporate lobbying mystery drama Chameleon and works on ARD procedural Tatort, is creator and head writer of the English-language series. He wrote the screenplays with Axel Hellstenius and Alexander Dierbach (Line of Separation) is directing.

Westworld‘s Ingrid Bolsø Berdal Heino Ferch (Berlin Station, The Baader Meinhof Complex) stars opposite Heino Ferch (Berlin Station, The Baader Meinhof Complex).

The drama uses the Svalbard Global Seed Vault on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen as the backdrop to the six-part thriller. The vault acts as an insurance policy and backup facility for crops globally by providing storage for seed duplicates storied in gene banks around the world.

The Seed follows German detective Max (Ferch) and Norwegian policewoman Thea (Bolsø Berdal), who set out to find Max’s missing nephew Victor (Jonathan Berlin) in Spitsbergen. It soon becomes apparent his disappearance may be connected to the takeover of a seed company that is causing controversy in Brussels. As they plunge deeper into webs of intrigue and political interests they find their own lives in danger too. 

Rainer Bock (Better Call Saul, Wonder Woman), Seumas Sargent (Spy City, The Conductor), Erik Madsen (Vikings, The Last Kingdom) and Friederike Becht (Labyrinth of Lies, Hannah Arendt) round out the international cast. 

With The Seed, we would like to draw attention to an important global issue because it is about the struggle for food,” ARD Degeto Senior Vice President of Drama Christoph Pellander told Deadline. “With a top cast in front of and behind the camera, this is an exciting German-Norwegian co-production that will not only reach the German audience but also attract international attention.

Pellander is overseeing the drama for ARD Degeto along with Head of Acquisitions and Co-Productions Sebastian Lückel, with Elisabeth Tangen doing the same for NRK. The producers are Odeon Fiction’s Britta Meyermann (Spy City) and Mischa Hofmann (Kitz, Spy City) and the Director of Photography is Ian Blumers (Stralsund, Wolfsland). FilmFernsehFonds Bayern, Creative Europe MEDIA of the European Union, the German Motion Picture Fund and the Czech Tax Incentive are supporting the production.

Babylon Berlin commissioner ARD Degeto and NRK have been two of the most active co-producers of European drama this year. Last month, Deadline revealed NRK had ordered a drama about Leonard Cohen’s relationship with muse Marianne Ihlen from the UK’s Buccaneer Media, Oslo-based Redpoint Productions and Canada’s Connect3 Media, for example.

ARD Degeto is working on several new dramas, including mystery thriller series Oderbruch, which is co-produced by Syrreal Entertainment and CBS Studios. Others such as Scandinavian series Blackwater, co-produced with Sweden’s SVT, ITV Studios-owned Apple Tree Productions and Filmpool Nord) are in post-production. 

The firm is a wholly owned subsidiary of German public broadcaster ARD, commissioning and producing more than 100 productions of feature films, TV movies and series each year. It also acquires programmes, with all of its content going out on the Das Erste (ARDI) channel and streaming platform Mediathek. 

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