Television Business International

ZDF gets to work on Reformation drama

Scripted-logo-460_2German pubcaster ZDF has commissioned a two-part miniseries about revolutionary priest Martin Luther to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.

Heaven and Hell – Martin Luther (WT) will run to two 120-minute episodes, with shooting in Prague already underway. FremantleMedia-owned UFA Fiction is attached to produce, with Uwe Janson directing.

Stefan Dähnert and Marianne Wendt wrote the screenplay, with Maximilian Brückner headlining the cast as Martin Luther.

German priest professor Martin Luther is considered to have changed European history by challenged accepted religious and societal wisdom, and by translating the Bible into the vernacular, which led to much wider distribution.

“The radical perspective on those early days of the Reformation that Heaven and Hell – Martin Luther gives enables us to portray human inconsistencies, depths and conflicts,” said UFA Fiction executive producers Benjamin Benedict and Joachim Kosack.

“This is a story of a group of people alive 500 years ago whose internal convictions led them to forge a new path – one that ultimately changed the world. And, as our film shows, this was a story of several people, not just Martin Luther.”

The Czech Republic’s State Cinematography Fund has financed the series, MIA Film and Michal Pokorný are coproducers, ZDF’s editor is Solveig Cornelisen, and FremantleMedia International has global distribution rights.

ZDF is planning a season of programming next year to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

Nico Hofman will become sole UFA CEO in 2017 when co-chief Wolf Bauer steps back from the Deutschland 83