Netflix in Nordics & Germany hampered in diverse series wishes by talent shortage

Katja Hofem

Netflix chiefs in the Nordics and Germany are looking for more diverse subjects such as migrant stories for its drama series, but a lack of talent continues to hamper progress.

The global streamer used much of its stage time at Series Mania in Lille to show clips of upcoming shows such as Swedish gang heist drama Barracuda Queens, Danish series The Nurse, and The Chancellor Diaries (working title), a comedy about Germany’s first Black Chancellor, Plötzlich Kanzlerin.

Katja Hofem, VP of content for DACH (Germany, Austria & Switzerland), then told the packed Grand Theatre auditorium that she had a particular “passion project” in mind but admitted that representation across the production industry makes such projects difficult.

“We see challenges around the scarcity of writers, producers and directors in Germany when it comes to diversity,” she explained. “We want to tell all the stories in the market and one of my biggest passion projects is to tell the migrant story about the Turkish community that came [into Germany] during the 1970s.”

Jenny Stjernstromer Bjork

Hofem said Netflix had started its Academy program to increase the diversity of talent in the country, adding that a Turkish-German writers room workshop is being created to provide experience to less represented groups.

“It gives back to them and us as well, because there are some great ideas and we will benefit from that too. Hopefully we will have ideas for new series that provide a new perspective that hasn’t yet been seen in Germany,” she added, with the streamer last year unveiling almost 20 local language projects.

Jenny Stjernstromer Bjork, VP of content in the Nordics, said Netflix faced a similar challenge in her region, pointing to the lack of representation of Sámi voices.

The streamer struck a pact with the International Sámi Film Institute to provide more opportunities but Bjork said that shows such as Stolen, which explores Sámi culture, remain challenging.

“Telling a story like that [means we need] talent with experiences to make it real and resonate. It is such a challenge and although we are working on initiatives to populate a show like that with talent, it is still a challenge.”

Joining the DACH and Nordic chiefs for Netflix was Damien Couvreur, VP of series for France, who added that the streamer is currently looking to collaborate on shows for a “broad audience”.

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