by Leo Barraclough //
International distributor Global Screen, part of Will Smith’s Telepool, has sold crime thriller miniseries “Dark Woods” to U.S., Canada, Spain and France, following its stellar ratings success in Germany.
Inspired by a true crime, unsolved for almost 30 years, the six-part show centers on a high-ranking police officer’s desperate search for his sister, and the family’s suffering. Starring Matthias Brandt (“Babylon Berlin”) and Karoline Schuch (“Balloon”), “Dark Woods” was directed by Sven Bohse (“Ku’damm ’56,” “Ku’damm ’59”), written by International Emmy Award winner Stefan Kolditz (“Generation War”) and produced by ConradFilm’s Marc Conrad, and Bavaria Fiction’s Maren Knieling and Jan S. Kaiser.
Each episode was the most watched show in the primetime schedule on its respective day of broadcast in Germany, and reached up to 20.2% market share in December. The miniseries is also the most-watched show in the ARD-Mediathek in 2020, with more than 10.7 million streams.
Canal Plus Group, French leading pay TV group, acquired “Dark Woods” for its thriller channel Polar Plus. Audrey Brugère, head of international series of Canal Plus Group, said subscribers are “eager to discover a new generation of German crime series, and ‘Dark Woods’ ’ incredible true story will grip them.”
First Look Media’s streaming service, Topic, will release the series as part of its exclusive programming this May in the U.S. and Canada. Ryan Chanatry, Topic’s general manager, stated: “This true crime story became a cultural phenomenon in Germany and excels at keeping you on the edge of your seat as the plot unfolds. Given its subject matter, we’re confident this critically acclaimed series will be enthusiastically received in North America.”
In Spain, the series was sold to Cosmo TV for its pay-TV channel and SVOD service.
Dana Hoefinger, VP, international acquisitions and co-productions at Global Screen, said: ” ‘Dark Woods’ is an outstanding series whose extraordinary success in its home country is more than well deserved. Together with our partners at ConradFilm and Bavaria Fiction we are excited that it is now finding its way to an international audience so quickly, and are continuing further negotiations with multiple territories.”
Global Screen is the world sales unit of Telepool, which was acquired by Smith and Swiss investment company Elysian Fields in 2018, and became part of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Westbrook Inc. Global Screen’s slate includes the international drama series “Turbulent Skies” and “A Good Year,” as well as the crime series “Fast.”