EXCLUSIVE: Fast-growing European production group Leonine Studios has bought into compatriot Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion, the company behind Netflix’s first German docuseries, we’ve learned.
Munich-based Leonine has bought 50% of Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion GmbH & Co. KG (Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne) and 100% of Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion Lüneburg GmbH, both of which are part of Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktiongruppe. An option to acquire the other 50% of Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion is included in the transaction, which closed today.
Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion is one of German-speaking Europe’s foremost documentary producers with credits for Netflix’s first German original docu-series, A Perfect Crime, the 2013 Academy Award-nominated Open Heart and The Cleaners, which debuted at Sundance International Film Festival in 2018 and won several awards.
It has made more 250 productions productions and is soon launching Reeperbahn — Special Unit 65, a ARD Mediathek show supported by the German Motion Picture Fund that was awarded best docu-series of the year 2022 at the Berlin Series Festival. At Mipcom, another new show, A Century of Sex Education, will be presented to buyers.
Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion — which has bases in Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne — is now part of the Leonine Production division that also includes Hyperbole, i&u TV, Madame Zheng Production, Odeon Fiction, SEO Entertainment, W&B Television and Wiedemann & Berg Film.
It will remain independent following the deal, with Christian and Reinhardt Beetz continuing to lead the company as Managing Directors. Leonine Studios CEO Fred Kogel, who oversees non-fiction production and acquisitions licensing, is joining the Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktionsgruppe management team.
Georg Tschurtschenthaler, Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion’s long-serving senior producer and showrunner, becomes the producer’s Chief Creative Officer. He’ll oversee the development slate new high-end documentaries and series.
“With Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktionsgruppe, we have strengthened our position in the documentary sector with the most high-profile production company in Germany,” said Kogel.
He added the acquisition “opens up a wide range of opportunities” in the German local and international doc markets. “We will invest in our own high-end IPs with international potential and in the development of original content. Christian and Reinhardt Beetz are pioneers and known for their groundbreaking, high-quality productions, which are also internationally successful and have won numerous prestigious awards.”
He called the Christian and Reinhardt Beetz are “two of the best creative minds together with their outstanding team” and added that their strategy “fits perfectly with Leonine’s premium content ambitions.”
Christian and Reinhardt Beetz said in a statement: “The international documentary film in the prime segment is facing great challenges. The quality requirements for the productions have multiplied and the market has become highly internationalized. Global audiences expect first-class, high-quality documentaries. In order to continue working from Germany for the global market, a strong partner is essential.
“As part of Leonine Studios, we have a multitude of exciting opportunities to realize national and, above all, international cooperations and co-productions. We are focusing on further expanding our slate of high-end documentaries with a global appeal in the film and series sector, and intensifying our long-standing partnerships with broadcasters, streamers and distributors.”