Newen Group, the TF1-owned French production and distribution outfit, has acquired a 51% stake in the German production company Flare Film, whose slate includes the upcoming Sky Original show “Paradiso” and Ildikó Enyedi’s “Balaton Brigade.”
Launched in 2008 by Martin Heisler, the Berlin-based company has been focusing on director-driven documentaries and films that have been showcased on the international festival circuit. The banner’s recent film credits include Simón Mesa Soto’s “Amparo,” which world premiered in Cannes’ Critics Week; Dietrich Brüggemann’s “No,” which bowed at Karlovy Vary; and Bastian Günther’s “One of These Days,” which opened the Berlinale’s Panorama program. The company’s documentary slate includes Janna Ji Wonders’ “Walchensee Forever,” which won the Berlinale’s Compass Perspektive Award, and is nominated for two German Film Awards, along with “One of These Day,” which is nominated for best cinematography.
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The acquisition by Newen coincides with the company’s ambition to tap into the growing market for TV drama. The banner recently launched a dedicated division, Flare Entertainment, with a pair of premium projects in the pipeline, “Paradiso,” which is now in post; and “Balaton Brigade,” Enyedi’s Cold War spy drama that Newen Connect is repping.
A subsidiary of TF1 Group, France’s leading commercial network, Newen Group has ramped up its international footprint since 2017 with the acquisitions of Tuvalu and Pupkin in Netherlands, Nimbus in Denmark, De Mensen in Belgium, Reel One in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K., Ringside, Fictionhouse, Slate Entertainment, Further South Productions in the U.K. and iZen in Spain, among others. Newen group also has a catalog of 6,000 hours and more than 1,000 films.
“The acquisition of Flare Film marks a major strategic step for Newen’s European expansion because the Germany represents the most important market in Europe – it’s 50% bigger than France, with advertising, pay TV, broadcasters and SVOD revenues drawing an estimated 20 billion euros, on par with the size of the U.K. market,” said Newen’s managing director Romain Bessi, previously worked at Studiocanal, where he spearheaded the company’s international roll out through several key acquisitions.
“Germany is a very attractive market because it boasts strong local players and talent as we’ve seen with recent German hit drama series such as ‘Dark,’ ‘Das Boot’ and ‘Babylon Berlin,’ ” Bessi added.
The executive said Newen will “support Martin and allow him to carry on with his big ambitions and give him the resources to take Flare to the next level.”
“Newen will also use Flare as our main ship to attract other German talents as we’ve done recently in the U.K. where we now have several companies that complement each other,” Bessi said.
Heisler, the president and CEO of Flare Film, said the “market in Germany is changing fast and is being disrupted by new players as everywhere, and having a global partner as Newen will allow (the company) to ride this wave and achieve bigger things.”
“Being part of European studio is important business-wise but also creatively speaking because it gives us the opportunity to build synergies and collaborations with other productions and share IP’s within the group,” said Heisler, adding that his company will be producing more and more series for German and international audiences, while continuing to produce films and documentaries.
With Newen on board, Heisler said the idea is to increase the volume of projects developed, produced and co-produced, and hopefully deliver between two to three German or international shows per year. The executive said the company’s mandate has always been to deliver content that’s both entertaining and thought-provoking. Heisler will continue to run the group while also retaining a significant stake.
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