Netflix and Dark Ways, the newly set-up production company helmed by Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar, announced the start of production for their new Netflix original mystery series 1899.
The creators behind the award-winning German series Dark have assembled an international cast, including Emily Beecham, Aneurin Barnard, Andreas Pietschmann, Miguel Bernardeau, Maciej Musial, Lucas Lynggaard Tønnesen, Rosalie Craig, Clara Rosager, Maria Erwolter, Yann Gael, Mathilde Ollivier, José Pimentão, Isabella Wei, Gabby Wong, Jonas Bloquet, Fflyn Edwards, Alexandre Willaume and Anton Lasser, among others.
1899 will consist of eight episodes and follows the mysterious circumstances around the voyage of an immigrant ship from Europe to New York. The passengers, all of different backgrounds and nationalities, are united by their hopes and dreams for a new century and their future abroad.
When they discover a second ship adrift on the open sea that had gone missing for months, their journey takes an unexpected turn. What they find on board will turn their passage to the promised land into a nightmare-like riddle, connecting each of the passenger’s pasts through a web of secrets.
Set out to be a truly multi-language series, the characters will speak in the language of their origin.
“1899 is a truly European series with characters from various countries speaking in the language of their origin,” said writer, producer and showrunner Jantje Friese. “We feel very fortunate to have found amazing talent from all over the world to venture into this exciting journey with us.”
Filming will take place in a newly-custom built virtual production stage. The largest LED “Volume” of its kind in Europe, it unlocks the ability to capture a significant amount of complex visual effects shots in-camera through virtual sets and locations created with game engine technology.
Owned by Dark Bay, a dedicated company set up by Dark Ways and Studio Babelsberg with Netflix backing, the cutting edge virtual production stage will be permanently situated at the long-standing Babelsberg Studios, outside Berlin and provides content creators with new and innovative ways of creative storytelling.
Director, producer and showrunner Baran bo Odar talked about the Dark Bay virtual production stage: “Partnering with Netflix enabled us to bring our vision behind 1899 to life.
“Thanks to their upfront support and commitment we were able to build the Volume, making 1899 a pioneer title for Germany and the region. The infrastructure is a cutting-edge innovation for the German production landscape and could also bring enormous creative benefits for filmmakers and creatives worldwide.”
Rachel Eggebeen, Director EMEA Netflix Originals, added: “We are extremely happy that we could support Jantje and Bo in finding a perfect solution for their creative vision for 1899. The virtual production stage infrastructure will create new opportunities, and we’re fully committed to bringing these technological advances to the German entertainment industry.”
Odar and Friese once again join forces with exceptional talent behind the camera known from the Dark universe such as director of photography Nikolaus Summerer, set designer Udo Kramer, hair & make up designer Christina Wagner, and composer Ben Frost.
They are also working with new collaborators such as casting director Lucy Bevan, Oscar-nominated costume designer Bina Daigeler and Framestore’s integrated visualization, virtual production and VFX teams supervised by Christian Kaestner.
1899 is produced by Dark Ways in cooperation with Netflix. Dark Ways receives funding support for 1899 from the German Motion Picture Fund and Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg. The investment for the Dark Bay virtual production studio received support from the Investment Bank of Brandenburg (ILB).