ZDF Studios secures global distribution rights for Turbokultur’s major new drama The Zweiflers 

Mainz, February 16th, 2024

ZDF Studios are pleased to announce that they are the global distributors for a brand new drama, The Zweiflers (6 x 45’), about a dysfunctional extended Jewish family.

Featuring an all-star international cast, the six-parter is produced by Berlin-based Turbokultur in co-production with ARD Degeto Film and Hessischer Rundfunk for ARD and was supported by Hessen Film, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, FFF Bayern and GMPF (German Motion Picture Fund). It will be available in German, English, Russian and Yiddish languages. In Germany, the series will premiere on the ARD Mediathek in the spring and will also be shown on "Das Erste" in the near future.

Showrunner and creator of The Zweiflers is David Hadda who wrote the screenplay along with Juri Sternburg and Sarah Hadda. Turbokultur’s Co-CEO Martin Danish also acted as producer of the series. The Zweiflers is directed by Anja Marquardt (The Girlfriend Experience S3, She’s Lost Control) and Clara Zoë My-Linh von Arnim Feelings, Echt and Druck), Phillip Kaminiak was responsible for the camera work. Turbokultur are award-winning producers (Deutscher Fernsehpreis, Grimme-Preis) who focus on telling stories of previously underrepresented individuals and cultures.

Family patriarch and Holocaust survivor Symcha Zweifler wants to sell his delicatessen empire when suddenly he is being confronted with his past in Frankfurt's red light district just after World War II - an acid test for the whole family as long-suppressed conflicts resurface. Who, if not Symchas’s grandson Samuel should carry on his grandfather's life's work? But Samuel’s british carribean girlfriend Saba has other plans. Things get worse when Samuel and Saba are expecting a son. Samuel's sister Dana, who has found her anchor in religion and has traveled all the way from Israel to celebrate the circumcision of the newborn in Frankfurt, is confronted with old conflicts and repressed secrets in her hometown. She does everything in her power, to take over her grandfather's business. The youngest sibling Leon is clearly the loser of the return of his two older siblings. When he invites the family to his first exhibition, in which he shows his provocative family portraits, a scandal ensues. Mimi, the mother of the three, always walks a fine line between caring and manipulation. How far will she go to bring her children closer to her again? Her husband Jackie, a psychiatrist, is in the middle of a belated midlife crisis, including an affair with his patient. He is tired of always being the family punching bag. The grandparents, Symcha and Lilka Zweifler, are the undisputed rulers of the family. But their strength and lifespan are slowly beginning to fade. A tragic-comic search for meaning of life begins, culminating in decisions that will change the lives of everyone involved.

The Zweiflers stars Aaron Altaras as Samuel, whose credits include the Emmy-award winning Netflix series Unorthodox and the Disney drama Deutsches Haus amongst others. British actress Saffron Coomber (Three Little Birds, Steve McQueen’s anthology series Small Axe) plays Saba while the Swiss-Hungarian actress Sunnyi Melles (Kaiser Karl, Triangle of Sadness) takes on the role of Mimi Zweifler, Samuel’s mother. Israel’s most famous Hollywood actor, Mark Ivanir (Heart of Stone, Schindler’s List) plays Jack Horovitz and Broadway and TV actress, Eleanor Reissa (The Walking Dead, The Plot Against America) performs the role of the grandmother. The series also stars the award-winning singer and actress Ute Lemper (Chicago, Paris Days, Berlin Nights, Cabaret) as Tammi and Mike Burstyn (Kuli Leml, Judah), winner of two “israeli Oscars” and the first Israeli to perform on Broadway, as Symcha Zweifler. 

David Hadda, CEO of Turbokultur and showrunner of The Zweiflers: ”Our aim was simply to tell the story of a Jewish family living in Germany without having to explain ourselves. The more specific our characters, the more universal our story becomes. We have achieved this by creating our show as thoughtfully and authentically as possible at all levels of production.

Sebastian Krekeler, Director Drama, ZDF Studios: “It’s only once in a while that you come across a family drama with such distinctive characters, wonderfully portrayed by a great international cast. Nuanced with emotional family and cultural conflicts, The Zweiflers is a tragicomedy that many people will relate to regardless of their religion and background.”


About ZDF Studios
ZDF Studios is a commercial subsidiary of ZDF, one of the largest TV broadcasters in Europe. Founded in 1993 and headquartered in Mainz, Germany, the ZDF Studios Group operates more than 30 direct and indirect subsidiaries and affiliates in Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom spanning TV production, distribution and services. The parent company, ZDF Studios, is responsible for global programme distribution, realisation of international co-productions, acquisition of licences and merchandising of successful programme brands under its own name, for ZDF and third parties. ZDF Studios has the largest German-language programme inventory in the world and a constantly growing range of international productions, consisting of series and mini-series, television films, documentaries and children's programmes.

The companies of the ZDF Studios Group cover the entire value chain from the development of scripted and unscripted TV content to production, marketing and monetizing, including TV and streaming licences as well as merchandising and online rights. The positioning of ZDF Studios as an integrated media company enables the development of innovative, outstanding and high-quality programmes and makes the Group an attractive workplace for German and international talent to flourish in a very inspiring and creative environment.

Contact ZDF Studios
Christine Denilauler (VP Marketing and Corporate Communications), ZDF Studios GmbH, Erich-Dombrowski-Str. 1, D-55127 Mainz/Germany, Tel.: +49 6131-9911130, E-mail: christine.denilauler@zdf-studios.com, www.zdf-studios.com