X Filme board Josef Bierbichler’s adaptation of his 2011 novel Mittelreich.

Berlin-based X Filme Creative Pool Entertainment has recruited Beta Cinema to handle international sales on veteran Bavarian actor-director Josef Bierbichler’s adaptation of his 2011 novel Mittelreich.

The chronicle of a rural Bavarian community facing the challenges of technological and social change during the last century began shooting in Thuringia a week ago with Bierbichler directing as well as playing the central role of the village innkeeper.

The cast includes Bierbichler’s son Simon Donatz who plays the innkeeper character as a young man and had appeared with his father in Tom Tykwer’s Winter Sleepers 20 years ago as father and son, as well as Martina Gedeck, known to international audiences from The Lives of Others and last year’s Original Bliss.

On the eve of this year’s Berlinale, X Filme and Beta Film announced a strategic partnership between the two companies as they unveiled the first footage of the 16-part high-end TV series, which has been produced in a unique alliance with the pay TV platform Sky and public broadcaster ARD Degeto.

Beta’s Jan Mojto revealed that the ambitious project, which was co-written and directed by Tom Tykwer, Achim von Borries and Henk Handloegten,  has already signed slew of deals with Nordic public broadcasters -  Sweden’s SVT, Norway’s NRK, Denmark’s DR, Finland’s YLE and Iceland’s RUV – as well  as the Sky platforms in the UK and Italy, Spain’s Moviestar +/Telefonica and the Belgian pay TV operator Telenet.

In addition, negotiations are near to closing for the USA, France, Latin America and other European territories, according to Mojto who also served as co-producer on the adaptation of Volker Kutscher detective novels set in the Berlin of the Roaring Twenties.

Meanwhile, ARD Degeto’s managing director Christine Strobl indicated that the partners of Babylon Berlin are already looking to extend the series beyond the two seasons which have already been produced and are set to premiere on Sky from October 2017, with ARD following a year later in late 2018 for free TV in Germany.

“We have all been so infected and hooked  by the project that I can absolutely see us talking with our partners about getting into development early on for the next season,” Strobl said.

Carsten Schmidt, CEO of Sky Deutschland, pointed out that Babylon Berlin represented the beginning of a “long-term change in the programming” to be offered by Sky in Germany in the future.