RTL Group | Potsdam, 12/06/2023

TV Series With – Not Just For – Persons With Disabilities

Subject: Society
Country: Germany
Category: Project

In this TV series, persons with disabilities will not only be the topic but also take part as actors: With this idea, among others, Eike Weinreich and Nikolas Kuhl won UFA’s “#PerspectiveMatters” competition launched in May. In addition to a monetary prize, the winners now have the option to realize their project.

Sunday, December 3, was International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which aims to sharpen awareness for their needs and promote commitment to their dignity and rights. In May, UFA launched an initiative for more presence of persons with disabilities in films, series and other entertainment formats with the goal to better represent the real diversity of society in TV and streaming. In this context, the “#PerspectiveMatters” competition  was called into life, seeking a fictional serial TV format with episodes of 15-45 minutes in length, documentary and docutainment formats included. Now, the winners have been announced: Eike Weinreich and Nikolas Kuhl were able to convince the jury with their idea for a series with the working title “Das unorganisierte Verbrechen” (The Unorganized Crime).

The call for submissions addressed filmmakers and authors who have a disability or close personal experience with persons with disabilities. The winners will receive €3,000 in prize money and the option for a joint development of the material with the goal to create a series.

Telling a story with persons with disabilities

“The UFA competition is an important signal from the right direction and could not have come at a better time as we have been working on the project for quite some time,” comment Eike Weinreich and Nikolas Kuhl in a statement. “Instead of telling a story ‘about’ persons with disabilities, we wanted to tell a story ‘with’ them and thereby seek a perspective that many other shows that have already dealt with the topic are missing. We are happy to now have UFA, one of Germany’s most renowned partners, by our side and consider it a great opportunity.”

The colleagues of UFA Diversity Circle, who took part in selecting the winning project, commented: “The selection was not easy. We were overwhelmed by the multitude of submissions, and it was impressive to see how much commitment and heart blood were put into the individual ideas. As program makers for millions of people, we have a responsibility towards our audience. For us, part of this is to not only present a segment of society but to look beyond and create more visibility for underrepresented groups like persons with disabilities. We believe that the idea for the series by Eike Weinreich and Nikolas Kuhl has excellently achieved this goal, and we look forward to developing the material with them.” The jury consisted of selected members of all UFA units in cooperation with author and activist Raul Krauthausen and “Rollenfang”, the platform for inclusion in film and television.

As part of a voluntary commitment, UFA is the first TV and film production company in the German-speaking market to document the development of the visibility of previously underrepresented groups such as women, people of color (PoC), LGBTIQ+ and people with disabilities in leading and supporting roles in series and films produced in-house as well as shows and documentaries since 2020. Since 2022, the “age” dimension has also been included in the analysis.