Former NDF Chief Eric Welbers Launches Bravado Media (EXCLUSIVE)

Eric Welbers, who served as managing director of the production company NDF until the end of March, has set up the internationally focused content company Bravado Media, with headquarters in Munich.

Bravado has acquired all of NDF’s shares in Italy’s Viola Film (an 80% stake), headed by Alessandro Passadore, and Belgium-based Bravado Fiction (also an 80% stake), headed by Jan Theys, and Welbers is increasing his stake in NDF Intl. Production, which he will continue to run together with Matthias Walter.

The new company will make its first market appearance at next week’s trade fair for audiovisual content Mipcom in Cannes.

“Bravado Media will be a contemporary, modern content house: internationally positioned, open-formatted, story-driven, content-oriented,” Welbers said. “Whether it be high-quality TV movies or films for streamers, event series for private and public service partners and, of course, for streaming services. With its unique network of creativity and competence, Bravado will help producers and broadcasters to realize exciting stories.”

Bravado already has an extensive portfolio of new productions in place to accompany its launch: Welbers has collaborated with Frank Doelger of Intaglio Films to produce a high-end series adaptation of Frank Schätzing’s bestselling novel “The Swarm” with NDF Intl. Production for ZDF. Welbers is co-producing “The Man Who Died,” based on the Finnish author Antti Tuomainen’s best-selling novel, for the Finnish streaming platform Eliza Vide. And following the first season of the co-production “Sophie Cross” for Degeto/Das Erste, shooting began in September on the second season. Other projects that are in development include an international series based on Andreas Eschbach’s novel “Lord of All Things.”

Production has wrapped on the TV series “Stranded,” featuring the German actress Rike Schmid in one of the leads, as a co-production with Italy’s Eliseo, with Mediawan Rights handling international distribution.

The lineup also includes “On the Ropes,” Bravado’s first event series in Belgium, a crime drama about defense lawyers and the prosecutors investigating organized crime in the Belgian port city of Antwerp.

Viola has been behind productions for Italy’s RAI such as “Everybody Is Perfect,” known locally as “Avvocato Malinconico,” which is being broadcast in October. Viola also worked in Italy as a service producer for “The Swarm” as well as the Sky series “Funeral for a Dog.”

Welbers, who oversaw sales, co-productions and the development of production companies at Beta Film as well as such projects as “Downfall” and “Borgia,” has been responsible since 2015, as managing director at NDF, for such high-end series as “The Swarm” and major TV productions like “Alpencops” for RTL. In addition, while in this post he launched NDF and ZDF Studios’ joint venture Fiction Magnet.