Meet the real Joachim Sauter from Netflix’s Billion Dollar Code

Darcy Rafter October 11, 2021

The Billion Dollar Code is a 2021 German TV mini-series based on the true story of how Joachim Sauter and his small software company TerraVision took on corporate giants Google in court.

The series stars Björn Freiberg, Seumas F Sargent and Leonard Scheicher and has viewers intrigued about the real people behind the story.

Meet the real Joachim Sauter and discover more about the man behind TerraVision.

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The Billion Dollar Code | Official Trailer | Netflix

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The Billion Dollar Code | Official Trailer | Netflix
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Meet the real Joachim Sauter

Sauter graduated from the academy of fine arts in Berlin and later studied at the German Academy For Film And Television in the city. Since the 1980s, he has had a major focus on new digital media.

His work with TerraVision saw him create the first virtual globe and experiment with digital technologies, discovering how they can relay content and narration in different forms.

With a deep interest in uniting art and the internet, Sauter founded ART+COM in 1988 alongside other techs, artists, designers, and even hackers.

In 1991 he became a professor of new media art and design at the University Of The Arts in Berlin. Since 2001 he also been an adjunct professor at UCLA, Los Angeles.

Sauter has showcased his work at many exhibitions including the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Stejdilik Museum in Amsterdam.

Awards for his work include the Golden Lion at Cannes, the D&AD Black Pencil, the Ars Electronica Interactive Award, and the British Academy For Film And Television Interactive Award.

How did Joachim Sauter die?

Joachim Sauter passed away after a serious illness on 10 July 2021. He is survived by his wife Johanna and son Arto.

The Billion Dollar Code is a legacy for Sauter as he played such a major role in the creation of the series.

The end credits reveal his importance: “A fictional adaptation of the events of that time (which) arose from the court transcripts as well as conversations with Joachim Sauter, Pavel Mayer, Axel Schmidt, Gerd Grüneis and Martin Sibernagl.”

As he passed away before the series aired he never had a chance to see the completed project. However, the series is dedicated to him.

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Joachim Sauter’s role in Netflix’s Billion Dollar Code?

The character based on Joachim Sauter is played by Mark Waschke. His character is called Carsten Schlüter.

Robert Thalheim, the film’s director, explained how the idea for the story arose. He was having a barbecue with his neighbour, who turned out to be Joachim Sauter.

As Sauter is the media artist who helped develop TerraVision in the early 1990s, he explained the back story. As Thalheim learned more about the case, he knew it would make a great screen adaptation.

Why not watch the series and make your own mind up about the case?

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Darcy is an experienced journalist passionate about celebrity culture and entertainment. After gaining a degree in Media and Communications at Goldsmiths University she has also become a social media specialist, always keeping informed on the latest trends. With almost five years of experience in media, her expertise is analysing platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. When she's not tracking the latest trending content, she’s watching films and eating lots of chocolate.