Pushcarts and the Art of Living
Jamaica is famous as the home of reggae, rasta, laid-back Caribbean feeling – and pushcarts. These unique and mostly home-made hand carts are the typical mode of transport seen at the island’s lively and colourful markets. And their capabilities as fruit and veg stall, mobile kitchen or miniature shoe shop are as varied as the life stories of their charismatic owners….
Winter casts a very special, magical spell. It’s a time for traditions and customs: snowmen come to life, Santas wander through brightly-lit Christmas markets, much to the delight of the children.
But indigenous animal life pays no heed to this human idyll. For them, winter is a time of austerity. Squirrels, boars and lynx all have their own strategy for surviving the winter. But despite an amazing ability to adapt, the fight for survival is hard – and can often only be won with the help of human beings.
The film takes us on a journey through wintry Germany - underscored by a childlike enthusiasm for the cold season. Snow-covered fairy-tale landscapes, unusual wildlife stories and touching tales about animals create a special heart-warming winter atmosphere that not even adults can escape: Contemplative, amusing and fascinating all at the same time, the film lyrically illustrates the charm of an enchanting Christmas Winter Wonderland.
Terra Mater Factual Studios (2012), 43 Min.
The Atacama desert is currently the site of a massive construction project – ALMA. The ALMA However, the cosmic millimetre waves measured by the observatory are absorbed as they enter the earth’s atmosphere – which is why ALMA is located on the high Atacama plateau. The altitude and extremely low humidity of this driest of all deserts on the planet allow these cosmic rays to penetrate to the observatory’s measurement equipment.
Documentary (5 x 52 min), ZDF/ Arte, 2010-2012
This five-part series explores the world’s most fascinating landscapes with hot-air balloons. Emotional human encounters, exotic cultural experiences and thrilling adventures in the wild are the ingredients for a dynamic, exciting and entertaining series about the extraordinary life of ballooning enthusiasts and their quest for the “Great Picture”.
Our balloon trip to Sri Lanka is a journey through an exceptionally beautiful country in the Indian Ocean. Rich cultures, ancient temples, exotic landscapes, old steam locomotives and tea plantations are part of the adventure. Landing however is difficult in a country, which seems to consist only of jungle, lakes and rice-paddies.
In Mongolia we follow international crews from France, Germany, Great Britain and Switzerland through the Mongolian steppe, the temple complex of Karakorum and the Gobi Desert. Boundless vastness, pathless solitude and infinite freedom shape the life of the steppe people. The ground logistics alone are pure adventure and off-road vehicles are a must outside the Mongolian Capital Ulan Bator.
The giant mountain scenery and the majestic panorama of the Alps is an outstanding and challenging experience for every hot-air balloonist. This episode also focuses on the theoretical aspects of ballooning: how high, how far and how precise can a balloon fly? What do you need to know about weather, wind and geography? A spectacular highlight is the Night Glow in Chateau d’Oex, when the fiery balloons illuminate the darkness of the valley.
The Kenyan Rift-Valley with its enormous herds of animals is one of the most breathtaking savannas of the world. Kenya is also the home of Alan Root, one of the world’s most renowned wildlife filmmakers. Over forty years ago he was taught how to fly a balloon by our pilot Phil Dunnington. Now they meet again and fly through the skies above the Maasai Mara as they used to in the old days.
Venezuela with its spectacular landscapes is the grand finale of our journey. The spectacular Table Mountains (Tepuis) in the south of the country build the backdrop for the adventurous flights in La Gran Sabana. In this episode the renowned Director Werner Herzog joins us in search of inspiration for new unusual visuals. For a long time he has been an admirer of the austere beauty of the Tepuis - now he not only ventures to experience the eerie ambience on their top, but also takes the risk of ballooning in the vicinity of the “Lost World” mountains.
ZDF/Arte (2011), 43 min.
“Madagascar – You Beauty” – is how they sing about the magic island in the Indian Ocean. And not without reason, because this remote island is home to unique flora and fauna, unlike anything else you will find in the world.
Film by Steffen Sailer (2011), 52 min.
Spanning more than 7500 kilometres north to south, the Andes is the longest mountain range in the world. Peaks thrusting up to 7 000 metres are more than just an imposing sight, they also have a tremendous impact on the South American climate.
Monkey Alert in South Africa
ZDF/ Arte (2011), 50 min.
They steal handbags, open cars and have no respect for humans. The last baboons of the Table Mountain region have become a real plague.
ZDF/Arte (2010), 43 min.
Sunlit forests, marshy floodplains and colourful sandstone formations. The Vosges is a multifaceted low mountain region bursting with life in the summer months. Chamois, deer and hedgehogs abound in the forests and hills, the valley marshes are alive with songbirds, insects and frogs; stork nests adorn the roofs of the picturesque villages and towns, and cows contentedly munch the lush grass of high meadow pastures.
We experience the Vosges from spring through autumn, in all kinds of weather – as a habitat into which man’s traditions have been introduced harmoniously and the wilderness still finds space of its own. The Vosges – a nature paradise of rugged beauty.
Wilderness with a View
ZDF/Arte (2010), 43 min.
Breathtaking scenery, centuries-old traditions and a wealth of fauna – Germany’s highest low mountain range has much more to offer than just traditional bobbled hats and cuckoo clocks. The Black Forest is a nature idyll in the heart of Europe.
In a series of highly atmospheric images, the film portrays the richness of nature in the Black Forest. It illustrates how roe deer, stags, birds and other wildlife flourish in the lushness of early autumn, how they survive the harsh, snowy winter, and their joy at the awakening of spring.
Secret Predator without Borders
NDR Naturfilm (2010), 43 min.
The European wild cat is ostensibly familiar to us, as we assume to have an exact copy on our couches at home. But no wild cat has ever been tamed. Its life is a secret well kept - hidden away in the forests of the European continent.
But even though they are hard to find, wild cats were wiped out almost entirely over the last centuries. Hunters accused them of preying on the precious chicks of future Christmas turkeys and hunters don’t like competition. Even worse, as agricultural cultivation progressed, the wild cat lost most of it its natural habitat: Large deciduous and mixed forests on which the reclusive predator relies on for its wide-stretching forays.
Today the wild cat has become a symbol of conservation throughout Europe and fortunately great efforts are undertaken for its shelter. Slowly and secretly the wild cat is reclaiming its legitimate place in our European forests.
Easing the Human-elephant Conflict
ZDF/ARTE (2010), 50 min.
Finalist at the Wildlife Vaasa International Film Festival 2010, Finland
Protection measures and 20years of prohibition of the ivory trade are making an impact: Almost all countries in Africa are reporting a rise in elephant numbers. In the past two decades, the population of these grey giants doubled to over 30.000, alone in the Safari-Paradise of Kenya. At the same time the population of humans is growing. Man and elephant require space. Conflicts between both are unavoidable and the survival of the biggest land mammal is again endangered.
Kenya’s Mobile Camel Library
ZDF/ARTE (2010), 50 min.
2nd prize for the „Best Story“ at the Natur Vision Film Festival 2010 in Neuschönau, Germany
A library on four legs – the world's only existing Camel Library is located in Northern Kenya. As they pass antelopes and giraffes, the heavily loaded caravan of camels are routinely carrying books through the rough savannah.
Shedding Light in the Darkness
ZDF/ARTE (2008), 52 min.
This thrilling documentary shows the fascinating explorations of international scientists to the unknown depths of our oceans. How do the deep seas influence our climate? What kind of creatures can survive here? Will we be able to harvest the vast treasures on the seabed? In a world of dwindling resources and a changing environment, we must learn more about the element that makes this planet a blue one.
MDR/Arte (2007), 43 min.
MDR/Arte (2007), 43 min.
Woolly, white - the embodiment of peace and tranquillity. Since ancient times it feeds us, it dresses us and it sacrifices itself for us – the sheep. In every herd you’ll find innocent lambs next to the proverbial black sheep. The world’s oldest live stock, it is deeply intertwined with our culture and mythology.
Loved, hated, adored and bedevilled – hardly any other animal combines as many contradictions. And yet the cat is the most popular domestic animal in Europe. Even though it is said to be stubborn, double-faced and a cruel predator – for most of us it is a useful roommate or simply a purring pet.
Mystical- Magical- Memorable
WWF, KFW, Angap (2006), 45 min.
Madagascar is a country of marvels. Fantastic landscapes, bizarre flora and fauna, and people infused with a deep cultural and spiritual love for nature, which is shaped by animal legends, myths, taboos and ancestor worship. Add to that the characteristically good temper of the inhabitants and it is little wonder that more and more ecotourists and independent travelers are being drawn to that fascinating island.
ZDF/Arte, Context TV (2006), 43 min.
The islands of Bikini rose from the sea many million years ago, and in the course of time survived countless natural catastrophes. But what does it look like today, 50 years after the destruction wrought by nuclear testing?
Partial list of series adapted for the German market:
All the World's Happiness...
MDR/Arte (2006), 43 min.
The horse – starring in countless myths, sagas and legends. Magic horse, lucky charm or harbinger of death. But above all it is a true, reliable friend, consort of great conquerors and noble knights – few other animals are equally close to man.
Gift of Heaven
MDR/Arte (2006), 43 min.
Weightless, sharp-eyed and heroic. For thousands of years, myths have grown around the largest European bird of prey, the eagle. The Germanic peoples named their children after the bird: Arnd und Arnulf ( Aar ). After Christianization, eagles have been taken as symbols for rejuvenation and resurrection. The Greeks already idolized them as heavenly messengers; the Romans bore them on their standards, as a symbol of power. American Indians adorned themselves with the feathers of the almighty bird. To this day, many great nations, including the USA, Mexico, Poland, Austria and Germany, bear the eagle in their coats of arms.
Teddy's Bigger Brothers
MDR/Arte (2006), 43 min.
Teddy bears are among the favorite presents: Most of us, probably everyone, have once been given such a cuddly fellow. Adults love to give it to children – possibly because it reminds them of their own childhood. It was teddy who always listened knowingly, and who never told on us. But how did the bear's image of cuddliness arise?
It may be difficult to name another wild animal as popular as the bear – and dreaded as much. Admired for its strength, beloved for its seeming clumsiness and hunted because of its unpredictable attacks. But who really is the brown bear?
Germanic peoples considered it the king of animals. Because of its courage, it was a personification of war spirit. First names like Bernd and Bernhard, but also Ursula, from the Latin term "ursus", are derived from it. People are hungry and strong as a bear. Many coats of arms display the animal. In the wild, it had long been wiped out.
DocLab, National Geographic Channel (2006), 52 min.
World champion hang-glider Angelo D´Arrigo is preparing for the zenith of his extreme sports career. He trains rigorously and is in top physical condition. He practices a special breathing technique that will allow him to ascend to extreme altitudes, where a pilot would normally only survive for a few minutes without pressurized oxygen. He tests his endurance in a hypobaric chamber that re-creates the dangerous conditions that await him. And he designs an experimental new set of wings that will support his flight in rarified air. In December, Angelo and a team of technicians, doctors and meteorologists travel to South America, to the slopes of Andes. There they wait and watch for the right meteorological window that will create strong, rising currents of air. Then, in what seems like a moment of inspired madness, Angelo and his glider will ride these thermals up among the mountain peaks, where under normal circumstances lack of oxygen quickly brings on unconsciousness and death, and where a sudden gust of wind or a storm can turn an adventure into a tragedy. The crowning achievement of his flight will free-flying without supplementary oxygen or a motor over Mount Aconcagua, the tallest mountain in the Americas (23,000 feet), and setting a new world first. DocLab is recording this unprecedented event, from its very inception until the moment when Angelo makes his final aerial ascent.
SWR, DocLab (2005), 3x 5 min.
Three short films about a man and his passion: Angelo d´Arrigo (†) pilot, scientist and world-record breaker in hang-gliding facing his last successful challange to learn to fly like a condor.
Part 1: Angelo and his passion for flying
Hunting for the White Gold
ZDF/Arte (2005), 52 min.
Squids – arcane creatures from the depths of the sea. They are related to shells and snails, yet their brains and eyes are as highly developed as those of mammals. They are most commonly known as octopus, cuttlefish, calamari, and we find them as fancy food on our menus.
NDR-Naturfilm, NHK, BBC (2004), 87 min.
Wings of the Night
ZDF (2004), 52 min.
Wiruungga is a reporter from a small radio station at the Australian eastcoast. He is also an Aboriginal Australian and his totem is the Flying Fox. So he is out to research not only for his radio program but even more so for himself.
100 Years of Natural History Perception
ZDF/Arte, ARD regional programmes (2004), 52 min.
For over a century now, filmmakers have been heading into the wilderness in the hopes of captivating audiences around the world with spectacular footage of animals. Perhaps no other medium has changed our view of nature so profoundly as has the nature film. The opposite is true as well. Nature films are also historical documents. And they tell us a lot about the relationship between man and animal.
VOX (2004), 4x 28 min.
Four portraits of European landscapes and their natural inhabitants.
1) The Cold North
WDR (2004) 12x 5 min.
Twelve 5 minute portraits of animals for WDR /Tier hoch Vier.
Arte (2001), 28 min.
Felled trees, dammed streams and flooded fields. Beavers have conquered Bavaria. Once extinct, then reintroduced, today over 5000 of Europe's largest rodent are alive and kicking on the Danube and its tributaries. With increasing frequency they find their way into sewage plants, gravel pits and rapeseed fields. The damage they cause affects foresters and farmers, who make loud calls to see the furry builders culled. A beaver manager tours the area now to arbitrate between the rodents and the farmers. He counters prejudices with sound arguments, places trees in safety behind gratings, and if necessary even catches the beavers. These are then taken several times a year to Romania, where they are set free.
The Deadly Grasp
NDR Naturfilm (2000), 43 min.
Murder in the plant kingdom. A rather unusual event? Not at all. Everyone knows the culprit, the plant that does precisely this thousands of times a year. Because that popular indoor plant, the Weeping fig, is also one of the strangler figs. But fear not, nobody could keep still long enough to get strangled by it - it takes decades before the deed is finally done.
ARD/NDR (1999), 43 min.
The Taï National Park in the Ivory Coast is home to a wide range of fascinating species of monkey. Not without reason is the area regarded worldwide as one of the most important areas for rain forest research.
ZDF (1999), 28 min.
One of Germany's last colonies of common hamsters has survived in the fields flanking the autobahn between Heidelberg and Mannheim. Since 1984 they have been on the red list of animals threatened with extinction.
ARD/NDR (1998), 43 min.
One of the most mysterious animals to inhabit the jungle is the pygmy hippopotamus - up to 300 kg in weight, just 2 meters long, and 80 cm tall, and a true loner. Since its discovery in 1844, generations of researchers have attempted to study it in the wild - but in vain. Although it proved possible to catch a few specimens for zoos, no one ever got to see them before they were already inside the trap. They eluded the gaze of the researchers like phantoms under the protection of the enchanted forest.
ARD/NDR International (1997), 52 min.
A Koala has plenty of time to dream. He spends the greater part of the day high up in the air in a eucalyptus tree, fast asleep. But sometimes he moves about with enormous agility, climbs around like an acrobat, fights with astonishing ferocity, and goes in for pretty boisterous mating rites. And when he announces his claims to his territory, his booming voice echoes through the forest like thunder.
IVORY COAST/ GTZ (1995)
6 Documentaries on nature protection and sustainable use of the rain forests.
PERU (1993), 45 min.
The Manu National Park is one of the last retreats of the giant otter. It is two meters in length and used to be found all over the Amazonas region. The two zoologists Elke Staib and Christof Schenck spent three years studying the giant otters. This film, produced in 1992 under most difficult conditions, features the life of giant otters and the work of the two biologists.
SWF (1991), 4x 45 min.
Trans Africa, from Marocco cross-continent to CapeTown 1989-1991.
Klaus , Annette and Steffen had a dream: crossing the African continent from north to south, from Gibraltar to the Cape of Good Hope. Traveling with two off-road vehicles equipped for filming they went for it. One year old son Peter came along for the trip. The journey was successful and so is the documentary. An animated portray of the life on the road (or off-road respectively), landscapes, wildlife and encounters with indigenous people throughout the whole of the Dark Continent.
1.) Through the Desert