Death in the Baltic sea

Death in the Baltic sea

Death in the Baltic sea

A series by Rikke Detlefsen und Jesper Clemmensen, 4 x 25 min, MDR 2021

Part 1 – The Village
Part 2 – The File
Part 3 – Go West
Part 4 : East meets West

What makes a person try to flee across a hostile sea in a most unsuitable vessel, risking – and actually sacrificing – his own life and the lives of those he loves the most? The answer very much depends on the perspective of the person trying to find some kind of meaning in such an horrific incident. Why did they flee? What went wrong? And Who is to blame? These questions look quite different from the two sides of the Iron Curtain – even today.

 

The escape route from the GDR to the West across the Baltic Sea has been widely overlooked, even though the escapes were no less dramatic and the ressources and methods used by the regime to prevent them were substantial. More people died here, than in escapes across the wall and the border in Berlin. 

One story was the most tragic and incomprehensible of them all: The deaths of two young couples and a small child on September 10, 1979 outside a campground at Nonnevitz on the Holiday Island of Rügen. This was the single “Republikflucht”-incident throughout the history of the GDR that demanded the most victims but very strangely never has been documented.

The background, facts and consequences of the fatal escape attempt of Ulf (30), Renate (29), Lutz (24), Manuela (19) and tiny Ines (2) have been a painful mystery to their next of kin for decades. Trying to solve it brings several unexpected turns of events that touch upon the fundamental grievances of the Cold War years in the divided Germany. And it turns out to be a tale of longing, love, hate and misconceptions between three families, and between the GDR and the BRD. 

The Shah and the Ayatollah

The Shah and the Ayatollah

The Shah and the Ayatollah

A film by Holger Preusse, WDR/SWR/ARTE, 52 & 43 min.

Forty years ago, a revolution in Iran led by Ayatollah Khomeini overthrew the ruler Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and with this a monarchy that had lasted over 2,500 years. The story of the Shah begins with bright ideas and strong ideals, and ends in bloody turmoil. From the beginning of his reign and in his aspirations to modernise Iran, the Shah depended on the support of the clergy and the mullahs. Finally, it is they who bring him down. The struggle between the Shah and Ayatollah Khomeini lasts many decades. In the end, Islamic fundamentalism triumphs, heralding a new challenge for global politics.

Commissioning editors:
Beate Schlanstein (WDR)
Ulrike Becker (SWR)
Peter Gottschalk (ARTE)

Sound of Freedom

Sound of Freedom

Sound of Freedom

A film by Ulrike Neubecker, Bernard Wedig and Chrysanthi Goula 2 x 52 min., arte 2019
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The two-part documentary “Sound of Freedom” goes back to the roots of the music of hope and rebellion, and to the sounds that have inspired unconventional thinkers and the oppressed. From “La Marseillaise” to “Bella Ciao” to “We Shall Overcome”, “I Will Survive” and “Wind of Change”. Spanning Jimi Hendrix to Serge Gainsbourg, all the way to Pussy Riot. With the international super-hits of freedom, the films take us from the 18th century to the present day – from Billy Holiday to Nina Simone, Beyoncé and numerous others.

Some songs have changed the course of history, others are iconic tunes that are today inseparably entwined with a historical event. Music touches people and offers consolation and inspiration like no other medium. Since at least the French Revolution, social upheavals and political songs have been closely connected. Music is a tool for mobilisation, it is the embodiment of hope and the utopia of a better life. It provides solidarity to the oppressed, rouses resistance movements and emboldens revolutionaries.

Wo ist die Mauer? / Where is the Wall?

Wo ist die Mauer? / Where is the Wall?

Wo ist die Mauer? / Where is the Wall?

Format: HD, 16:9. Length: 87 min. Ein Film von Stefan Pannen und Elke Sasse.
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Autumn 2009 will mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. While still a powerful presence in the minds of older generations, it is simply past history for young people and visitors to Berlin today. And it is tough to find any traces left on the cityscape.

The “Where is the Wall?” documentary focuses on Japanese photographer Takahisa Matsuura’s search for any and all that remains of the Berlin Wall. He studied in Berlin during the 1980s and took over 2,000 photos of the wall. Now he is engaged in a struggle to reconstruct where it once stood. Driven by the simple desire to see any bits of the Berlin Wall that still exist, he begins at Brandenburg Gate and tours what used to be a strip of no-man’s land between the two Germanys.

BACKGROUND
in co-production with:
ZDF, MDR, RBB,
WDR, United Docs

in co-operation with:
ARTE, ETB, Télé Québe,
TV3, Odisea, YLE

funded by
Bundesstiftung zur
Aufarbeitung der SED-Diktatur,
MEDIA +

Format: HD, 16:9
Length: 87 min.
Ein Film von Stefan Pannen und Elke Sasse

Griff nach der Weltherrschaft / Conquest of the seven seas

Griff nach der Weltherrschaft / Conquest of the seven seas

Griff nach der Weltherrschaft / Conquest oft he seven seas

A production of fernsehbüro and filmtank Commissioned by ZDF / ARTE. Length: 2 x 43 min. / 16 : 9 / HDTV Autoren: Holger Preuße, Hannes Schuler
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Mutiny, murder, piracy and the quest for world domination. This two part special, brought to life with its graphic novel style effects, tells the adventure of the first two globe navigations in history. With re-enactments in its unique dramatic animated style, similar to the effects seen in the blockbuster feature `300`, Conquest of the Globe promises high octane entertainment that will bring the fabled Age of Exploration to life.