BioNTech – Project Lightspeed

BioNTech – Project Lightspeed

BioNTech - Project Lightspeed

A film by Michael Schindhelm, 52 min, ZDF/ARTE 2021

Available in the online ARTE media library until 18.04.2025

 

With the BioNTech vaccine, medical scientists Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türeci achieved a breakthrough after years of research.

The mRNA technique, which has been an important component for cancer research for many years, is now making history as a vaccine against Covid-19. But where does cancer research go from here? Can the mRNA technique also help to fight malaria? The film shows the incredible achievement of a start-up company from Mainz for global health.

 

Planet of the Sheep

Planet of the Sheep

Planet of the Sheep

A film by Marvin Entholt, 2 x 45min, NDR/ARTE 2021

Sheep are probably the most underestimated animal in the world. Without them, mankind would not be where it is today. Food, clothing – the unpretentious ram has been providing man with all this for eleven thousand years. The animals have made societies grow, they prepared people for culture and to this day they guarantee life and prosperity in many parts of the world. ‘Planet of the Sheep’ goes on a search for traces and clues among shepherds and breeders all over the world.

In Europe, the traditional shepherding profession is on the verge of extinction. In the Lüneburg Heath, only a few shepherds are still on the road with their herds of Heidschnucken to preserve the cultural landscape. Though some old shepherding cultures are still alive, in Sardinia as well as in northern Macedonia living the tradition of transhumance of many thousands of animals. In Scotland, a young, female generation is breaking new ground to save the ancient culture of sheep farming into the 21st century. And in Spain, too, new forms of sheep farming are becoming established: shepherd schools are training a new generation of shepherds.

China is going its own way: here, sheep are kept intensively by the hundreds of thousands to satisfy the population’s hunger. But on a smaller scale, quality of life and often human survival are directly linked to the existence of the sheep – as in Ethiopia, where farmers can finance their children’s schooling thanks to just a few animals. The undemanding sheep is a master of adaptation to almost any environmental condition – and thus probably also a helper in climate change.

Part 1:   Out into the World

Part 2:   Out into the furture

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Roots – The Marvel under the Earth

Roots – The Marvel under the Earth

Roots – The Marvel under the Earth

A film by Stefanie Fleischmann and Christina Gantner| 43 min, 2021

Roots account for more than half of a plant’s mass, yet they are mostly invisible. Their special powers help to overcome problems of climate change and environmental protection.

It is precisely the invisible part of plants that has the potential to help with the challenges facing humanity: securing food for a growing world population, stopping climate change, and extracting resources such as rare earths in an environmentally friendly way.

To do this, however, plants must be able to withstand periods of drought and heat and survive floods. Roots are crucial to this. And they actively search for nutrients in the soil and ward off dangers such as pathogens and toxins.

Scientists at Forschungszentrum Jülich are studying root growth using high-tech methods. The goal: to breed stress-resistant seeds for plants with robust roots. In Sweden, Prof. Linda Maria Mårtensson is conducting research on a perennial wheat variety that will ensure higher yields while protecting the soil. And on the coasts, roots are saviors in times of need. Coastal ecologist Prof. Tjeerd Bouma has discovered that if special grasses are planted in front of the dikes, a salt marsh can be created that acts as a natural breakwater. Geochemist Dr. Oliver Wiche from the Technical University of Freiberg, on the other hand, is researching what is known as phytomining. He wants to know which plants are best suited for mining metals such as germanium or rare earths from the soil. Could this give rise to a new, environmentally friendly branch of industry?

Nicotine – A Drug with a Future

Nicotine – A Drug with a Future

Nicotine - A Drug with a Future

A film by Bärbel Merseburger-Sill, 90 min., ZDF/Arte 2020

The number of smokers in Europe is declining, yet the tobacco industry is still making considerable profits. Electronic innovations such as e-cigarettes and tobacco heaters play a significant role in this. Both are said to be far less harmful than conventional cigarettes. But is the aromatic steam really not a danger to our health?

Officially, the tobacco industry is committed to a ‘smoke-free world’: Non-smokers should not start at all, smokers should switch to an electronic device. But isn’t this too good to be true? Aren’t the advertising campaigns aimed specifically at young non-smokers, the consumers of tomorrow?

And what about the influence of the industry through lobbying? To what extent are the health hazards of the dangerous drug nicotine concealed? Despite numerous lawsuits against the tobacco industry and counter campaigns by politicians and NGOs, tobacco and the new e-products remain good business.

Winter Equalizer: Champions vs. Legends

Winter Equalizer: Champions vs. Legends

Winter Equalizer: Champions vs. Legends

Director: Heinz Leger / Produced by Berlin Producers and Kensington TV and pre tv | 2018
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Every year multiple records are surpassed by a newer generation of athletes and, according to the numbers, elite athletic performance is continually improving. However, are today’s competitors actually better athletes than their predecessors, or are there other forces at play? Our 45 minute documentary, Champions vs. Legends is a lively investigation led by renowned sports scientist Steve Haake. We challenge an elite line-up of winter athletes to compete against the legends of five winter sports in the gear of the past: Christine Nesbitt – Speed Skating, Max Arndt and Alex Rodiger – Bobsleigh, Manuel Feller – Giant Slalom, Anna Schaffelhuber – sit-skiing, and Shea Weber – Hockey.