Leopards in the U.S.A.

India, RajasthanShortly before Christmas, our documentary “Leopard Rocks” about India’s Rajasthan region was broadcast in Austria.

The leopards are now making their way to the U.S.A., where the Smithsonian Channel will be broadcasting our documentary in spring. The renowned science channel was one of the co-producers of the film, along with Terra Mater Factual Studios.

The Moon – Our Gateway to the Universe

1200px-Apollo_15_Rover,_IrwinThe German-language version of our film about the moon premiered on the 13. December 2017 as part of Servus TV’s “Terra Mater” documentary series. “The Moon – Our Gateway to the Universe” tells the story of lunar exploration and examines the fascinating discoveries made in recent years.

Five internationally renowned, passionate and entertaining scientists from the U.S.A., Germany, France and Russia provide a running commentary of events from the first probe to successfully land on the surface to the incredible discovery that there is actually water on the moon.

In southern Spain, an aerospace engineer demonstrates that it is possible to produce oxygen from lunar rock using solar power. This could, potentially, provide a sustainable source of air for astronauts in future.

The space travellers could find shelter in newly-discovered cave systems, ancient remnants of a time when the moon experienced volcanic activity. The moon will undoubtedly be the launch pad for future space exploration.

Expedition to Mount Elgon

The team’s headquarters

Mount Elgon is an extinct volcano on the border between Uganda and Kenya. Director Harald Pokieser and his camera team spent two weeks filming here in challenging conditions. As Pokieser explains, “We thought that filming the gorillas in Bwindi would be the most difficult part of the film. We were wrong. Filming the elephants on this densely overgrown mountain was far more challenging. You sweat constantly while climbing up and down, and at night you freeze in your tent.” Without a doubt, the team’s exertions were worth it. In fact, using automatic 4K cameras, they were even able to capture female elephants and their calves entering caves at night in order to lick the salt from the cave walls. Filming also took place in other parts of Uganda, and the team returned to Vienna in mid-September.

The Austrian Federal Forests: Our History

internet20 years ago, the venerable “Österreichischen Bundesforste” or Austrian Federal Forest service was transformed into a stock corporation fully owned by the Austrian government. Since 1997, the forestry service has become a modern company with responsibilities far beyond conventional forestry. The anniversary of this change was celebrated on 11. September 2017 at Eckartsau Castle on the Danube east of Vienna. The central element of the event was a 16-minute film of historical footage unearthed from the archives of the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation and enthusiastically edited by director Manfred Christ. It provides a detailed history of the forestry service from 1970 until 2016. Graphics and editing: Jörg Achatz, Colour Correction: Lee Niederkofler, Audio Post-production: Florian Deutsch.

The Moon And What We Know About it

Earthrise_Revisited_2013 Wikimedia CommonsIn the last decade, scientists have made many fascinating new discoveries about the moon. This is largely due to the modern, highly-sensitive sensors that circle it, and the technical advances that have made it possible to sift through all the data that was collected by the Apollo program prior to 1972.

There is water on the moon, it quakes, there are subterranean volcanoes, its core is solid metal surrounded by a hot, liquid layer of metals and sulphur. In some places, the moon has magnetic fields which could protect a moon base from the solar wind. In fact, one could even potentially establish such a base below the surface, in recently discovered lava tubes and pits.

Manfred Christ has worked his way through hundreds of scientific reports and visited several lunar research conferences, and is now producing a 52-minute documentary, “All about the Moon”, for Terra Mater Factual Studios. The film will contain new animations and rare archive footage, as well as a series of very personal interviews with experts from Germany, France, Russia and the U.S.A. It will be completed in November 2017.

High Times for Uganda’s Gorillas

Gorilla Bwindi 2017The first filming for the “Wild Uganda” documentary in July 2017 took Harald Pokieser and his team on a visit to the mountain gorillas of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

Fortunately, the rainforest is not as inaccessible as the name might suggest, but filming was nonetheless challenging. However, it was worth it: the team returned with breathtaking footage of the everyday life of a group of gorillas.

For the first time, the mountain gorillas have been captured on film climbing high up into the trees.

Wild Uganda

UgandaFrom summer 2017, the Cosmos Factory camera teams will be in Uganda as part of a new documentary on the country’s fascinating, diverse landscapes, from the savannahs and swamps in the east and tropical rainforests in the west and south to the 5,000-metre-high snow-covered peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains.

Uganda’s animal inhabitants include mountain gorillas and chimpanzees, large herds of elephants, giraffes and antelopes, as well as thousands of rhinos and tree-climbing lions. Written and directed by Harald Pokieser, commissioned by Terra Mater Factual Studios.

The Leopard Rocks

India, Rajasthan

The female leopard Nelam with baby Magdalena

Filming for the Terra Mater Production “The Leopard Rocks” in India’s Rajasthan province: four weeks, two camera crews, 300 kilos of equipment, five rock faces, a dozen leopards. A letter from the director Harald Pokieser: “Things here are pretty exhausting (monotonous and occasionally bad food, constant power failures etc.), but it is worth it and all I can say is: a resounding success. We have rare footage of the leopards, as well as other animals you don’t often see in nature documentaries. Even the camera traps work as planned.”

Namibia – Sanctuary of Giants

Namibia, EtoshaNamibia is more than twice the size of Germany, but has a population of just two million people. No country in Africa would appear to have more space for wild animals, but appearances can be deceptive: the large cattle farms with their enormous grazing pastures and hundreds of thousands of small farms are taking up more and more territory. Conflicts between humans and wild animals are becoming more pronounced, as is poaching. Rhinos and elephants are in constant danger. However, there is hope: government departments, biologists and private businesspeople have come up with fascinating strategies to preserve these icons of wild Africa. A co-production of Terra Mater Factual Studios and National Geographic WILD. First broadcast on 14. December 2016 at 8.15 p.m. as part of the Terra Mater format on SERVUS TV. Written and directed by Harald Pokieser, camera: Harald Mittermüller, editor: Michael Ranocha, music: Andy Baum

The Art of Painting with Feet

DejanaDespite her severe physical disability, 22-year-old Dejana Backo from Novi Sad in Serbia has found a way to express her exceptional artistic talent. She is a member of an international association for artists who paint with their mouths or feet. The association markets their art, thereby enabling them to live off their work. The director Katalin Hanappi produces two commercials and a short film about Dejana and her talented associates for the Austrian Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists. The touching clips are shown on SERVUS TV from mid-November until the end of December 2016. Camera: Mike Fried, sound: Hermann Winklhofer, editor: Jörg Achatz. Link to the 90-second YouTube version