The Republic of Colombia is a largely unknown natural paradise. Many national parks were closed off for decades as a result of the country’s guerrilla wars. During the conflict the fighters of the FARC and ELN became the kings of the wilderness, establishing their camps and drug laboratories in remote mountainous regions, the Amazon and the expansive plains of Orinoco province. The guerrillas spread fear and terror but also unintentionally acted as armed guards for the local wildlife, preventing the expansion of human settlements, economic development and logging in the last remaining sections of untouched rainforests.
Only now, following successful negotiations and peace treaties between the government and the large guerrilla factions, is it becoming possible to explore the true beauty and diversity of Colombia’s nature. 2 x 50 minutes, written and directed by Harald Pokieser. A co-production by ORF, ORF Enterprise, ARTE GEIE, Doclights GmbH/NDR and Cosmos Factory, to be completed by 2021.
In May 2019, two of our films made it to the finals of the US International Film and Video Festival and were honoured with Silver Screen Awards: Manfred Christ’s “The Sun – Inferno in the Sky” and “The Moon – Our Gateway to the Universe”. The world-renowned US International Film and Video Festival was established in 1967. Both films were commissioned by Terra Mater Factual Studios.
The conservation areas and national parks of western Hungary and Austria’s Burgenland state are part of the “Pannonian Nature Network”. Now, with the support of the European Regional Development Fund, the region’s many natural treasures will be celebrated in a visually stunning documentary. From the Nationalpark Neusiedlersee in Austria to Hungary’s Örség National Park, from the Mur River on the border between Hungary and Croatia to the Lafnitz floodplains: western Pannonia is home to a number of spectacular habitats. Many of them are less than three hours’ drive from Vienna yet are surprisingly unknown and remain both picturesque and peaceful. The film will be completed in late 2019.
Every year, more than 200 jurors evaluate submissions from around 50 countries at the New York Festivals Television and Film Awards. In 2019, three of our documentaries were among the winners:
“The Moon – Our Gateway to the Universe” by Manfred Christ received a Gold World Medal in the Science & Technology category.
In the Nature & Wildlife category, Harald Pokieser’s “Wild Uganda” received a Silver World Medal, while his film “The Leopard Rocks”, which was filmed in India, received a Bronze World Medal. All three films were commissioned by Terra Mater Factual Studios.
Several corners of the African continent remain largely unexplored, and the director Harald Pokieser recently visited just such a place for a new Cosmos Factory project: the southern end of Lake Tanganyika in Zambia.
During his travels he met the legendary Heinz Büscher, who has spent almost 50 years roaming the shores of the lake on a quest to learn all he can about the local cichlid fish, discover new species and capture them on film. The two met in Nsumbu National Park, a stunningly beautiful yet rarely-visited place which will be one of the highlights of the upcoming documentary “Lake Tanganyika – Africa’s Blue Heart”.
A book club in Bratislava, a campaign to promote integration through apprenticeship, pharmacists who can communicate using sign language – these are just a few of the exceptional social projects that have been honoured by the jury members of the SozialMarie awards in the last 15 years.
The short film’s director, Katalin Hanappi, tells the story of the awards through social interactions, presenting an in-depth look at three of the prize-winning projects. The SozialMarie awards include financial support for projects. Above all, however, they draw public attention to new and innovative solutions for social challenges in Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Germany, Poland and Croatia. The award is organised by Vienna’s Unruhe Privatstiftung foundation, and the film was shot in Vienna and Bratislava.
When will the next large solar storm impact the earth? In this documentary produced for Terra Mater Factual Studios, director Manfred Christ gets up close and personal with the only star in our immediate vicinity. He examines the largest solar storm in history, which shook the earth in 1859, and presents both the earliest days of solar research and today’s high-tech approaches.
The film features truly incredible images captured by the newest generation of space probes, as well as a visit to Europe’s largest solar telescope in Tenerife and to the facility which is producing the probe that will draw nearer to the sun than ever before. The journey continues to the world headquarters of the sunspot observers in Brussels and the Kanzelhöhe Observatory in Carinthia, one of the birthplaces of modern solar research. The astronomer Stuart Clark provides insights into the history of solar research, while the mathematician Valentina Zharkova predicts that solar activity will fall by 60 percent in the coming decades. The veracity of this claim and the impact that such a reduction may potentially have on the earth’s climate is the subject of animated debate. Camera: Mike Fried, Editor: Jörg Achatz, Music: Roman Kariolou
Barbara van Melle’s video channel for home-made bread and baked goods enthusiasts, filmed in Vienna’s first bread-baking studio, launched on 11. September 2018.
Van Melle is a passionate baker, an author and the chairwoman of the Slow Food Wien organisation. She is joined by the equally passionate master baker Simon Wöckl who learned his trade in Italian and Icelandic bakeries, studied agricultural sciences and who, like van Melle, is committed to traditional preparation methods, local ingredients and exceptional quality.
A new episode appears every Tuesday. Barbara and Simon reveal the most important techniques for beginners and advanced amateur bakers and present both simple and more complex recipes. Their aim is to provide a comprehensive guide to enjoyable and successful bread-baking at home.
The Austrian national park Neusiedlersee-Seewinkel was established in 1993.
The director Manfred Christ has produced a 16-minute film to mark the park’s 25th anniversary, exploring the journey from the original ambitious plans to the present day with the aid of historical footage from the archives of the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF).
An initial conflict between conservationists and farmers led to co-operation between the two groups and, eventually, to the establishment of the celebrated national park.
At the end of 2014, the director Harald Pokieser produced a documentary about the internationally successful Norwegian model Alexandra Ørbeck-Nilssen for Terra Mater Factual Studios. Alexandra moved back and forth between London and New York for years – until she finally had enough of life in the big city and travelled to Namibia to get to know the Bushmen tribe.
The “Making Of” of this documentary was uploaded on the Cosmos Factory YouTube channel and has achieved more than 1.95 million visits. “The Model and the Bushmen – Behind the Scenes” is five-and-a-half minutes long, and our YouTube channel currently has around 5000 subscribers.