The Sun – Hot as Hell and Extremely Unpredictable

Master 03When 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

Baking Bread – the Video Channel

20180409_110611Barbara 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.

25 Years of Neusiedlersee National Park

NationalparkThe 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.

More Than 1.5 Million YouTube-Views of “The Model and the Bushmen”

Model Bushmen YouTubeAt 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 1.5 million visits. “The Model and the Bushmen – Behind the Scenes” is five-and-a-half minutes long, and our YouTube channel currently has around 4000 subscribers.

Wildlife Live: Austrian Federal Forests’ New Video Channel

HaselmäuseThe Austrian Federal Forests (Österreichische Bundesforste, ÖBf) have provided insights into the everyday lives of their staff among Austria’s forests, mountains, lakes, meadows and wild animals since the end of 2017. The concept and realisation of the channel was developed in co-operation with Cosmos Factory. What makes this project unique is that the staff members, including rangers, professional hunters, biologists and nature guides, do the filming themselves, using their own phones and cameras. “They see things most visitors to the forest never see, and we want to make these experiences available to everybody with an interest in nature,” says the director of Austrian Federal Forests, Rudolf Freidhager. Manfred Christ taught the staff the basic rules of film-making in workshops, then used the material filmed to produce a series of clips between 40 and 90 seconds long. The result is both authentic and fascinating, and provides an unusual perspective of Austria’s nature and wildlife.

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 several 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.

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 contains 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.