Morava – Between Deluge and Drought

DJI_0182One of the last and most exceptional remaining riparian wildernesses. Particularly in its last 60 kilometres, along the border between Austria and Slovakia, the Morawa river develops a distinctive personality and international significance, forming vast wetlands containing meadows, forests and a wild network of branches and streams. Just a stone’s throw from these wetlands, there are ancient sand dunes on both sides of the border. The animals and plants here thrive in dry, hot and sandy surroundings in which the sky appears to meet the land and the sun and clouds create picturesque landscapes that are reminiscent of the American west. Written and directed by Manfred Christ and Tomáš Hulík. A Terra Mater Factual Studios / Cosmos Factory co-production in association with ARTpoint s.r.o. and rtv:

Diving Expedition in Lake Altaussee

Unbenannt-2In 2020, for the first time, a major expedition was undertaken by the Liezen district water services to remove waste from the bottom of Lake Altaussee in the Austrian province of Styria. Initiated by the Austrian Federal Forest Office, the expedition took place at water temperatures of just 12 degrees Celsius and brought a lot of information about the comparatively recent past to the surface. Most of the objects were more than fifty years old, dating back to a time before there were waste removal regulations and people simply threw their refuse in the lake or into the forest. The event was captured under water, on land and from the air for the series “Fanny’s Friday” on ORF 1 (10 minutes) and for “Studio 2″ on ORF 2 (broadcast date: 16. October 2020). Director: Manfred Christ, DOP: Harald Mittermüller & Thomas Kranabitl, Sound: Hermann Winklhofer, Editing: Alex Schönauer.

Better Hunting with a Tree Stand

Klettersitz_3840 x 2160 AusschnittIn old-growth forests with a high rate of natural regeneration, hunters are often unable to fulfil their required quota due to a lack of visibility at ground level. In such cases a climbing tree stand can be useful. The hunter can then choose the appropriate height and position. Bernhard Funcke, director of the Waldviertel-Voralpen department of the Austrian Federal Forest Office, explains how to use a climbing tree stand correctly and what to look out for. Duration: 13:30. Commissioned by the Austrian Federal Forest Office. Director: Manfred Christ, Editor: Hermann Winklhofer (August 2020)

Clips for the edutube Streaming Platform

EduTube CoverThe educational streaming platform edutube was launched by Austria’s Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research and the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation ORF at the end of April 2020 and offers around 800 well-researched and reliable short videos, documentaries and reports. Cosmos Factory was commissioned by the ORF’s Education, Science and Current Affairs Department to produce ten of these clips, which will be used primarily by teachers as part of digital learning efforts. Subjects included the driest spot on earth and the return of the lynx to the causes of lightning and the distinctive saline pools of Austria’s Seewinkel region.

The Origin Story of the Coronavirus

EVN ORF ArchivThe corona virus responsible for the current pandemic jumped from wild animals to humans. To prevent another catastrophic pandemic in the future, we have to learn more about its origins. So where does the previously unknown virus come from, and exactly how and where was it transmitted to humans? Christian Walzer, Executive Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York City, is currently at the forefront of research and reporting. The cultural anthropologist Clemens Grünbühel has been living and researching in Southeast Asia for 20 years. As an employee of the Stockholm Environment Institute in Bangkok, he deals with the relationship between humans and nature, with wildlife markets and the wildlife trade as a basis for securing livelihoods. The chemist and entrepreneur Zhou Jinfeng is the General Secretary of the NGO ”China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation”, which is China’s official arm for nature conservation, environmental protection and for a commitment to sustainable development. Duration: 21 minutes. Produced by Cosmos Factory for ORF Austrian Television (2020).

Project Lowland Gorillas

Western Lowland GorillasIn May and June 2021 our teams are wading through the wild swamps of Gabon, home to a large group of Western lowland gorillas. Scientists from Leipzig’s Max-Planck-Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology have been studying these fascinating primates for years and the gorillas have now become accustomed to the presence of humans. This will allow us to get up close and personal with our cameras, despite the difficulties associated with shooting in knee-deep water. The film is a co-production of Terra Mater Factual Studios with NDR  Naturfilm and National Geographic International.

Colombia – wild and free

KolumbienThe 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.

Silver Screens in California

Unbenannt-1In 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.

Western Pannonia: A Largely Unknown Region

P1080287The 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 has been completed in June 2020.

Gold, Silver and Bronze in New York City

Gold World Medal 140409_nyf_01-700x531Every 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.