Episode 1: The Animal Kingdom
Episode 2: Soda Lakes and Inland Seas
Episode 3: From Hell ot the Holy Land
Harald Pokieser’s three-part “Rift Valley – The Great Rift” was one of the most elaborate UNIVERSUM productions ever undertaken by Austria’s broadcaster ORF, and explored one of the most fascinating landscapes in the world. The 6000-kilometer rift stretches from the Jordan Valley to the Red Sea, then on to east Africa and Mozambique. It is a legendary region, home to the rich animal habitats of the Serengeti and the Masai Mara, the Kilimanjaro mountain, the Ngorongoro crater and Lake Tanganyika. The series was a co-production of ORF, NDR Naturfilm, WDR, ARTE, Cosmos Factory and National Geographic Channel U.S.A.
Episode 1 was awarded the Grand Prix of Germany’s international nature documentary film festival “NaturVision”. As the jury explained, “Exceptional aerial footage combines with fantastic animal sequences. Breathtaking sprints of African big cats on the hunt are presented as though one was part of it. It is something that people love to see, and one cannot get enough of this film.”
In addition, the first episode received the first prize in the nature documentary category at France’s renowned “Festival international du Film Ornithologique”, as well as the Golden Dolphin in the “Science & Knowledge” category of the “Corporate Media & TV Awards”.
In Spain, the film was declared the best nature documentary at the International Science Film Biennial, and also received the audience award.
At the “CINE Film and Video Competitions” in Washington D.C., the film was awarded the Golden Eagle Award, and at the world’s largest nature film festival in Missoula (Montana, U.S.A.) “The Great Rift” received recognition in the categories of “Scientific Content and Research” and “Cinematography”.
For hundreds of thousands of divers and underwater specialists throughout the world the name Hans Hass is synonymous with everything that takes places under the ocean waves. Hans Hass is the godfather of underwater cinematography and with his photos and films he showed the wonders of the sea to the people above – long before Jacques-Yves Cousteau.
The Viennese zoologist celebrated his 90th birthday on 23. January 2009. Hass was always curious and invariably did the things that others couldn’t or wouldn’t do, as he says himself. In 2007, aged 88, he travelled to the Red Sea with his wife Lotte and a group of friends for a last diving expedition, despite his advanced age. He returned to the spot where he became the first person to enter the sea with a diving mask in the late 1940s. Erich Pröll captured Hass’ final return to the sea with the camera, and Manfred Christ directed the 50 minutes film.
The film explores the regions and landscapes of Austria’s Burgenland province that played an important role in the composer’s life, capturing the positivity and light-heartedness that characterises both the countryside and the celebrated composer’s work.
Writer and Director: Anita Natmeßnig, Editor: Adam Wallisch. 25 minutes, commissioned by ORF.
The mighty anti-aircraft bunker in Vienna’s 6th district, which is now home to the Aqua-Terra-Zoo “Haus des Meeres”, once played a significant role during World War II. As part of the permanent exhibition “Erinnern im Innern”, a 40-second clip reveals the true horror of the bombing of Vienna during the war. As the curator explains, the purpose of the exhibition is clear: “The direct confrontation with relicts of the Second World War should remind people how easily a regime of terror can destroy peace and tolerance.” Film directed by Manfred Christ.