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”.