Newton - Extreme Cold
While the cold holds Austria hostage and everyone has a runny nose, ice bath enthusiasts celebrate their peak season. "The Iceman", the dutch Wim Hof, has developed a training method to boost his immune system through exposure to cold. Studies have shown that people regularly exposed to cold environments have a better blood flow and are healthier. Newton has tested this method with two volunteers to check if we really should embrace the cold.
Newton - Secrets of Primeval Times - The Language of Tortoises
We long believed they were mute and deaf. But it turns out tortoises can speak! In a fragmented yet refined manner: at low frequencies to be able to communicate across great distances in deep waters . At high frequencies in shallow waters to locate each other. But that's not it: even their embryos 'speak' to each other and agree on when to hatch out of their eggs. Newton offers a fascinating peak into the most recent research on tortoises, dives right into their language and shatters some of the prejudice we hold against them. Because tortoises are talkative, fast and, above all, sociable!
Europe´s Border Rivers
In this threefold documentary, three fluid frontiers the Oder, the Pruth and the Tana are unveiled within Europe. Leaving from their source until reaching their estuaries, we follow their turbulent past and present, their currents and meanders as well as the beautiful landscapes they carve and have to put up with. But rivers can also be both common lifelines and radical separations for animals as well as humans.
Kenya: Big Five - Last Five?
It seems to be a true paradise, and it is a stunning adventure for everybody who experiences his first safari in one of Africa's national parks. The foreigners' focus is mainly on the «Big Five«. Will they be found? Will they be seen? Buffalo, Elefant, Rhino, Lion and even Leopard...? With stunning pictures from air and ground this film explores the most exciting landscapes of Kenya and its wildlife. It shows that not only losing one of the »Big Five« would cause a sobering loss. Kenya's wildlife blooms due to its rich diversity. But it is an unstable diversity which could also brush away other iconic animals like the Grevy's zebras or the wild dogs in short term.
Vietnam - From Green Hell to Green Paradise
This unique land offers ecological diversity and exotic wildlife, some of its animals discovered only a few years ago; a land torn into pieces, burned and destroyed - but now on its way to become paradise again: this is Vietnam. More than 3.000 kilometers of amazing coastline connect the country with the fascinating waterworld of the South Chinese Sea. In the North, where the water is cooler, some of the world's richest Coral reefs can be found. The mountainous regions up in Vietnam's northern parts hide last biological mysteries: some species have been observed for the first time only in our generation.
Istria - a secret destination, turned by its isolation into a hidden sanctuary for the wildlife of Southern Europe, a steep Adriatic karst labyrinth in today's Croatia. Fieldfare thrushes, crowded in bushes at the edge of forests, fire demoralising digestive missiles rearwards from their behinds, a persuasive deterrent to predators. And predators there are, though the short-toed eagles are paying more attention to the rodents gambolling on the burning rocks, while griffon vultures bide their time in the updraughts, waiting for the spoils. This is a theatre of life in layers. Layered in time too. When darkness comes wild boar snuffle through the forest past a deserted village. Autumn is hog heaven here, the time of the truffles. But hogs avoid the village, because here there be wolves, among the roots in the abandoned cellars, gliding past the trunks rearing from windows. The whole wolf pack lives here. Noone comes near, save mother bears in the springtime, exploring with their cubs.
Seefeld - Tyrolean Wonderland
Part I: Realm of the Peregrine Falcon
Part II: Managing Mountains
In February 2019, Seefeld hosts the year's biggest winter sports event: the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. Seefeld lies at the heart of Tyrol, surrounded by the most beautiful and wildest Alpine peaks. The diversity of the landscape is breathtaking: primeval forests, rushing rivers, rocky peaks, pastures and waterfalls, as well as innumerable lakes and moors. Higher elevations are home to ibex, chamois and rock partridges, while Western capercaillies and grey-headed woodpeckers inhabit the forests.
Vanishing Kings - Lions of the Namib II - The Musketeers' Legacy
In the ancient Namib Desert, a young adult male lion roams across the desolate, barren plains. He has ended up in a place far away from home and is desperate to find his brothers, who went missing a few days ago. Wandering through the desert all alone, he has just started the journey of a lifetime. Will he find his brothers? Will they reunite? - Part II of the story about the «Five Musketeers» follows them on their dangerous first steps as adults.
The Rhön - Natural Beauty of the «Land of Open Spaces»
The Rhön region is characterised by its variety: a unique wealth of habitats and a well above-average number of animal and plant species. Its central geographic location in Central Europe and, according to scientists, ideal interconnectedness between open and forested habitats, make the Rhön a vital assembly point for roaming animal species such as lynx and wildcats.
The Rhön is a unique landscape in Central Europe. This fascinating film offers a sensitive portrayal of the animals and plants, landscape and people throughout the seasons.
1 x 52 min.
1 x 90 min.
It may be the world's oldest zoo (Joseph II founded it in 1752), but Schönbrunn is still at the cutting edge of global conservation: Polar Bears in Canada, Elephants in Sri Lanka - even Water Buffalos in Upper Austria! Following Lukas Beck's delightful and emotional first film with Schönbrunn, «A Life for Animals», «Schönbrunn's Ark» now portrays the intimate, dynamic relationships that develop between a zoo's experts and the species they reach out to save, on three continents.
Charlie is a young Bearded Vulture chick growing up among the sheer mountainsides of Switzerland's Engadin National Park. Helped by his family, Charlie will learn how to fly, will watch as his relatives paint themselves in the orange mud that is the preferred make-up of all their kind, and above all: he will be taught how to master the skills of dive-bombing with marrow-bones, his species' unique way to access high-nutrition food. But at the age of two Charlie's dark plumage will become paler, and he will be rejected. Then he must fly away, as far as the skies of Milan or Rotterdam, only to return as an adult. Now he will most likely find another chick in his nest, and it's up to him to find his own mate, and cement the new relationship with the vultures' glorious mating flights. Bearded Vultures were eradicated from the Alps by 1907, but in the 1980s they were reintroduced, and now for the first time in a century, three generations of vultures live side by side.
Meet the Martens
Inspired by Erich Kästner's Conference of the Animals, this film by Kurt Mayer («Planet Sparrow») gathers members of the remarkable Marten family from four continents to an international meeting in Vienna. The venue, a traditional hotel (think «Grand Budapest Hotel») becomes their temporary home. Honey-badgers, wolverines, ermines and stone martens - even otters - each have their own way of making their room their territory, and each room has magical access to the natural habitat they left behind. «Meet the Martens» combines blue chip wildlife photography with the comedy of unexpected encounters between relatives.
Stars and Stripes
Why is a baby deer born with white spots - and why do they disappear as it grows? Why is a young wild boar striped? What makes the stripes fade with age? And why is a thrush spotted when it's young, and striped when it's older? «Somatolysis» is the answer. This ancient Greek expression means «dissolution of the body»: by changing its shape and contour. For many animals it's the key to survival in the critical first days and weeks. It works like a magic cloak, that makes hatchlings and youngsters virtually invisible. A female deer leaves her fawn unattended for hours. It's not strong enough to follow her, but she needs to graze to produce milk to feed it. The fawn's only hope is to be invisible. Maybe bright white spots aren't such a bad idea in a meadow full of daisies ...
Jewel of the Elephant Coast
South Africa's Isimangaliso National Park, which in the Zulu language simply means «wonder», is home to the so-called «big five»- elephants, rhinoceroses, buffaloes, lions and leopards. Covering 3,280 km2 (2,038 square miles) right alongside the sea, this «wonderland» offers incomparable biodiversity with a correspondingly wide range of species in its extensive wetlands, swamps, savannah and coastal forests. Opening up the region to eco-tourism is not just intended to benefit the local economy; it is also the central strategy for sustainable development and nature conservation. Isimangaliso was listed as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site in 1999.
The Elephant Kings
The 300 square kilometre Tembe Elephant Park on the border between South Africa and Mozambique is one of the few safe havens for the so-called «Great Tuskers»- bull elephants with gigantic tusks. The sanctuary was established in 1983 and opened to the public in 1991. Rhinoceroses, lions, leopards and buffaloes live alongside the elephant kings in the park. The local community runs the park autonomously, opens it for tourists and runs a lodge.
Walking with the Alpine Ibex
They rest by night, a silhouette of snoring and sighing horns, with Capricorn's stars high above in the milky Alpine skies. Only at full moon will they walk. Then the herd moves together, silently, gracefully, peacefully. Like ghosts their horned heads appear on the limestone ridges of the Hochschwab mountains. This massive range absorbs snowmelt and rainfall like a gigantic sponge, supplying a million people in Vienna a hundred miles away with crystal- clear water. Entering the distant, archaic, mystic world of the ibex was Bernhard Schatz's dream. In this unique film we follow the Alpine ibex under Bernhard's guidance over a whole year; we experience the amazing, sometimes hilarious, social behavior of these magical animals, filmed in the heaviest snowstorms and in the cracking summer heat. And with the ibex we also meet their animal companions: chamois, marmots, golden eagles and European adders.
Through a Raven's Eye
The Common Raven is the largest, cleverest and bravest European corvid - brave enough to make its home in the harsh landscape of the 'Totes Gebirge'- the 'Dead Mountains'. This barren limestone plateau at 2,500 meters soaks up rainwater, leaving the peaks bone-dry. Further down, the precipitation creates a paradise of turquoise lakes, pristine springs, moss-covered forests and mysterious moors. The temporary karst springs bring further specialist behaviour: landlocked Danube bleak make short and spectacular migrations to their spawning grounds, and wallcreepers scurry up and down steep cliffs, looking for larvae; while chamois, ptarmigans and mountain hares eke out a living amongst the jagged rocks. Gliding on silent wings through this landscape of contrasts, the raven takes us on a tour of his realm: this forbidding limestone massif may appear dead - but in the raven's eyes, it's anything but!
Bears of the Karawank
No other part in Southern Europe has such a high concentration of brown bears as Slovenia's and Croatia's mediterranean karst. The bears hide in the untouched forests - no need for them to cross paths with people. The bear cubs stay with their mother until she returns to oestrous. Then, she chases them away and the cubs have to find their own territory. The young brown bears wander north until the massive Karawank mountains block their way. But young bears are curious hunters and fearless climbers. And yet crossing these mountains at up to 2,500 meters is not even their most challenging mission - an encounter with humans can bring a sudden end to their daring journey through one of Europe's wildest landscapes. These spectacular Karawank peaks with their harsh north faces and gentle southern slopes, home to teeming mediterranean wildlife, mark the southern barrier of the Alps.
Kestrels at Close Quarters
The drama of life is unpredictable. This is as true for humans as for wild animals. Kestrels have learned to live close to man. They even raise their hatchlings in our towns. This is the story of two kestrel couples bringing up their chicks in the same neighbourhood in the center of Vienna. While destiny crowns one pair's breeding with success, the other kestrels face a more brutal fate: they have chosen an inappropriate place to brood and raise their hatchlings. With a close look and unflinching passion this film reveals the family lives of Kestrels, their needs and efforts when breeding, but also the life which follows a successful brood. Once the fledglings learn to fly, both parents and offspring face a vital decision: shall they stay in Europe over the winter or head off to southern climes with abundant prey? Whatever they decide, another unpredictable drama of life beckons.
Cuba's Wild Revolution
Cuba has some of the richest wildlife in the Caribbean: 3,700 km of pristine coastline, mountain ranges still draped in primeval forest, swamps teeming with moisture-loving creatures - and much of it thrives because of Cuba's revolution. Decades of socialist government, U.S. embargoes and minimal development have left the island virtually unchanged.
This film will feature Cuba's wildlife where it meets the island's colonial and revolutionary past, and present: from the clouds of vultures riding the updrafts around Havana's legendary 'Habana Libre' hotel to the Cuban boa constrictors making their homes in the deserted mansions of long-gone sugar barons, to the coral-smothered cannon of wrecked Spanish galleons. Neighbors from Haiti to Jamaica may have flushed their natural wealth into the sea; Cuba sits like a green jewel in azure Caribbean waters, pulsing with life.
Europe's Wild West - Portugal
Sustained by water from the mountains, nature thrives in Portugal's north, offering a lush habitat to flocks of Greater flamingo. They seek out river estuaries or abandoned saline pools where they feed on shrimps. The shrimps' eggs survive in dry salt up to 5 years, until conditions are right to emerge. High in the mountains the Spanish imperial eagle hunts rabbits and birds. Montados, forests of cork oaks, are the perfect hideout for Iberian lynx. Here the great bustard, Europe's heaviest bird, performs a captivating mating dance while reciting a song irresistible to females. The whole display is sometimes watched by a Mediterranean chameleon, Europe's endemic chameleon species. Far in the Atlantic, Madeira's Desertas Islands are the only home of one of the largest and rarest species of wolf-spider. Here rare Mediterranean monk seals have one of the last colonies, while sperm whales enjoy the ocean's rich feeding grounds.
Wild Way of the Vikings
We follow the Vikings' footsteps from the Norwegian Coast to Newfoundland, visiting each of the magical islands of 'Fire and Ice' on the way: the Shetlands, the Faroes, Greenland and Iceland. In summer, pilot whales appear in huge numbers in Faroese waters. On Iceland the dominant hunters aren't humans but arctic foxes. In mid-summer guillemot chicks leap from high ledges, aiming for the churning sea 150 meters below. Besides the polar bears, musk ox, wolves and arctic foxes, Greenland is home to vast breeding colonies of geese and the dashing gyr falcon - one of the most formidable hunting machines in Nature. Finally reaching the well-wooded shores of Newfoundland, the camera dives beneath the surface to watch the humpbacks as they breach and roll in pure exuberance.
Austria from Above - Jewel of the Country
Georg Riha is and will remain the master of aerial shots. What he used to film with balloons and spidercams is now done with drones and helicopters. In this new four-part series, for the first time, Riha uses aerial shots only. In shootings that took several years he fl ew over almost all of Austria and shows the country's most beautiful places from the aerial perspective during the course of a year.
o Exploring the North
Wilde Reise mit Erich Pröll - Tierisches Linz
Eine spannende Safari unternimmt Naturfilmer Erich Pröll. Er macht mit der Kamera Jagd auf Wildtiere in ungewöhnlichen Lebensräumen im dichten Industriegebiet von Oberösterreichs Hauptstadt Linz.
Wilde Reise mit Erich Pröll - Hoch zu Ross
Zwischen Donau und Moldau unternimmt Naturfilmer Erich Pröll eine Reittour. Er stellt die Cowgirls und Cowboys Oberösterreichs vor und besucht die »Golden Wheel Tophy« in Altenfelden - eines der spektakulärsten Wagenrennen Europas.
Wild Austria - Created by Water
Part I: Frozen Peaks
Part II: Rivers and Plains
Austria's Alpine glaciers, ancient seas and mighty rivers carved out amazing landscapes - key to her wildlife today. Eagles, ibex, otters and deer are well-known, but there are other, stranger creatures: Goldeneye ducks breed high in tree nests. Once hatched, the ducklings follow their mother to the life-giving river below. But they can't fly , so it's a leap of faith up to ten metres down. The tiny Bullhead is a fish that can't swim. It claws with its fins along the gravelly bed of brooks and creeks to resist the current. One creature even survived unchanged from the days of the dinosaurs: the tadpole shrimp, a three-eyed hermaphrodite whose eggs can lie dormant for decades - if necessary. Adults can self-fertilize, one shrimp is enough to ensure future generations. They all fit in to Austria's unforgettable landscapes and Water's endless cycle and ever-changing forms.
Empire of the Vineyard
A well-tended vineyard develops the quality of a wine over generations. But its micro-world is a battleground, an animal empire fought over in hundreds of tiny dramas every day. The irresistible smell of fresh vine leaves tempts deer out of the bushes. European and Asian ladybugs swarm out of their underground colony beside the vine after sleeping though the cold season. Young rabbits play in the morning mists, under the watchful eye of their mothers. An eagle owl swoops from the forest to snatch voles between the vines, then flies 200 meters further to prey on the ducks in the river. The owl shares its territory with a buzzard, which only hunts during the day. A European green lizard flashes the flamboyant blue of its neck to impress the females, as it basks on the limestone walls, not far from its natural enemy, a smooth snake.
Wild Wonders of Iran
Iran's landscapes and wildlife exceed all expectations. In the North, the Caspian Sea abuts on the Elburz Mountains, a massive range at up to 5,600 metres Iran's highest peak, extinct Mount Damavand. Over 50 per cent of Iran is barren deserts or vast steppes. Dasht-e Kavir is one of the biggest salt deserts in the world, while Dasht-e-Lut has Iran's great sand dunes, where deadly saw-scaled vipers battle with the poisonous fat-tailed scorpions, and even with long-eared hedgehogs! Further south, Lake Baghtegan is a vital winter home for thousands of pink flamingos. On Iran's southern shores where the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman meet, pelicans and eagles, sharks and dolphins patrol the coastlines hunting fish and crabs.
Bastion of the Giants
«Bastion of the Giants» takes the world into an engrossing journey of the lives of Asian Elephants, and the stunning bio-diverse North Eastern jungles of India around the river Brahmaputra. The challenges of the survival of the Asian Elephant and other endangered species including Bengal Tigers, Indian Rhinos and more, with intense human animal conflicts as human populations explode around these ecological hotspots and ancient elephant lands. Can India, a nation steeped in spirituality, save its forests in these times of species extinction and climate crises.
Gober - On the Fate of an Orang-Utan Mother
Over the course of years, we follow the dramatic life of Gober, the orang-utan mother. This is a scarcely believable but true story from Sumatra, the large Indonesian island. Gober is first noticed by conservationists when she struggles to meet her daily nutritional needs. It soon becomes clear that she is suffering from creeping sight loss, and her daughter will still be dependent on her for years to come. The observers are all the more astounded when the little one eventually begins to take care of herself and her mother. Her desperate search for food takes her ever more frequently to the oil palm plantations. However, hungry orang-utans find little sympathy in this death zone. In view of their declining prospects of survival, the conservationists see only one option: to bring the two of them to a rescue centre. However, the daughter will not let herself be captured and remains behind in the forest. But who can take away the pain of an intelligent and sensitive orang-utan at the loss of her child? Out of sympathy, Gober is allowed to become pregnant again. The father is another blind orang-utan who was shot at on a plantation and who now too is eking out his life in a cage. That Gober is an excellent mother is demonstrated when she brings twins into the world in the centre. Her cataracts are removed in an operation and, with the return of her eyesight, Gober sees her two children for the first time. And that is not all. The reintroduction to the wild in one of the last safe forests in Sumatra is possible. However completely unexpectedly, her son shies away from the wilderness. Will Gober suffer another tragic loss of a child - or is it finally a stroke of good fortune? In front of the eyes of her rescuers, her daughter conquers the tops of the jungle giants alongside her mother - as if they had always been her home.
In the big live show, the host as well as the presenters from Austria's nine federal states and as many prominent personalities, will, from a selection of nine hidden places in Austria, crown the loveliest «treasure». Every couple, which consists of one presenter and one personality from one of the provinces, will judge and, with the public, award points. The places with which the individual states will compete against one another are determined in the regional pre-selections in the ORF regional Studios.
Englands Beautiful Gardens - Journey through Cornwall
Seit Jahren reisen österreichische Gartenliebhaber nach England,um in öffentlichen und privaten Gärten Ideen für die Verwirklichung ihrer Gartenträume zu sammeln. Karl Ploberger hat sie auf ihrer Reise durch Cornwall begleitet. Besucht werden unter anderen die Lost Gardens Of Heligan und das Eden Project, welches sich zum Ziel gemacht hat vom Aussterben bedrohte Pflanzen zu schützen und nachzuzüchten. Zudem als krönender Abschluss die Chelsea Flower Show, die größte Gartenbaumesse der Welt.
Mexico's Animal Migrants
Mexico is one of earth's few mega-biodiverse regions. Aside from residents like jaguars, eagles, roadrunners and tarantulas, there are also migrants that come in their millions from all across North and South America. Some animal adventurers set out from Mexico, others return to it or travel through. Snow Geese, Gray Whales, Free-Tailed Bats, Monarch Butterfl ies, Whale Sharks, Rufous Hummingbirds and the River of Raptors: together their stories create a living map of all of Mexico, with its most iconic animals and most spectacular landscapes.
Just by making space in our gardens we can provide vital habitats for a large number of wild animals and plants. Garden wetlands, dry stone walls, hedgerows, flower meadows and even simply homes for useful creatures can support resident species over the year. Sometimes one small step leads to a great change: to help endangered butterfly species, for example, it is enough to plant certain flowers in the garden. A scarcely-touched garden is backdrop for the growth and decay of nature over the seasons. Time lapse tracks, macro and micro, and slow motion provide an insight into fascinating flora and fauna at our front and back doors. This documentary follows biological cycles through the year and shows how gardens can serve as a permanent food source or as a refuge for wildlife.
Giants of the Atlantic - Azores
It's a gigantic underwater mountain range, rising in the mid-Atlantic. Only a few peaks can be seen near the surface, yet some reach even higher to build nine green gems: the Azores Islands. These volcanic rocks, the only toehold between Europe and America, are of extra- ordinary beauty. The Azores' steep shelves are a play- and mating ground for several kinds of whales. Here, groups of male sperm whales meet females on their never-ending journey from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Humpback whales and gray whales break the surface but blue whales also come to feed from the vast biomass produced in the ocean's depths. Drifting up from the deep, plankton and krill attract huge schools of fish and squid. Portuguese Men o' War drift threateningly on the surface, while undersea caves host cannibalistic shrimps, manta rays and moray eels. On the islands, the grassy craters of the volcanoes are a winter home to songbirds from Iceland, Russia and North America, while their rocky outer walls form nests for vast colonies of Cory's Shearwaters.
Sky River of the Himalayas
It begins as the world's highest major river. It thunders through the planet's biggest gorge and runs through Asia's hotspots of biodiversity, teeming with wildlife. Uniting with the Ganges, it forms the world's greatest river delta.
Episode One takes us from the glaciers of 8,000-metre peaks, across Tibet's dry and harsh semi desert with its Chiru antelopes. We descend 3,000 meters through the world's deepest, longest and still barely explored Tsangpo Gorge.
Episode Two continues the exploration, with red pandas and isolated human settlements, emerging into India's temperate forests where sloth bears roam and snow leopards hunt, skirting round the Himalayas into Assam's green monsoon country.
Episode Three leads us into the steamy plains of Bangladesh with their swamps and mangrove jungles. The silt carried down from the Himalayas creates the world's most fertile, and deadly, region, ravaged by floods and patrolled by man-eating tigers.
Wild Boar - The Comeback
This is the surprising story of the most underrated animal in our forests - and its remarkable comeback. Hunted, slaughtered and exterminated - that was the European wild boar's fate throughout the last century. But now it's back! Its weapons: wiliness, intelligence, and the ability to cope with society's encroachments. Just 20 years ago an encounter with a wild boar in central Europe was a rarity. But now in some countries the stocks of wild boar have become a plague.
Nero - Monster or Victim?
He's the most notorious of all Roman Emperors. He burned Rome, he killed his mother and his wife and engaged in incest. He killed thousands of Christians. He committed suicide by thrusting a dagger into his own neck. He was, basically, a psycho. But suppose it was all lies. Suppose the 'crimes' he committed either didn't happen - or were normal behaviour for a Roman Emperor. Suppose other Romans had grounds to trash his reputation and succeeded for two thousand years. Suppose Nero was a hero. Like a television detective series, the documentary follows the clues of the ancient case: historical crime scenes are investigated, the credibility of witnesses is reviewed, modern investigative methods are applied and experts from different scientific fields including history, psychology and criminology are brought in to consult on the case. Together they reveal a complex web of lies, deflections and intrigue. Flashbacks and re-enactments encourage the viewer to explore theories that are suddenly disproved by unexpected twists. The result: a re-assessment of Roman history. It's time. To re-open the Nero Files.
The Canary Islands
Part I: Currents of LifePart II: The World of the Fire MountainsThese are the Canary Islands - isolated in the Atlantic Ocean off the North-west coast of Africa. Each island is unique with a variety of landscapes and climates - temperate coastlines, scorching deserts, tropical rainforests and frozen, snowcapped mountains. With features of a small continent, supporting one of the richest and most diverse ranges of native species on the planet.Part I: Currents of Life - Wind and Water transported pioneer seeds, insects and animals to the isolated landmasses, defined the diversity and distribution of life and created microclimates to whichmany species adapted, some evolving unique features to survive in these lands. Encounters with eccentric birds and with majestic whales!Part II: Life on the Edge highlights the ability to survive under the impacts of the modern world, andexplores the islands' natural history, focusing on the fragile balance of life on the edge of extinction inraw landscapes of spectacular beauty. Here, one lizard species was saved by baby seagulls!
Available versions: 2x50', 1x90', 2x43' (
Wild Ephesus - Old Ruins, New Life
Sophisticated, pulsing with life and unbelievably wealthy - that was ancient Ephesus with its 250,000 inhabitants, its temples, baths and theatres. Public squares were paved with mosaics, the city was filled with shops, gardens
and fountains, its broad streets flanked with glowing marble statues. Two thousand years ago this port and trading center on the west coast of today's Turkey was the most important market place for marble, precious metals, ceramics, oil and luxury textiles. Its Temple of Artemis was one of the seven wonders of the world. Today nothing remains but ruins. Porcupines live in the cracks between artfully hewn marble blocks, tortoises sunbathe on the Altar of Artemis, barn owls brood among the marble pillars of a luxury villa. The former harbor, long silted up, has become a paradise for birds. Cormorants and herons raise their chicks here, pelicans drop in for a visit. Jackals and caracals turned the quays where merchant ships once unloaded their goods into their hunting grounds. Wild boars trot along the Roman road that led from the main street to the arena, stopping to gnaw on the exposed roots snaking from the ancient city walls - and so bring some of those walls tumbling down. Marbled polecats, scorpions, lizards and snakes live in Ephesus today, as does the world's smallest mammal: the Etruscan shrew, whose heart beats 1,500 times a second. Humans had to quit this wealthy metropolis - its enormous fuel consumption caused deforestation that eroded the hillsides till the harbor was blocked with silt and the sea left the city. And then Nature took over.
The Grey and the Red - Secrets of Squirrels
Everybody loves squirrels, and yet we only know them from their brief visits to ground level. Now, extraordinary HD storytelling shows them in their own environment: high up in the treetops. This documentary examines their intelligence and explores the deadly struggle for dominance between the two main species. The cute and cuddly russet acrobats are so clever they're drawing increased attention from scientists. Indeed, as they face extinction, they now depend on These scientists for their survival. Grey squirrels from North-America are spreading fast across Europe, displacing the native red squirrel.
This documentary charts both their lovable antics and the life-and-death struggle for survival of an animal that still has plenty of secrets to reveal. It observes a family of red squirrels over the course of a year, as they mate, care for their young, and battle for food and against predators.
Greece - Highlands and Islands
Greece is a land of unique contrasts, with wild animals that have disappeared from the rest of Europe! Archaic relationships, as befits one of Civilization's sources, and seemingly special powers like Greek Gods!
Highlands takes us to isolated places like the Vikos Gorge, Europe's Grand Canyon and wild mountain streams. Scorpions perform their mating dance, gripping each other's pincers for hours. At the foot of Meteora monasteries lives the Scheltopusik, a bizarre legless lizard.
Islands is dedicated to Greece's milder side: on Rhodes, crabs hunt butterflies as they hang from the branches of the pine. A caterpillar defends itself by turning into an Alien. And offshore, a cuttlefish flashes its message of fear, stress or courtship.
Like any young boy, Peter Praschag loved animals and wanted a pet, but not a cat or a dog. His passion was for cold-blooded reptiles, his heart was set on turtles. Today, he is a world expert on freshwater turtles and a leading conservationist. One species in particular has become an obsession: not only is it the largest freshwater turtle on the planet, it is also probably the rarest animal on Earth. Only three Yangtze Soft-shell Giant turtles are positively known to exist. A male and a female in China and a third in a lake in Vietnam.
With help from experts, Peter hopes to capture that last wild individual and he may yet help to save another species from extinction! The film visits India and Bangladesh too, showing Peter safeguarding astonishingly varied examples of the oldest and most endangered vertebrates on Earth.
Hoopoe II - The Journey
In «Return of the Hoopoe» viewers met hoopoe whisperer Manfred Eckenfelder, preparing nesting boxes every winter for the lovable bird with its unique call and crazy punk headdress. Each spring the hoopoes moved into their new homes, and so Manfred singe-handedly saved the species in his Austrian Wagram homeland. This year retired carpenter Manfred is flying south - in a gyrocopter! He wants to see what his beloved hoopoes get up to on their way to Africa - and he wants to learn how other cultures and other countries manage to live in harmony with nature, as he does in the Wagram.
Far away in Europe's south east is a country dominated by high peaks and crystal-clear waters, and home to a vast range of wild animals: Albania. Lake Ohrid, Europe's oldest lake, in the east, supports hundreds of endemic animals. It has outlived earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and even Ice Ages. The Balkans' largest lake, Lake Scutari, once part of the Adriatic Sea, is a vast bird reserve protecting Dalmatian pelicans, the rarest on the planet. Just 7 meters deep, Lake Scutari hosts a variety of small animals in its marshlands, that feed the herons, ibis and flamingoes. In spring it's covered by millions of water lilies, perfect shelter for snakes and other predators. The rare greater spotted eagle doesn't just swoop on its prey from the skies, but stalks it on the ground, too! This region has big predators, too: brown bears, wolves, lynx and jackals, in an intact habitat scarcely disturbed by humanity. This is truly a hidden Eden!
Wild Ireland - The Edge of the World
Explore Ireland's wild wonders as they have never been captured before - from humpback whales breaching off its southern shores, to golden eagles fighting the gales of the northern highlands to raise their young on the steep cliffsides. The majestic salmon return from the Arctic and swim upriver into the purest freshwaters in Europe.
The Last Nomads
1x 50min., HD
Back to the Wild - A South African Cattle Farm Becomes an Animal Paradise
One of the loveliest game sanctuaries in today's South Africa, Madikwe was once sparsely populated farmland for cattle breeding and maize cultivation andscarcely able to feed its few inhabitants. Yet what was once practically worthless land has now, with the robust participation of the surrounding communities and investors, become an exemplary model of nature conservation and future landscape use. Like in the biblical story of Noah's ark, almost all of the wild animal species found in southern Africa that would have had almost no chance of survival elsewhere, including the Big 5 and rare and endangered animals, were resettled here. But has Operation «Phoenix» really contributed to the desired upturn in the local economy or is it just the private investors who are profiting again from an eco-project?
The Dolomites - In the Heroes' Garden
Untamed wilderness surrounds the distinctive rock towers, stroked by the golden glimmer of sunset: this gorgeous scene could only be in the Dolomites. It's a place for myths and fairytales, and there's no shortage of them here. But among the crags and hidden in the shady creeks, wildlife creates new stories and fables day by day. Take the lonesome wolf that roamed up from the Appenines in searchof a mate - and finds her here. Or the red fox we findcarelessly at ease in every habitat: forest, bare rock,meadows, abandoned huts, even snow and ice; few animals are so adaptable. And among the rocks is a more specialized and even more skillful climber -the chamois. Contemplating the Dolomites' wildlife seems to give this region a new shape, a new spirit- and helps us understand some of the region's immortal legends.
Lake Constance - Wilderness on the Water
No other European destination has as many incoming and out-going «flights» as Lake Constance: it's the main hub for migratory birds in Western Europe. Over 300 different species pass through every year: that's more than a quarter of a million birds. Lake Constance is so large that, standing on one shore, the Earth's curvature prevents you seeing the opposite bank. This body of water is large enough to influence the climate, and the soil round about is so fertile it creates its own ecosystem. Red-crested pochards, whooper swans, alpine swifts - and raccoons: the lake is home to a myriad of species. This film explores the secrets above and below the surface and on the banks of this lake which links Austria, Germany and Switzerland with no borders in between.
Waterland Warriors - The Beavers are back
The Blue Danube is Vienna's lifeline - and a lifeline for beavers making their way back after their extermination in the last century. This documentary follows a young beaver setting off in search of his own territory. As babbling meadow brooks are channelled into narrow tunnels he finds himself right in the centre of Vienna; and if he can make it through, Paradise awaits upstream. Meter-high reeds, meandering side-channels and unlimited food await our beaver - and, who knows, maybe a young female. On the way he encounters some of the many surprising creatures that inhabit this metropolis. Who would have expected deer, moufflons, garish amphibians and fish, butterflies whose caterpillars develop underwater, and spiders that live their entire life without ever coming to the surface? Spectacular underwater macro-photography opens the door to an unsuspected universe on our doorstep.
For tens of millions of years amphibians dominated life on Earth - some of them the size of crocodiles, then in the role of apex predators. Today the freakish predatory properties of many frogs are alive and well. This film examines some of the most bizarre frog species across the globe and reveals starting new behaviors unique to this much-maligned species. Frogs can survive with their weird and wonderful adaptations in all extremes - adaptations that range from claws of bone and glass skin to antifreeze blood, or the ability to give birth to fully developed froglets out of their back. From the jungles of South America to the swamps of Africa, we encounter some of Earth's strangest creatures: frogs that flee from their enemies by falling from rock to rock and playing dead, like the Darwin's frog; others that are killers themselves, like the poison dart frog, the most toxic creature on earth.
The Wildlife Orphanage
Normally animal shelters are the last refuge for unfortunate creatures. But in Namibia, Southern Africa, there is a different kind of shelter: a ten thousand hectare orphanage - a haven for wildanimals. The residents are rather exotic- lions, baboons and cheetahs. The two-legged stars of the series are the volunteers. Their tasks are rather unusual too: driving straight into the bush to feed lions and cheetahs, taking daily walks with a hoard of crazy baboons,capturing runaway meerkats and learning how to bottle-feed leopard cubs and 440 pound rhino babies.
Europe's Last Nomads
A spectacular ancient tradition is being revived right across Europe: shepherds leading flocks across the continent through the most savage and extreme landscapes. From Spain's legendary La Mancha plains, the last cowboys of this continent and their cattle migrate into the green highlands of Cuenca. In Romania sheep climb the Carpathian Mountains, all the way to the Ukrainian border, constantly under threat from wolves. On a Welsh island, migrating sheep even generate a habitat for rare birds.
Lionsrock - Return of the King
In South Africa a unique wildlife reserve was established around Lionsrock with the aim of returning lions to the land of their ancestors. Most are from Europe, from rundown zoos or circuses, removed to dubious holding pens like the dilapidated Pantera big cats' asylum in the Netherlands. From here a rescued lion family are sedated and air-freighted to a perfect savanna landscape, where for the first time they can be released, free, into their natural environment. This heartwarming and joyful portrait of Lionsrock with its dedicated team also features ostriches, weaver birds, ground squirrels and other African wildlife sharing the natural habitat where the lions' ancestors once thrived. And for the first time on TV this film shows root canal treatment on Kongo, a majestic lion male!
Who would have thought Venice has itsown beautiful reefs? The Tegnùe, located on the east end of the Lagoon, are home to an astonishing diversity of life, from sponges and sea anemones to scribbled pipefish and flashing squid. Like all the other amazing wildlife, the Tegnùe have been influenced, perhaps created, by centuries of human geo-engineering. The Grand Canal itself is actually the mouth of the river Brenta, descending 200 kms from the Alps! The Lagoon is a hot-spot for exotic birds heading north in spring - year after year, more than 60 species stop at the Lagoon, their first feeding ground after crossing the Mediterranean. Venice's fabulous hidden gardens are hiding-places for pine-martens and geckos, while kestrels use abandoned monasteries to breed, and launch hunting expeditions. In magnificent, atmospheric 4K photography, this film reveals the unexpected natural glories of the world's most beautiful man-made environment.
Wilde Reise mit Erich Pröll - Die Traun - Fluss aus den Bergen
Eine elementare Landschaft und dennoch ein Kulturland ohne gleichen. Ein Fluss in Fels gefasst schimmernd wie ein Kristall. Das ist der wilde Weg des Wassers vom Dachstein bis zur Donau. Es ist das Wasser der Traun - 154 km von der Quelle bis zur Mündung. Und es ereignet sich viel auf ihrem Weg. Auch Taucher schätzen die Traun als einen der wenigen Flusstauchplätze in Österreich. Naturfilmer und Abenteurer Erich Pröll begleitet außerdem Holzfäller und Flößer bei der Arbeit und zeigt die Tierwelt im Wasser und am Ufer.
Wilde Reise mit Erich Pröll - Glasklare Bergseen
Auftakt der 10-teiligen Serie mit Naturfilmer Erich Pröll. Die einzelnen Filme leben von der Begeisterung des Abenteurers Erich Pröll, die er auch den Zuschauern zu vermitteln vermag. Im ersten Teil mit dem Titel "Glasklare Bergseen" nimmt uns Erich Pröll mit auf eine wunderschöne Reise in die Bergwelt Österreichs und in die Tiefen der klaren, kalten Seen: Die Alpen, schroffer Fels, Eis und Schnee - auf den ersten Blick eine lebensfeindliche Region - doch voller Leben, wo sich Wasser sammelt. Klarheit, Reinheit und Ruhe, das sind die Empfindungen, die man heute mit Wasser in den Bergen verknüpft. Diese Geschichte erzählt von der Natur, die einst magisch und dämonisch war. Sie erzählt von den Veränderungen in Seen, von Erlebnissen in ihren Tiefen und von der zeitlosen stillen Schönheit der glasklaren Bergseen.
On a River in Ireland
The Shannon is Ireland's greatest geographical landmark and the longest river in these islands. For 340 kms the river carves its way south through the heart of the country almost splitting Ireland in two. It is both a barrier and a highway - a silver ribbon holding back the rugged landscapes of the west from the gentler plains to the east. On its journey, the Shannon passes through a huge palette of rural landscapes. On little known backwaters, Ireland's wild
Nock - Mountains at Heaven's Door
You might think you were in Ireland, you might sense the vastness of Castile in Spain, but you'd never believe this was the heart of the Austrian Alps: the Nock Mountains are - geologically - Austria's oldest landscape. For a hundred million years, the land around them has risen and fallen, while the mountains themselves hardly moved. The wide open spaces and the wealth of small natural wonders make believe you're not far from heaven's door: wild rivers, endless woodland, lush mountain meadows, wildflowers and wild animals. A perfect territory for creatures shrouded in mystery: the nearly invisible stone marten, the mystic raven and the inquisitive European adder.
A Valley Lost in Time - Ausseerland
It's a landscape born of ice and rock; beautiful and picturesque, hailed as one of creation's summits. Yet this valley in central Austria has been smashed and broken, crushed and teased, sunk and raised again by nature's forces; a haunt and habitat for both man and animal, offering no easy life to either. Our senses satiated by the stunning peaks, sheer black cliffs and dark blue lakes, we might miss the real sources of life, deep inside the mountains: salt, and water. A source for both, man and animal. A source of wealth, exploitation, anarchy, isolation - and zest for life.
This is a dense world of extremes and contrasts: cold winters weighed down by snow and frequent avalanches, followed by warm, humid summers; and the conflict of powerful, colorful traditions encountering the forces of modernity. Like a storybook, Ausseerland is a highly compressed universe: here proud red deer observe the humans, while people prefer to measure each other up. Meadows full of daffodils -elsewhere a brief reminder of spring - here become the centre of a giant festival that attracts thousands of people, and dollars, to the region. This landscape is shared with wildlife as well. The peaks of the desert-like mountain ranges are the realm of deer and chamois. In the forests wild boar roam, and in the cool mountain lakes, with their secret underground inlets, the char is king, challenged by both the fishermen and by more recent visitors, the elegant black cormorants.
A Tiger Called Broken Tail
Irish cameraman Colin Stafford-Johnson spent almost 600 days filming Broken Tail & his family for some of the finest tiger documentaries ever made. Broken Tail was the most charismatic tiger cub he'd ever seen in Ranthambhore, one of India's premier wild tiger reserves. Impossibly cute, he gamboled and posed for Colin's camera through the first years of his life. But then, without warning, Broken Tail disappeared. He abandoned his sanctuary and went on the run, disappearing into the wilds of rural India for almost a year. On a spectacular odyssey across Rajasthan, Colin travels by horseback retracing Broken Tail's last journey, gathering clues as to his route and behaviour, exploring why he abandoned his home, and above all: revealing important truths about India's last wild tigers.
Secrets of Bumblebees
They are chubbier, fuzzier and more leisurely than their sisters, the bees. They are a lot less aggressive and awe-inspiring than their cousins the wasps. Compared to honey bees, these social insects have long been poorly researched, though they're at home in temperate regions throughout the Northern Hemisphere and South America. A few tropical species form colonies lasting several years, but elsewhere only the summer's new Queens survive into next spring. Macro and high-speed cinematography allow us to witness their behavior, understand their biology, experience their unique abilities and leave us in awe of these whimsical springtime harbingers.
Sun-Seeking Creatures - A Mediterranean World
This documentary follows the widest variety of creatures in the Mediterranean climate of the Danube - like the western green lizard and the Aesculapian snake - the largest lizard and snake in central Europe. The audience is invited to experience the family life of ground squirrels, visit the islands that have their own local species of scorpion, and encounter the praying mantis, the saga pedo and the wasp spider.
Scorpions - Death on 8 Legs
Wherever they turn up, one thing is always the same: they are photophobic creatures and they are poisonous. Some of them are among the most poisonous animals on Earth. They have been on the planet for 400 million years and have since conquered all continents, settling in the most varied habitats, including arid areas as well as hot and humid rainforests: scorpions! Around 1,500 different species are known worldwide. A little prick of their needle-sharp sting is enough to kill insects, mammals and even humans. This film follows the mysterious traces of scorpions, which, with their 8 legs, belong to the arachnids. Through rainforests and deserts, this documentary illustrates how they live and hunt and sometimes even become the victims of other predators. A visually stunning documentary that shows how perfectly the oldest land animal in the world has adapted over the course of 400 million years, full of drama and sensational extreme close-ups.
Danube - Europe's Amazon
This comprehensive cinematic portrait of Europe's second-longest river presents scenes of breathtaking beauty along the banks of the Danube and investigates the tension between humans and nature, civilization and wilderness. Dams and power stations alternate with sections of natural wilderness along this mighty river, which flows through great cities such as Vienna and Budapest and untouched natural landscapes like the Danube National Park and the Kopaki Rit. Further south, between the Carpathian mountain range in Romania and the Serbian Ore mountains, the river passes through the Iron Gate, 137 kilometers of gorges that are among the largest in Europe. The mighty river ends in a unique labyrinth of water, mud and reeds - the Danube delta. It is the last remaining major river delta in Europe and the largest reed bed on earth, used by huge colonies of pelicans, cormorants, sea eagles and spoonbills for breeding and nesting.
Part I: From the Black Forest to the Black Sea / Vom Schwarzwald zum Schwarzen Meer
Part II: Forest, Flood and Frost / Zwischen Flut und Frost
Mustangs - Living Legends
Around 500 years ago they came from Europe - with Columbus, the Conquistadors and the first settlers. Predominantly, they were Spanish horses - Andalusians, Berbers and Arabians - later followed by English full bloods, Russian and Dutch heavy cold-bloods. This is the story of three North American wild horses - the first to be acquired from the US government by an Austrian that came to Austria in 2012. This three-part documentary shows how European Horsemen/Women train Mustangs, play with them and try to discover the difference to domesticated horses. Mustangs, an American legend -«the spirit of the wild west» and a symbol of freedom, speed, courage and resilience.
KwaZulu Natal - Take a Walk on the Wild Side
Almost all of the large tribes in South Africa offer traditional culture - dances, songs, clothing, religion etc. - in specially built cultural villages. These artificial villages are based on historical models, but are only inhabited when a tourist bus is due. One of the entire continent's most ambitious environmental and wild animal protection projects came about in recent years in the coastal region of KwaZulu Natal: the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, which was declared South Africa's first world cultural heritage site by UNESCO in 1999.Through interviews with a wide variety of people including barkeepers, managers and the traditional healer, this documentary shows how tourists are drawn by an ecological «walk on the wild side».
The Magic of the Leopard
Every year the «Magic of the Leopard» draws hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world to South Africa. Wildlife tourism is booming like never before and accounting for the creation of boom towns around the Kruger National Park, such as Nelspruit and Hoedspruit. This film shows the potential connection between luxury tourism, the protection of the environment and wild animals, social justice and «empowerment» as a «model for an African Renaissance», without glossing over the problematic parts of ethno-marketing. In contrast to conventional animal documentaries, people and their view of the benefits of conservation are at the heart of this film.
Glowing Seas - Diving at Hatshepsut's Harbour
At the place where the Nile fl ows closest to the Red Sea, a trade route crosses the desert. Since ancient times it connects Luxor, the former royal city of Thebes, to the shore. Today, a natural paradise lies at its source: The bay of El Quseir el Quadim. The most bio-diverse coral reef in the Red Sea has overgrown the walls of the ancient port and buried under the sediments lies the former harbour of the pharaohs, forgotten, at the edge of the Egyptian desert. Why some inhabitants of the oceans display fl uorescence and others do not, is the subject of investigation, but this is by no means the only secret of the bay of El Quseir el Quadim. The rumor persists of a treasure at the bottom of the sea.
Schladming - Magic Mountains
Schladming in Austria is not the best known of the country's ski regions but it's one of the finest - because it keeps a low profile and makes sure the season doesn't dominate the landscape. That also means its wildlife is better protected than in normal mixed regions. Though this region is controlled by men, it is a hot spot for wild animals - and sometimes even the wolves come back to this territory, which once belonged to them.
Redemption Impossible - In the Midst of Humans
you wake up in a box.
It is just high enough for you to stand.
You are well treated:
Every day you are fed through a clack.
Your stay serves a higher purpose.
But you wouldn't know.
At the far end of Austria is one of the most special places on earth. At this focal point meet the moral challenges of our civilization: guilt, responsibility and compensation. In an overgrown former safari park, hermetically sealed off from the rest of the world, there live 40 chimpanzees from the former experimental laboratory of the pharmaceutical company Immuno. Infected with HIV and hepatitis viruses. Traumatized, unhinged and highly aggressive. They hate humans and have every reason to. With them are four female keepers, two of whom were their jailers at the laboratory. Today they manage the unique rehabilitation project, aiming to get the chimpanzees out of their isolation and into species-appropriate groups.
A palace in a private woodland near the city of Vienna; 25 square miles of lonely beauty designed for a tragic empress. The Lainzer Park was a gift from the Emperor to his wife Elisabeth, Empress of Austria, more than a century ago. In the midst of the forest is a garden whose four-hundred-year old oaks have trunks with diameters greater than four metres. The crowns of the trees are host to more than 1,000 insect species, including a hundred different kinds of butterflies. This hidden ecosystem reveals a macro world of astonishing variety, beauty and colour in the trees and on the ground, and follows the free-roaming deer and wild hogs that live so close to the busy centre of Austria's capital city.
When a female barn-owl's home - an old disused barn - is demolished, she has to seek a new place to live. On the way, flying through forests and across grasslands, she encounters most of the common owl species in Central Europe: long- and short- eared owls, little, tawny and eagle owls, some she can live peace- fully beside, others she must shun or risk becoming their prey. During her journey, the film shows how owls fly so silently and hunt so efficiently. It illustrates what they have meant to humans since ancient times, and how they live beside us today. It explains why they have become - unfairly - associated with death. Our owl finally finds a new home, as the guest of a barn owl family, in time to see the new clutch of young following their mother on their first majestic flight.
Ships of the Desert
Camels are masters of the art of survival. They can go for up to ten months without a drop of water, then drink 200 litres in only 15 minutes, and even digest salt water. Domesticated as beasts of burden they laid the foundations of ancient long-distance trade, with salt and incense caravans regularly crossing the most hostile landscapes in the world. Today, camels are still the most important source of milk, meat, leather, wool, fertilizer and fuel in large parts of Africa and Asia, and for the Bedouins of Arabia. Unsurprisingly Bedouins call the camel Al-Ata Allah, the gift of God. Now medical researchers are exploring the miraculous properties of camels' milk - apparently effective against Alzheimer's and cancer! The film shows camels defying the deadly conditions of the desert with their Bedouin owners; valuable decorated fighting camels, cosseted and pitched against one another in Turkey; Saudi Arabia's unique hi-tech camel clinics; and feral camels in Australia, saved from the cull and coralled for re-export to Arabia, where their descendents are specially bred into racing camels worth up to $3 million each.
The INNside Story
A cascade of water pouring from glaciers and a lake in the high mountains, a waterfall tumbling from high up into the valley, a chain of lakes at the base of 10,000-foot peaks, drawn-out gravel banks, mud flats and extensive riparian forests at the river's lower reaches: the Inn has many facets to show, and a fascinating tale to tell. It's the longest tributary of the Danube in Central Europe, flowing through Switzerland, Austria and Bavaria along its 520-kilometer course. The variety of landscapes is reflected in the diversity of the flora and fauna along the river: grayling and trout swarm in its headwaters, dragonflies, frogs and rare water plants populate the oxbows; owls and bats raise their young in the bluffs. It is the river's indestructible power, however, which is most impressive: in spite of many hydropower plants and dams lining its path, the river still carries more than a million tons of gravel and silt downstream every month, before emptying its load into the Danube.
Return of the Hoopoe
Across Europe hoopoes are struggling. But amidst the orchards and vineyards of the Wagram region near Vienna they are thriving. This documentary shows how the small bird with the spectacular crown feathers made a comeback in the heart of Europe and how it is dealing with its neighbours: Aesculapian snakes, foxes and falcons. But it is also the story of one man's dream that came true: Manfred Eckenfellner is the Hoopoe Whisperer, and through his passion the birds found their way back to the Wagram. Even cultivated landscapes like Wagram's vineyards offer countless opportunities for wild animals to find new niches. Kestrels use castle towers to breed and bee-eaters live in the same layers of loess vintners grow their grapes on.
Hyena - Queen of the Masai Mara
It's not the lion or the cheetah, but the hyena that is the real monarch of the Masai Mara - the winner in the competition for prey and territory and the fight for survival. Michigan State University biologist Kay Holekamp and her team have studied the behaviour of hyena clans and show that their matriarchal society is highly organized using sophisticated vocalizations for communication. Hyenas are effective solo hunters but deadly in a coordinated attack.
The city of Vienna is world famous for its position on the River Danube. Every day Vienna's residents consume around 370,000 cubic metres of water, which is not uncommon for a city of over a million people. However the fact that not a single drop comes from the great river is amazing. All of the water that is drunk or cooked with, that flows through showers, sinks and fountains into the city's drains and wastewater treatment plants comes from the alps. Vienna's exclusive water factory lies in the eastern limestone alps. The Rax-Schneeberg region in Lower Austria and the Styrian Hoschschwab are the natural reservoirs from which water has flowed to Vienna for almost 150 years. It follows the natural inclines from the mountains along two pipelines into the federal capital, where it collects in large reservoirs and is distributed via a network that is approximately 3000 km long.
The film shows the routes that this diverted mountain stream takes through the city and how the precious liquid transforms both itself and the city; it explains why Vienna General Hospital is the city's greatest water consumer, accompanies dirty water through one of the most modern wastewater treatment plants in the world and observes its wondrous transformation on its way to the Danube.
Lake Wörthersee - Where Man And Nature Meet
Lake Wörthersee in the Austrian state of Carinthia is not only one of the most beautiful lakes in Austria, but also, in the truest sense of the phrase an "internationally famous stretch of water".
For over 100 years the lake has been the "stage" for world famous composers, architects and Hollywood stars. Austria's first airline came into being on Lake Wörthersee, and the lake's shipping is legendary. But away from the hustle and bustle, the scenically charming lake with its islands and peninsulas is an uncharted natural jewel that has been declared a »natura 2000" area.
For the first time this HD production provides a glimpse behind the scenes at the secrets of Lake Wörthersee.
Little Monsters - Hide & Cheat
This 3D documentary presents some of the animal kingdom's strangest survival strategies. The most startling behavior patterns aren't found among the classic big animals like lions or polar bears, but among nature's smaller creatures: poison dart frogs, chameleons, praying mantises and scorpions, to name but a few. These «Little Monsters» are masters of survival. Until recently, only a handful of scientists had the technical means to study them up close. But now, with its ingenious combination of slow-motion 3D and time-lapse 3D sequences, «Little Monsters» sets new standards in the third dimension, yielding unbelievable scenes the world has never seen nor felt before.
The Alps - Realm of the Golden Eagle
1.200 kilometeres long, massive chains of rock form the most famous mountain range of the world - the Alps.
Malawi and the Lake of Stars
The very year of 1859, when Charles Darwin presented his work «On the Origin of Species» and therefore his theory of evolution to general public, David Livingstone in south-eastern Africa reached a yet undiscovered inland sea of freshwater which the natives in their language called «Nyassa» - simply «the lake».
579km long, 75km wide and more than 700m deep these waters were the third largest lake of Africa which came into existence more than 3 million years ago in the East African Rift Valley.
«A lake of stars!» Livingstone is alleged to have said, as the waves reflected the last rays of the evening sun if the form of thousands of iridescent lights. He didn't know that day how to the point this description of «Lake Malawi», as it is called today, was.
A glance beneath the waves reveals a stunning sight and a unique wonder of nature: The «stars» of Lake Malawi are alive! Colorful and brightly iridescent fish, so called «mouth breeding Cichlids», inhabit the crystal clear waters of this Lake and impress by their spectacular behavior. Through millions of years they have evolved from a single species of river dwelling fish to more than 880 different but closely related species which are endemic to Lake Malawi.
Charles Darwin never got the chance to see this stunning example of evolution. He would have been very pleased.
Teaming Up with Wolves
What is the difference between the domestic dog and the wolf if both of them have been raised under the same conditions? What skills got lost and which were gained in the process of domestication? How far are wolves prepared to co-operate with humans, and do they accept domestic dogs as co-operation partners? To get answers to these questions, researchers Friederike Range, Zsofia Viranyi and Professor Kurt Kotrschal have taken up the task - for the first time ever in canid research - to raise a pack of wolves by hand. The Wolf Science Center currently holds three one-year old timber wolves and six pups. In the beginning the animals need extensive attention. The intimate rapport with humans and wolves primarily happens through feeding with the bottle and close body contact at night. It is not yet possible to say which task dogs can do better or worse than wolves, if any. Only one thing is clear: wolves act more independent from humans. The film follows the four American pups for a full year and records their upbringing, their progress in the daily work, their social development and their behavior in the various testing centers.
Zambezi - The Thundering River
It's one of the least-known rivers on earth - yet it flows for nearly 2,800 kilometers and belongs to six countries. The Zambezi is the fourth-longest river in Africa, and along its course it sweeps through a series of natural spectacles - from the blooming of a thousand musasa trees to the rains that will flood its banks, anointing the land with rich silt. But none compete with the river's crescendo - the Victoria Falls - one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Zambezi is a haven and a source of life to a vast array of wild animals and humans alike. Filmed throughout the changing seasons, we follow the river in Part 1 from its headwaters to the thundering power of the Victoria Falls. In Part 2 the Zambezi gently flows towards the Indian Ocean, taking in some of Nature's grandest wildlife spectacles. The story of the Zambezi is one of constant change, of life and death - it is the story of Africa itself.
Rift Valley - The Great Rift
Emerging 35 million years ago as a mysterious rift along the surface of the Earth, this 6,000 kilometer-long fault line between eastern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula has created not only a unique geological phenomenon, but also landscapes of immense beauty. This award-winning three-parter takes us on a breathtaking journey along several of the most beautiful and fascinating landscapes on earth, using latest HD filming techniques to provide magnificently enhanced vistas and astounding insights into our planet's treasury of wildlife.
So Long, Fu Long
The 2007 birth of a baby panda in Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo caused a flurry of excitement. Fu Long, the «happy dragon», was the first baby panda ever to be naturally conceived and born in Europe. From the beginning the black and white bundle of fur was the darling of onlookers and visitors to the zoo.
Director Heinz Leger documented this sensation and followed the little one's development from his very first day. In November 2009 the time finally came for the adolescent panda to leave Vienna. This film looks back on the highlights of the past two years, how Fu Long practised getting into his transport crate, and accompanies him on his journey to China. Upon arrival, initially Fu Long will live with other young pandas in a small community of bachelors before hopefully producing his own offspring in a few years time and so contributing to the preservation of his species.
Sea of Creepy Monsters
The Lembeh strait to the north of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi is a unique hotspot of marine biodiversity. Countless amazing creatures thrive in the underwater landscape around Lembeh Island. Over four years, a wildlife filmmaker couple spent many months in the region capturing hundreds of hours of behavior, lots of it never filmed before. Among other unique behavior they were able to shoot an Anglerfish swallowing a Lionfish - a scene resembling Godzilla gulping down Dracula! Elegant seahorses, thumb-splitting Mantis shrimps, and deadly mini-octopuses are just some of the remarkable creatures most underwater films tend to overlook. Only the ground-breaking macro photography in this film can reveal the awe and beauty of life - in the reef of little monsters.
Messengers of the Gods
For the first time this film shows exactly how butterflies live and how they develop through their different phases. The documentary travely the entire world and includes numerous first film recordings and rare species. These include the flesh-eating caterpillar from Hawaii and Malaysia's unique blood-sucking moth. This "Vampire" is even able to transmit AIDS.
Magic of the Mountains
This is the story of a land, where forces of nature are at play - beyond all things that a human can ever dominate or be able to conquer. The birth of Tyrol was one of collisions, where previous far apart continents were conjoined, wedged together and piled up on top of each other. The result is a steep world of diversity on the smallest area: depending on the depth of a valley or the height of a mountain ridge, depending on its direction and position at the edge or in the middle of the Alps, depending on whether its slope is steep or flat, there is a spot in Tyrol that is icy or mild, lush or paltry, dry or full of water. This film presents the fascinating world of the high mountains with all their diverse flora and fauna and the living conditions throught the seasons.
Link with the Lynx
With large tufted ears, a short tail and a trusting look, one could almost believe that lynxes are just big cats. In their hearts, however, they are wild and untamed. They are the tigers of Europe. This is the story of a hard earned friendship. On the one side is Milos Majda, a quiet, nature loving ranger at the Mala Fatra national park in Slovakia. On the other side are two small lynxes, fresh from the zoo. With Milos' help, it's hoped the lynxes will return to the home of their ancestors in the forests of Mala Fatra in the heart of Slovakia. For two years Milos Majda and the biologist and animal filmmaker Tomas Hulik follow the journey of the lynx siblings from their warm nursery inside a cabin into the wilderness.
Secrets of the Flooded Forest - Danube National Park
After beginning in Vienna, the Danube riverbank forests extend to the gates of Bratislava, linking the two capitals like a green ribbon, forming a unique wildlife habitat in the heart of Europe. A few years ago a 36-kilometer section was turned into a national park that now protects the last undeveloped stretch of the Danube and also the last riparian zone of its size in Central Europe. In the forests along the Danube the water's power can once again influence plant and animal habitats. Everything here is in motion and subject to constant change. Growth and destruction, birth and death are integral to this landscape. And so an outstanding variety of habitats and species has been created: white-tailed eagles breed in the woods, mud minnows and pond turtles populate the old arms of the river, beavers build their dams on the banks. The Danube National Park: a hidden wilderness full of beauty and drama, and a refuge for an astounding variety of flora and fauna.
Gene Pool of the Alps - Alpine Zoo Innsbruck
The Alpine Zoo Innsbruck is unique in many ways. Situated at 750 metres above sea level, it is regarded as Europe's highest-altitude zoo. It covers approximately 4 hectares and, with 150 different species, is home to the world's most complete collection of alpine animals. This makes it purely a themed zoo, where only animals from the alpine area are kept and displayed - there are no lions, elephants or giraffes here. The film concentrates above all on the zoo's dedicated and highly specialised breeding and resettlement projects. Absolute rarities that worldwide are only kept in the Tyrolean alpine zoo are also presented. The documentary shows in an entertaining way how fascinating Austria's nature, its exploration and preservation are.
Extreme! - From Valley Deep to Mountain High
In the near future, some of the settlement areas will become uninhabitable, and new land will need to be tapped into because of climate change. Are there any limitations to realizing the impossible? The third part of filmmaker Udo Maurer's voyage through the world's extremes compares life at sea level with the highest mountains of the world. From the lagoons and palm beaches of the South Sea Islands whose highest peak is often only soem few meters high to the highlands of Ethiopia at four thousand metres. From the shores of Dead Sea, located at 408 meters below sea level, to the 5400 meter high La Rinconada, the gold minder city, in the Peruvian Andes. La Rinconada is not like any other place, it is the highest inhabited place on Earth. If someone dares to go that long stretch, it is only for one reason: to become rich. In fact, there is gold in La Rinconada - and that attracts adventurers from all over the world.
Extreme! - From Drought to Deluge
In the 21st century, the average rainfall will increase and likewise its intensity. Many party of Earth will therefore drown in rain and snow, whilst other parts will dry out. What should we expect? How should we deal with these new conditions? How to adapt to it? One answer can be found there where humankind has already gotten used to exceptionally high rainfalls, there where there is never a drop of rainfall, and there where rain and snowfall reach world records. The French Island, La Réunion, in the Indian Ocean offers almost certainly a guarantee for torrential rainfall. When it comes to world records, La Réunion is by far the champion. The big legend amidst the places with the most rain is the city Cherrapunjee in Eastern India. Cherrapunjee is proud to call itself the wettest place on Earth. Here one has to get acclimated to five months of continous rainfall. According to the most recent measurements, the amount of downpour is even increasing. On the other extreme there is the Atacama desert in Chile. It is considered the driest desert on Earth. Allegedly, some places have not even seen rainfall for four thousand years.
First On Mount Everest
In 1953, Edmund Hillary was the first person to conquer Mount Everest, the world's highest mountain. At least, that's what the history books tell us. But German researcher Jochen Hemmle casts doubt on this belief. Just below the summit of Mount Everest he and his team discovered the well-preserved body of George Mallory, who in 1924 had made an assault on the peak with his climbing partner Andrew Irvine. Did Mallory stand on the summit 30 years before Hillary? To find an answer to this question, we follow Jochen Hemmle on a second risky search expedition to the roof of the world.
Available in 1 x 50min and 1 x 90min.
The Fire of Life: Power of Destruction - Source of Creation
Since the beginning of time the natural force of fire has formed and influenced life on Earth. This documentary shows you the fascinating magic of fire. It takes you to the greatest fire landscapes on our planet, showing the sophisticated and unbelievable strategies plants, animals and native inhabitants have developed in order to use the flames to their advantage. It gives you an inside view of scientists experimenting with huge infernoes in order to learn about modern fire management. This film draws a new image, not about lethal and destructive flames, but about this fascinating, lifegiving source.
Borderland - Nature Divided
When the «Iron Curtain» between former Czechoslovakia and Austria fell around 20 years ago it did not only represent release for human beings. The border's dissolution was also an epiphany for the flora and fauna of the two neighbouring countries. Although the same basic environmental conditions prevailed, development was at times completely different. The long term treatment, usage and exploitation of the environment, dictated as it was by differing political and economic concerns, meant that certain plants and wild animals in one region could spread unhindered while just a few kilometres away, on the other side of the barbed-wire fence, they remained totally unknown or had long been exterminated.
The common history of both countries and their unique «Natural Islands» of moors, marshland and disused border country in the «Dead Zone», as well as the search for rare animal species which found refuge there, forms the focus of this Universum voyage of discovery.
Arlberg - The Hidden Paradise
Snow masses pile up in abundance on the famous slopes. The wind creates bizarre snowdrifts on the steep mountain ridges. The Arlberg is the embodiment of an idyllic winter and the cradle of alpine skiing. However, this famous ski resort offers a lot more than you might expect. Untouched nature is preserved in the barely accessible cliffs. Winter is the toughest time for ibexes and chamois. The meagre fodder is buried deep under the snow and the animals can only find it where avalanches have cleared the slopes. Wintry splendour is only one facet - Arlberg's full beauty remains hidden under the snow for almost half the year...
Mount St. Helens - Life from Zero
In 1980 Mount St. Helens exploded in one of the most powerful eruptions of the 20th century. Everything living was buried beneath 300 feet of avalanche debris, covered with steaming mud, topped with a superheated layer of frothy rock from deep within the centre of the earth. It seemed as though St. Helens might remain wasteland forever. Then one day, everything changed. A single lupine plant bursting through the hundreds of acres of pumice was the first sign of the return of life.
What has happened since then remains the secret of the award winning biologist Charlie Crisafulli - the only scientist who has stayed with the site for over the last 27 years.
For the first time exclusively he will provide an insight into this amazing resurrection. Original natural history sequences using macro-photography capture the first moments of rebirth. Aerial views and archive footage of the crater and the surrounding landscape as well as underwater filming combined with state-of-the-art CGI will visualize the ecological miracle. «Life from Zero» tells a unique story of determination and perseverance - of nature struggling for survival and one man sacrificing all to witness that miracle of nature's return unfolding.
The life of dolphins in captivity is ultimately a sad one. They live in small enclosed environments. They depend on their caretakers for food and activities - boredom becomes a problem. They are much less self-sufficient than they are in the wild. The most frightening example of dolphins in captivity is the use and training of dolphins to kill divers, to search for mines and to attack enemy ships as live «kamikaze» torpedos for the Native of countries such as the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. It also traces in detail the dramatic release of three of the US Navy's 100 dolphins - Buck, Luther and Jake - and their life at the hands of the US government.
Expert and activist Rick O'Berry, better known as the «personal trainer» of Flipper is playing a big part in this film. His newest 13 award winning documentary «THE COVE», where Rick O'Berry documents the massacre of the dolphins in Japan will be shown in the cinemas right now.
Komodo - Kingdom of the Dragon
At the heart of the Indonesian archipelago lies the Komodo region, a unique paradise where natural selection has run its course for millions of years, without the interference of humankind. This group of islands is one of the last home of reptile domination, and the ruler of this kingdom is the Komodo Dragon. «Kingdom of the Dragon» explores the magnificent bio-diversity found both above and below the waters of the Komodo National Park, and the growing threat of human encroachment into the dragon's domain.
Surrounded by barren cities, sterile concrete, more and more animals are losing their last places of retreat. Vienna continues to grow inexorably but nature sprouts and and re-conquers its territory. More than two thousand species of plants can be found in the city alone, as well as half of all Austrian breeding birds and two thirds of the country's mammals.
With a population of around 3 million, Nairobi is one of the largest cities in Africa. However this metropolis is surrounded by wilderness that extends into the city itself. Just a few metres from the airport lies the Nairobi National Park, with its vast savannah and majestic wildlife. Beside the highway, separated only by a wire fence, lions, hyenas, giraffes and rhinoceros wander through grassland, while hundreds of marabous breed in the tree-lined streets in the city centres and scavenge on rubbish dumps. Hordes of apes entertain (and infuriate) picknickers in the city's parks; leopards hunt pets in wealthy suburbs, while hyenas scavenge in the city's shantytowns. This is a journey of discovery through a great city full of contradictions and teeming with nature, where humans and animals live together as - sometimes unwilling - neighbours.
Termites - The Inner Sanctum
They cannot tolerate sunlight; some of them are even blind. However they are one of the world's most ingenious builders: Termites. They build high-risers that are, relatively speaking, 25 times higher than the Empire State Building in New York. They are the only animals that have managed to build an air-conditioning system without electricity. Their nests are architectural masterpieces that rise up to eight meters from the ground and contain brood chambers for larvae, corridors for transportation and fungal gardens for nutrition. «Termites - The Inner Sanctum» takes us along a journey into another world. Visit the skillfully built termite mounds in the savannah, termite nests in the tropical rainforest with their colossal columns of termites foraging for food - and the termites that wreak terrible damage to wood-framed homes. Filmed in the US, Kenya and Borneo.
The Saga of the White-Tailed Eagle
The sea eagle was once widespread throughout almost all of Europe and graced the coats of arms of many different countries. During the 19th and 20th centuries it was driven to the brink of extinction by hunting, the increased use of pesticides and the destruction of its habitat. This touching animal drama recounts the true life story of one individual bird, observed over the course of a year. Beginning with its birth in a lowland forest in Central Europe the film team follows the eagle's first outing with its brothers and sisters and subsequent distant migrations to places as far away as Scandinavia. Finally it chronicles its dramatic lead poisoning, recovery and resettlement in a nature reserve.
Rose - Queen of Flowers
One of the most famous varieties - the Gloria Dei or Peace Rose - has elevated the rose to a symbol of world peace. Via the most successful garden rose of all time, this documentary retraces the history of rose cultivation in Europe. The film presents the biological features of roses and explains why they are capable of producing such a stunning abundance of varieties.
In 25 years the nuclear wasteland around Chernobyl has re-emerged as a complete ecosystem and one of Europe's largest wildlife sanctuaries. And yet, it is radioactive. Where humans are unable to live, nature is flourishing. Somewhere in this nuclear wilderness, there are packs of radioactive wolves, wandering through abandoned towns. Here they live in large packs as they used to. There are now an estimated 300+ wolves making the most of this deceptively beautiful landscape. But are these wolves mutants? Have they been affected by nuclear contamination after the '86 explosion? This film embarks on a journey to investigate the fate of the wolves and other animals in the contaminated wilderness.
Puszta - Land of Salt and Sand
Less than an hour's drive south of Hungary's capital Budapest, Central Europe's last and only wandering sand dunes surprise the traveller. They are in continuous motion, shaping a landscape one would only expect in Africa. The Puszta is home to a unique wildlife community including wolves, steppe polecats, flocks of great bustards and scores of other exotic birds.
Styria - Life in the Heart of Austria's Wine Country
This is a film about the people living in Styria's wine-growing region and how their daily lives are continually challenged by their natural environment. The internationally acclaimed director Curt Faudon paints a rich picture of daily life in the southern Styrian hills, letting his eye wander as far south as Croatia's Istrian coast - a region which was once the centre of wine production, agriculture and fishing in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy.
Secrets of the Adriatic
For a long time, the Adriatic Sea used to be Central Europe's only link to the orient. This small sea became a symbol of entry to the vast, exotic world, allowing the city of Venice to call itself «Queen of the Seven Seas». Cultural riches are embedded on the Adriatic's coast against an unparalleled natural backdrop. On the northern coasts of the Adriatic stretches one of Europe's largest wetlands, which is not only a paradise for migratory birds and waders, but also the northernmost colony of flamingoes. This film follows the trail of the highly endangered griffon vultures whose last colonies are to be found on just a few islands and some rocky cliffs of the Dalmatian coast. It reveals a range of animals that even the most tenacious of Adriatic holidaymakers rarely see, including sand vipers, mongooses and Greek tortoises in the olive groves.
Mystery of the Fairy Circles
When it rains in the Namib, a thick carpet of grass covers the sand and stony desert. But this green layer is punctuated by bare circular patches, as regular as if drawn by a compass. And there are not just one or two of them, but hundreds of thousands. Observed from the air, they could be innumerable golf bunkers - or an abstract painting: «Red dots on green background». They appear between 60 to 120 kilometres from the coast and Stretch from South Africa to Angola. They are bordered by a ring of tall, thick grass, which stands out from the surrounding sparse vegetation. But where did these mysterious «fairy circles» come from? Are they caused by mineral compounds in the ground? Did poisonous plants or poison gas contaminate the subsoil? Are they the work of insects? Or is it the impact of meteorites that is responsible? And what crucial role do they play in the ecosystem? Three scientific teams have conflicting theories, but finally the amazing secret of the fairy circles is revealed!
Limits of Light
We recognize our world primarily through the sense of vision, yet the light we use to see by is only a tiny fraction of the electro- magnetic spectrum that surrounds us and impacts on our lives. From X-rays to microwaves, from ultraviolet to infrared, we explore the world of colour. We find out what colour really is, how our colour vision works, and we explore insects that can see into the ultraviolet, snakes that sense invisible infrared radiation and birds whose colour vision is far more sensitive than ours. Following the multiple award-winning «Limits of Perception» and «Time Limits», this is the third part of the trilogy that explores beyond the limits of our everyday perceptions.
Zugspitze - Gem of the Alps
«The Zugspitze» at the German-Austrian border is an alpine region of fantastic contrasts. Highmoor, lakes, waterfalls, mountain peaks and ski slopes form a magnificent natural scenery together. Away from mass tourism, and meeting people whose life still revolves around the regional flora and fauna, the film traces remote, un-spoilt reserves of «The Zugspitze» region.
The Wild Balkans
Wolves hunt their prey in the valleys between high-ranging dunes, bears and lynxes wander through dense primeval forest, and the big lakes are a magnet for hundreds of bird species. That is the so-called «Balkan». Today the «Balkans» stand for a Europe that hardly exists elsewhere. The mountains of Montenegro harbour one of Europe's last primeval forests with trees over 400 years of age. In the difficultly accessible hinterland we find the Tara National Park with the deepest gorge in the Karst Mountains - the 1.300 meters deep Tara gorge. Nearby Lake Skadar is home for 270 species of birds; no other lake in Europe can claim such diversity. Europe's last coastal forest area can be found in Albania and in Bulgaria and Romania huge bat colonies live in the cave-dotted mountains. In Serbia one can cross the «European Sahara», a desert covering a surface of 30.000 hectares.
This documentary takes us on the journey through untouched wilderness in a region that has disreputably been called a powder keg and where conflicts have drawn attention away from its hidden treasures.
Land of a Thousand Vineyards
Italy, California and South Africa are not the only places famous for their wines. Right in the heart of Europe, Austria can also look back over a past suffused with music and wine, both of which remain inseparably linked to this day. It is the vastness of Austria's «Weinviertel» or wine growing region that captivates visitors. No other region of Austria suggests this feeling of endless landscape quite so vividly. A soft, hilly landscape, blessed with a warm climate, that is cultivated by humans but has maintained much of its original character - a quiet landscape with a considerable history and hidden treasures. And the Weinviertel hasn't been given its name for nothing - wine growing defines the land in all its forms and has always been the distinguishing feature for the inhabitants of this unique region.
The Karst - Life Between Heaven and Hell
A scraggy land of harsh beauty but full of deception as well. This film explores the hidden charms of the stony cliffs along the Gulf of Trieste, the original home of the white horses from Lipica and portrays the inhabitants of this Karst region, who are simple people, deeply affected by the vicissitudes of European history and the hardships of life. The Karst plateau, perforated like a sponge absorbing everything that flows through it, provides humans and nature a life amid water wind and stone. Wild rivers roar through the dome-like caves of its underworld, giving an impression similar to Dante's Inferno. Niko Luin and his wife Kathrina, like many other farmers in the region are avid explorers of the caves. Together with the Universum-team they explore this bizarre underworld on this fascinating and sometimes perilous journey into the underground, which during some years can swallow entire bodies of water like Lake Cerknica.
Year of the Hedgehog
It's springtime, the air is tepid, the skylarks chirp, and spring flowers cover the meadows and the forest grounds. Out of a pile of leaves a fluttery, sniffling snout tip appears: it's a hedgehog awakening from its winter sleep heading into the light of a new year, having only two things in mind: food and finding a partner. This documentary accompanies for a year one of the most popular yet still unknown animals of our landscape. The hedgehog is not only part of the oldest mammal species on our planet, newest findings disclose that it will stay among us for many years to come. Neither the massive destruction of natural habitats nor the horrendous road kill can seriously endanger its population. Award-winning wildlife filmmaker Kurt Mündl will present never before seen details and behavioural patterns of the spiky fellow. With special camera techniques he is in pursuit of the most interesting questions. What does a hedgehog really eat and drink? What do their newborns look like and do they have quills? Is a hedgehog immune against snakevenom and why has it been a symbol of luck over the last centuries?
Extreme! - From Freezer to Furnace
This is a journey to the hottest and coldest places on earth, where people go about their everyday lives under extreme conditions - and even enjoy it. The Northern Pole of Cold, where the northern hemisphere's lowest air temperature of minus 71.2 degrees Celsius has been recorded, lies in north-east Siberia. The village of Oymyakon is the coldest inhabited place on earth - a real «natural freezer». Thousands of miles away lies America's answer to the record-holding Russian village: Furnace Creek, headquarters of Death Valley National Park. In 1913, 56.7 degrees Celsius were measured here. But the world's official hottest place is the city of Al'Aziziyah in Libya, a gateway to the Sahara desert, just 25 miles from Tripoli and the Mediterranean Sea. It holds the world record of 58 degrees Celsius - in the shade! Another infamous blast furnace is the Danakil Depression in the borderland between Eritrea and Ethiopia - one of the most forbidding deserts on earth, a vsolcanic wasteland almost 150 meters below sea level, which boasts the highest measured annual average temperature: 34.6 degrees Celsius.
Sky Hunters - The World of the Dragonfly
This film presents dragonflies as they have never been seen before. Fascinating close up shots take us into the world of these insects, which have lived on earth since the age of the dinosaurs. Spectacular super slow motion shots and elaborate computer animation uncover, for the first time, how dragonflies capture their prey at lightning speed while flying.
City of Steel, City of Life
Linz, the capital of the Province of Upper Austria, serves as European Capital of Culture in 2009. In recent years, Linz has blossomed into a model European city that places its technology- and knowledge-based urban industrial centre at equal footing to its manifold cultural events. Against this dynamic backdrop, Linz has similarly managed to demonstrate respect to nature by including ecological factors on all levels of urban planning. Linz 09 - the city in which industry, culture and nature melt into one. This film takes the viewer on an adventure trip of a special kind by following the everyday lives of wild animals that have chosen, of all places in the world, Linz as their habitat. It ventures through the Old Town with quiet paws and then takes you by nosedive to the old tower of the cathedral or in agile leaps through the botanical gardens. Linz is presented through an extraordinary angle - whether sniffed out by dogs and cats, seen by falcon or fish or experienced by bumble bees or foxes.
River without Frontiers
The Morava river with its forests is one of the most beautiful and ecologically valuable riverscapes featuring the richest biodiversity in all of Central Europe. Like a green ribbon, the riverine forests of the Morava - together with those of the Danube and the Dyje - link the Alps with the Carpathians, forming a bridge between Eastern and Central Europe. The infl uence of the Pannonian climate with its hot and dry summers combines with the slowly receding high waters to form a mosaic of extremely different habitats: moist meadows lie close to sand dunes, riverine forests alternate with dry primeval oak forests. This enormous diversity of habitats creates a refuge for animal and plant species, a specifi c composition that cannot be found in any other place.
Nature Tech - How Engineers Are Inspired by Nature's Top Designs
Why are blossoms never dirty and can we also make our cars that way? Why can geckos walk on the ceiling and can we use their tricks to create better adhesives? Why is the spider's web tougher than steel? Exciting new developments in computer technology, chemistry and physics are now enabling us to understand Nature's designs better than ever before. Scientists are not simply trying to copy nature - they are taking hints, extracting principles and applying winning designs of evolution in a new, human context.
The Four Alps
The European Alps are the most famous mountains on Earth. However, there are three other mountain ranges that owe their names to the first European Explorers, one in the Northern and two in the Southern Hemisphere. The European and Japanese Alps are almost identical worlds yet the Australian and the Southern Alps of New Zealand couldn't be more different. This film is a fast-paced roller coaster ride from the top to down-under.
Madeira - Emerald in the Atlantic
Madeira is considered as «the green emerald» in the Atlantic ocean. The island's mountains are overgrown with million-years-old primeval forests. The Laurisilva forest, the largest of its kind in Europe, covers an area of 22,000 hectares and has been proclaimed to be UNESCO World Natural Heritage in 1999. The majority of all plant and animal species that occur on Madeira are global endemics. In his film, multi-award winner Kurt Mündl tells the story of discovery and colonization of the archipelago and shows endangered nature and traditional culture in extraordinary pictures: From whales to Europe's smallest bird, from traditional sugar cane processing to the centuries-old craft of basket-making.
O-Two - The Molecule that Made Our World
Using latest CGI combined with live-action reconstructions, this film follows the journey of a molecule of oxygen, an adventure that takes place over a span of thousands of millions of years. The story begins with the photosynthesis of a bacteria - and in doing so it produces the molecule of oxygen gas. The way of the oxygen unfolds and at times it is torn apart and becomes part of other molecules. It is involved in the conflagrations that accompanied the death of the dinosaurs after the great asteroid impact, then travels through a human body to combine with haemoglobin in the blood and to take part in chemical reactions in individual cells. For a while the oxygen even spends some time as ozone, protecting earth from deadly radiation but then connects to a carbon dioxide molecule to help warming earth and bring about unknown consequences of climate change. Following this fascinating story, the film explores key moments in the history of earth and science in an unusual and visual way. «O-Two» is an intriguing and ambitious journey through biology, chemistry and physics.
Salt - Tears of the Earth
There are millions of solutions to the problems of survival but there is only one substance that has awakened all organisms to life: salt. No creature can live without this magic mineral - and no living organism can produce it on its own. Amoebas, algae or humans - all life-forms are completely at the mercy of this simple chemical compound. In all bodies of water on earth, there is salt in abundance, and animals and humans have always been able to extract the valuable crystals from water - directly through their organs or with the aid of evaporation in salt lagoons. But on dry land, the white gold needed to be laboriously mined - sometimes at danger to life and limb. Enormous power and lavish wealth developed in the few privileged areas where salt production flourished. In its narrative structure the aim of the film is to link the historical aspects of salt production at various locations. The three principal aspects - nature - man - civilization - are intertwined to form the main thread of the film.
Jackals - Out of Africa
In some cultures, jackals were pursued and condemned as pests that fed on parasite-infested carcasses. In others, such as Ancient Egypt, they were divinely celebrated. This documentary accompanies a young scientist, who is drawn to these mythical mammals, and takes us on a journey to explore golden jackals, from Egypt to the barren hills of Greece. Other showplaces are the reeds of the Hungarian Kis Balaton, the Romanian Danube delta, the Austrian alpine pastures and the forests of Croatia, where the jackals share their living space with wolves and bears.
Trees of Tempting Fruit
The Mostviertel, Austria's pear country, stretches from the river Danube to the Alps, right in the heart of Austria. Pear trees are scattered across the landscape and produce 200 different kinds of pears. Their naturally tart fruits have been used for centuries to extract the delicious pear cider (perry). As production has grown over time, »Most«, the Austrian name for cider, has given the charming region its name. From a geographical point of view, pear country is spared the climatic extremes of other Alpine regions in Austria and has thus become one of Europe's remaining sanctuaries for a variety of rare, altogether 3000 different - including some endangered - species: the little owl, the European otter, the hoopoe, or the curlew.
Vienna's Danube Island, a river island artificially created some 20 years ago, has become a recreational retreat for tens of thousands of city dwellers. To tourists, it is an attraction praised in every traveller's guide. No-one associates the island with wildlife and wilderness, and yet, unnoticed by most visitors, a secret army of wild animals has conquered the island and turned it into their own hunting and breeding grounds.
The Tiger and the Monk
Wat Pa Luangta Bua is a monastery of meditation, situated far away from any civilization, about 200 kilometers west of Bangkok, and here, silence, peace and harmony reign. Every afternoon, a daily ritual is observed - nonchalant Buddhist monks take their ten 3-5 year old tigers out on a leash for a walk through the bordering region of Burma. They dote upon their tigers, feed them and celebrate them as their most sacred animal. The monks treat grown-up animals with reverence and respect although they cuddle and play with the cubs.
The tigers were once the «aristocrats» of the jungle of South East Asia but today, this undisputed ruler of the animal kingdom is one of the most endangered species in the world. Three of the eight subspecies are already extinct, a fate that could also overcome the others. Only an estimated 500 to 2000 tigers of Indochina still inhabit the intact jungle regions of South China, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia and Vietnam. This documentary portrays the harmonious relationship between predators and humans without disregarding the monk's maxim that «a tiger will always be a tiger, even if it feeds from the hand. It will always be a wild animal».
Pastures in the Sky
A dairymaid in Styria, a sheep farmer in Eastern Tyrol and a shepard in Vorarlberg offer insight into a life that is characterised through beautiful scenery as well as through a culture immensely rich in traditions. Not only does the spectacular cattle drive up to the Lechtaler Alps, when 450 animals have to make it across a ridge 2500 meters above sea level, impress the spectator. In addition to that, it is the newfound appreciation of the alp as a vacationing place that captures the attention. For example, the rustic huts of Oberstalleralm in Eastern Tyrol are completely booked throughout the year 2007, despite the fact that there are no professional feel goodanimators on hand but the main attractions are comprised of a simple wood stove, running water and fresh milk. Maria Magdalena Koller shows life as it is on the Alp, one of the most traditional ways of living in Austria - unfolding within the breathtakingly impressive theatre of the Austrian mountains.
Tasmania - Paradise at the End of the World
Tasmania makes an impression with its unique landscape, architecture and scenery. Its largely unknown wilderness has always attracted adventurers and scientists. One of these courageous men was the Austrian botanist, Gustav Weindorfer. His adventurous expedition lead him to Cradle Mountain. He was deeply moved by this spectacular world of mountains and gave his utmost to bring that wonderful experience to others. Today the Cradle Mountain National Park allows visitors from all over the world to indulge in this breathtaking landscape.
Resettling the Bearded Vultures in the Alps
Today there are 52 bearded vultures living wild in the Alps again: in Austria, Italy, France and Switzerland. The efforts for this very successful international nature conservation project come together in the little Lower Austrian town of Haringsee: this is where the breeding station is located. All the stages in the life of the bearded vulture are recorded, from the hatching of the chicks to the preparation for setting the animals free, all the way to their impressive flights through the Alps. But the film also shows how hard it is to breed a species of animal no longer found in the wild, using animals from zoos, and to resettle them in their original habitat.
The Otter's Trail
During the mid-80s, zoologists still regarded the European otter as a species on the verge of extinction. What they did not take into consideration was the fact that the shy aquatic animals are extremely adaptable. Using their intelligence and cleverness, they have been able to re-conquer parts of Europe during the last few years, including their old homeland, Austria. However, their settlements in Austria are small islands and the correspondingly small populations are still very much endangered. The documentary tracks down the otter in the Austrian Waldviertel and southern Styria and leads to the extensive areas of ponds in the neighboring Czech Republic and Hungary, which have become a true otter paradise, thanks to devoted nature conservationists.
«Napoli Dogs» is a soap opera set in the charming harbor side of Naples. More resembling a feature film than a documentary we follow the fate of a pack of street dogs as they struggle for survival. Love affairs and gang raids guaranteed! Seven dogs, utterly diverse characters with diverse looks, are the inner circle of a notorious four-legged street gang, the Napoli Dogs. They are known all around Naples and feared by many. When it comes to staking out their territory, they can be very tough. The perseverance of the scruffy males makes owners of pretty, well-groomed lady dogs shudder. Helplessly, restaurant chefs watch their compassionate guests feed their prime cut steaks to the clever gang.
The film tells the story of runaway domestic dogs braving the city jungle, of their amazing survival strategies and of the rituals reconfirming the bonds between the members of the pack.
Tales from the Vienna Woods
Vienna is the world's only metropolis with a large, continuous forest area in its immediate vicinity - the Vienna Woods, an area blessed with an unexpected wealth of animal and plant life.
A team of natural history film-makers will pursue the wild boar, stalk the stags and crawl with the ants to portray the living Vienna Woods over the period of one year.
Mountains in the Sun
The landscape of southern Lower Austria is characterised by the last undulations of the Alps. This film takes a cinematic journey through these so-called «sunny mountains», showing their diverse nature and cultures in a comprehensive portrait of the region and its inhabitants. Some farmers in the region breed «alpine salmon», while others have developed a sideline - using traditional methods to extract the resin from black pine trees, which can then be used to produce cosmetics, turpentine and even resin for the strings of musical instruments. The area between the Rax and Buckliger Welt is popular with the Viennese. Almost on their doorstep, the region is a paradise for extreme sports junkies, nature lovers, culture fans and to those looking for rest and recuperation. Foreign tourists also discovered this magnificent landscape many years ago. Experience this scenic treasure in the heart of Europe with its breathtaking panoramas, unique animal and plant life and tradition-conscious inhabitants.
Blue Danube, Black Sea
Romantic river banks and unspoilt nature - wherever the Danube flows these types of landscapes dominate. This comprehensive cinematic portrait of Europe's second longest river presents numerous scenes of heavenly beauty along the banks of the Danube, as well as the tension between humans and nature and civilisation and wilderness. Dams and power stations alternate with sections of natural wilderness along this mighty river, which flows through metropolises such as Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest and untouched natural landscapes like the Danube-Auen national park and the Kopac?ki Rit. Further south, between the Carpathian mountain range in Romania and the Serbian Ore mountains, the river passes through the so called Iron Gate, 137 kilometres of gorges that are among the largest in Europe. The final opening of the Danube into the Black Sea couldn't be more spectacular. The mighty river expires in a unique labyrinth of water, mud and reeds - the Danube delta. It is the last remaining major river delta in Europe and the largest reed bed on earth, used by huge colonies of pelicans, sea ravens, sea eagles and spoonbills to nest and breed.
Land of the Falling Lakes
The Plitvice Lakes National Park, the oldest Nationalpark in Europe, is located in Croatia`s Dinaric Mountains where the olm, lynx, black stork and Ural owl live together in an enchanted world of thunderous waterfalls, cascading lakes subterranean caverns. The film follows the course of the water taking its wondrous paths through the limestone.
The Dragon Mountain
No lucky dragon, this. Starvation festers beneath the shimmering green of its skin. But to the creatures that live along its flanks, it can be a bountiful provider as well as a remorseless destroyer. Today we call it the Drakensberg, or «Dragon Mountain». «Drakensberg» is a dynamic documentary journey through the life of this ever-astonishing mountain. It is also a story of animal survival in a landscape of overwhelming, pitiless power.
Strange Encounters of the Third Kind
They are everywhere - and have been since time immemorial: in the air, in the water and on the land. From the very beginning they have been part and parcel of life. Yet many aspects of these organisms remain inexplicable, even to modern science. Despite their obvious multiplicity, we classify them all in one collective term: fungi. Some 100,000 species have been identified to date worldwide. But the actual number will probably be far higher, because virtually every expedition to tropical countries brings new species to light. Some fungus specialists estimate that there might be around 1.5 million species of fungus on our planet.
In this film multi-award winner director Kurt Mündl follows their tracks all over the world.
Alien Insect - The Praying Mantis
Worldwide there are 2.000 species of praying mantis. This film explores the world of these «real aliens». In unprecedented images it shows how mantises live, reproduce and die. But biological processes are not the film's only focus. It features the largest and rarest representatives of the mantis family, several of which have never been filmed before.
The Secret of Gardens
The film pursues the secrets of the monumental garden of Schönbrunn Castle, André Heller's gently and barely controlled garden of fantasy and magic in Gardone on Lake Garda and the lovingly cared for natural garden of a garden enthusiast. The garden as the earthly paradise of the ordinary man, the artist and even the Emperor, a refuge full of surprises that only need to be discovered. In the passing of the seasons, the film shows the beauty and the aesthetics , but also the power of nature and the adventurous world of living things in the garden.
The Carpathians - Life in Dracula's Forests
The Carpathian mountains, Europe's largest and mightiest natural bulwark, are coming to life again. When the shepherd Vasile wanders the forests of Count Dracula, his path leads him across superb cultural landscapes formed by the struggle with Mother Nature, shaped by ancient myths and customs. There he meets Delia, a contemporary young girl with a strong desire for the «old life». Eight months later in winter, when the harsh life of the wandering shepherd comes to a brief standstill, the circle closes. Vasile marries Delia, and out there in the ice and snow, the shepherds wrap up warm again in their white furs.
Sudan - The Nubian Caravans
They are faster than race horses, more stubborn than donkeys and tougher than any other creature tamed by man. Since time immemorial, camels have determined the lifestyle of the various nomadic tribes in Sudan. This documentary introduces us to the tribes of the Hadendowas and Rashidis and takes a look on their life together with their camels, their breeding and training. The most important events every spring are big festivities with sword fights and a camel race for hundreds of miles. Thousands of men sometimes ride for days to come and compete with their animals. It shows us unadulterated nomadic tribes who have lived by their traditions in the same way for centuries. With and from their animals - the camels.
The Treasure of the Alps - National Park Hohe Tauern
When the first humans advanced into the Alps, they encountered dense, primeval forests. Over the centuries, they cleared the woodlands, created fields and pastures, and built their villages higher and higher in the mountains. These early farmers were followed by many wild animals that found a new habitat in the changed landscape: wood grouse occupied the forest glades, rock partridges filled the mountain meadows, and red deer populated the alpine pastures. For some wild animals that had been sparse in the ancient forests - like the black grouse, marmots, and the common adder - human intervention created significant extensions to their habitats. »Treasure of the Alps« is a rare portrait of the co-existence of alpine wildlife and humans - a story that began thousands of years ago, and still continues in the Hohe Tauern National Park today.
Sahara - The English Patient's Desert
Even today, the Sahara is full of miracles. Until way into the 20th century, vast areas remained unexplored. In the early thirties, the Austrian-Hungarian adventurer Ladislaus E. Almásy who later gained world-wide fame as the historical figure on whom the Hollywood movie «The English Patient» was based on, had undertaken several expeditions to various blank spots on the Sahara's map. Highly awarded film-maker Michael Schlamberger has followed Almásy's tracks to reveal the most amazing chapter of the world's biggest desert. The desert explorer had stumbled upon one of the trickiest riddles of climate history. The world's largest desert must once have been a lush Garden of Eden - a daring thought that raised great controversy with Almásy's peers. Following his footsteps, Schlamberger searched for evidence from the most thrilling chapter in the Sahara's natural history.
The Prater - The Green Stadium
In the thicket of the meadows, badgers, foxes and deer are wandering around, while by the waters, Mandarin ducks are mating. They were imported for hunting purposes from China more than a hundred years ago and since then have established their place in the landscape. The Danube's bayous are not only a paradise for waterfowl of all sorts but also a haven for beavers, who chop down tree after tree. Life flourishes in the meadows of the Prater, Vienna's green lung. The 6.000.000 m2 big area of the Prater is full of «animal» surprises and it is exactly here where the 2008 UEFA European Championship will take place. This film portrays the diverse animal life in and around the stadium and will be available to international partners in time before the opening of the Euro 2008.
The Valley of the Ravens
At the edge of the Dead Mountains lies an enchanting, sparsely populated area - the inner Alm Valley. Especially in winter up to 120 half-grown ravens gather in the area around the wild animal park to steal food. This is the biggest permanent settlement of ravens in all of central Europe. They are blacker than night and smarter than parrots: ravens are capable of astonishing mental feats. How well does their bird's brain really work? This documentary probes deep into the raven's soul and follows his awkward flight around the entire globe.
Liguria - Life Between Heaven and Sea
Between Cinque Terre and San Remo, high above the Gulf of Genoa, this filmed journey portrays the beauty of the Ligurian landscape and tells of the lives of people settled along the idyllic «Alta Via dei Monti Liguri»- a hiking trail stretching between heaven and sea. For centuries, the daily lives of the people have been shaped by the simplicity of the special, by myths, and gloriously crazy festivals taking place in many a season of the year.
Land of Crystal Waters
This film shows the rich water wildlife in Alpine rivers and lakes from both the fisherman's and the fishes' perspective. It's a portrait of a complete river system, following the water's journey from glaciers through cave systems and canyons through mountain streams, crystal-clear lakes and, finally, down one of Austria's most beautiful and swift rivers, the Traun, all the way to the wooded wetlands where it finally calms before flowing into the Danube. Used for shipping lumber and salt already centuries ago, the river has always encouraged a special union of man and nature. The film takes the viewers on a journey above and under water, showing one of the continent's most attractive mountain landscapes from the perspective of an Alpine river, its wild inhabitants and its human visitors.
Night of the Salamander
The film reveals all the miracles and curiosities in the salamander world that, until now, were only known to a few experts in the field. In technical terms, the film team went to some lengths: Thermal image cameras show that salamanders are as cold as the night they inhabit, night vision cameras allow the viewer to watch them in the dark, magnetic resonance tomography and x-ray images show us the inside of their bodies.
Let it snow!
«Snow is snow is snow» one might be tempted to say. Yet people in the Arctic have hundred of different names for snow while other cultures have never seen it. Nor is snowfall the same as snowfall.
In this extraordinary documentary we are going to witness very different kinds and situations of snowing: from howling blizzards to the gentlest and loveliest of weather events, from huge handkerchiefs quietly falling to the needle-sharp attack of hard, heavy grains. Snow - what is it really? How is it created - naturally and artificially? Thanks to CGI and new camera techniques we can actually see this process for the first time and listen to the incredible, inaudible music of snowfall, of myriads of tiny crystals touching and rolling and settling. Each snowflake is unique and bears more secrets than we could imagine. Did you know that different kinds of music influence the crystallization process and the shape of snowflakes? And have you ever imagined that we would be able to produce artificial snow that melts at 30 degrees Celsius? With this in mind: just let it snow!
Vultures - Flying Dustbins
A mix of high quality natural history and fun interviews with scientists and people involved with vultures, this film will have a sense of humor, entertaining and informing about «the flying dustbins». It will answer the important (and unasked) question - why vultures? Produced by Paul Reddish (one of the producers of the multi-award winning «The Magic Trees of Assam»)
The Magic Trees of Assam
The film, set in the ravishing scenery of north east India, combines a journey and a great mystery with electrifying footage of the world's most aggressive insect. The giant honey bees have a reputation for attacking en masse and every year local people are badly stung and die. Yet an Austrian scientist is trying to discover the secrets of these enigmatic killer bees.
Ol' Man River - Mighty Mississippi
There is no river on earth where so many dreams were dreamt, where so many dreams came true or fell apart, where the dividing line between life and death is as thin as on the Mississippi - North America's great river. The Mississippi is the world's third largest river. From the Canadian border to New Orleans, from Helena in the Rocky Mountains to Pittsburgh, it drains 31 US states and two Canadian provinces. Since the first human beings set foot on the North-American subcontinent, the face of the river has changed dramatically. This epic film shows the great American river in cinematically beautiful images and emotions. Moving cameras show the endlessness of the land, the impenetrable wilderness and, in stark contrast, the shining steel facades of modern metropolises. The film also reveals a fascinating world inhabited by rare plant and animal wildlife with a distinctly exotic touch. At the same time, it invites us on a journey through history. In several episodes, with the aid of CGI we travel into the past from characteristic sites.
Also available in 2 x 45min.
Prince Of The Alps
Featuring panoramic scenes of lush landscapes, Prince of the Alps travels high into the mountains, where chamois and ibex are right at home on the nearly vertical cliffs, marmots emerge late from hibernation, and red deer prove their agility. The little prince enjoys special status in the herd, thanks to his mother's social rank. She leads him to the best feeding places and teaches him about his new surroundings. His first brush with civilization is a herdsman calling out to his cattle. Unlike drivers on the roads, and the hunters and hikers who also invade their world, the herdsman poses no threat to deer in the mountains. The young calf also learns his first lesson about dangerous weather in the mountains, where storms rage and lighting kills. In September, the mountains echo with the calls of the great red deer stags. During the six weeks or so of the autumn rut, the stags compete for the chance to father next year's calves before the seasons change and winter claims the mountains. Snow, ice, cold, and hunger will also claim their share of the herds before spring returns. Many deer find it hard to feed and finding shelter takes all the energy they have. Seven months into his life, the little prince is left alone and his chances of survival are slim. But when the sights and sounds of spring once again appear, and the red deer mothers and calves make their way up to the high mountain pastures, a one-year-old red deer calf with tiny antlers sets out with them. He has earned his place as Prince of the Alps.
Myths of the Alps
Since ancient times the High Alps have been a region of extremes: bizarre landscapes, powerful acts of nature and deprivation for both people and animals. In these regions, myths and sagas were especially powerful. People tried to deal with those forces of nature by explaining them with arcane tales and worshipping powerful gods to calm their fearful minds. Energy fields, stone altars for sacrifices, healing spring waters - they all have a mysterious code that continues to live on in the traditions and rituals of the communities living in remote villages far beyond civilization. This documentary traces these myths to produce a journey through time to the places our ancestors once worshipped, visiting some of the most beautiful mountain regions in the heart of Europe.
Through an expedition to seek proof in support of the theory that one hundred and thirty million years ago the original source of the Amazon was located in the Ounianga Kébir lake district in the modern Sahara, this fascinating film, using the latest graphic and animation techniques, looks at the natural history, geology and archaeology of a rarely filmed region of the Sahara bordering Lake Chad.
Green Islands in a Sea of Stone
Spared by the ice-age, overlooked by an expanding civilisation for hundreds of years, saved at the last minute from a total sell out to tourism - that is the still little known Carinthian «Nockberge» region. Austria's oldest landscape is a green island surrounded by young, dramatic peaks. The windswept heights have been cattle pastures from time immemorial, and over the centuries a wonderful harmony has develop ed between wildlife and cattle. Wild nature and the ancient culture of mountain farming distinguish the character of the Nockberge Nationalpark.
The fast-paced year in the life of a New Yorker versus the slowly changing seasons of Central Park - this documentary accompanies people of the city into their working world, into their homes and into their daily trips to the Park. At every time of day and year, a myriad of people of different backgrounds come to the Park, be it a construction worker or a famous actor. The ever enchanting grass, trees and visitors of Central Park create a feeling of magic around the green. Central Park - a unique and calm natural paradise amidst the busy streets of New York City. Living in New York since more than fifteen years, Curt Faudon has a deep connection to this entrusted space. This documentary portrays the powerful intermezzo of seasons at Central Park and follows some people with very special ties to the park.
Kamp - A River for all Senses
Far from being a long, let alone a wide river, the waters of the Kamp river feed one of the most fascinating valley landscapes of Lower Austria. From its source to its estuary, which empties into the Danube, the river descends about 745 metres in altitude. A river course like the Kamp's is a life corridor whose banks line increasingly rare wetlands, marshes, meadows, gallery forests, embankments, jungle-type shrubs and alluvial forests. While small sections of the river course were made a nature preserve, one whole section of the river was designated to become a «cultural park«. The region is shaped by its long-standing cultural tradition, the perfect soil for wine-growing, and an ever more strongly positioned gentle tourism industry.
Nights in Wild Vienna
This is the time when foxes walk through Schönbrunn Park in place of tourists, and badgers rummage around the gardens of elegant homes. Instead of well behaved pensioners strolling through Pötzleinsdorf Castle Park, now it
Virgin Forests in the Heart of Europe
Today there are only tiny remnants of former natural forest colonies left: a high-lying virgin oak forest in Switzerland, a virgin beech and linde forest in the south east of Poland, a virgin beech and white pine forest and a primeval riverine forest in the Czech Republic. The forests have a very different appearance because of the trees typical for each of them. One thing they have in common, however, is their vigorous beauty: the picturesque play of light and shadow and the bizarre interchange of mighty giant trees and differently shaped rotting wood. The difference between these and the forests we know, that is, planted forests with trees growing in straight rows mostly of only one species, is apparent with every step. In addition to pictures of the strikingly beautiful wilderness, the film also shows what intensive forestry can lead to when it is taken too far. On the slopes of the Riesengebirge, a mountain chain in the Czech Republic, the forest planted by man has not withstood the harmful emissions present there. There is also a form of forestry that is close to nature and that even allows for using the timber, but it requires an understanding of the cycles of nature. There are examples of this in the Cracow area in Poland and in Slovenia.
Restless Peaks - The Birth of the Alps
The history of the development of the most powerful mountain range in Europe that attracts more than 45 million tourists every year was not well researched until fairly recently. Using lavish computer animation, this production relates the astonishing genesis of the Alps - the slow, gigantic transformation from an ancient land-locked sea into one of the most majestic mountainous regions of the earth.
Appalachia - The Endless Forest
The Appalachians form a vast mountain chain, stretching along the Eastern side of the USA, from Georgia in the south to Maine in the north. Along much of their length they are clothed in rich but little known woodland, secret worlds of rivers and waterfalls, caves and forest glades inhabited by bears and deer, raccoons and possums as well as dozens of other, lesser known creatures. These are the most diverse temperate forests on Earth. Human history here is just as rich as the natural history. Long before Columbus landed in North America, Cherokee Indians moved into these forests, european settlers followed, forming their own unique culture. Over the course of a year, the film looks at these extraordinary forests through the eyes of some of the people living there.
Afghanistan - The Lost Mines of the Pharaohs
Afghanistan - one of the most remote and dangerous countries in the world. Yet for the last 20 years, through the turmoil of Russian invasion, retaliation, civil war and religious jihad, an American has traveled through Afghanistan in search of fabulous precious stones. This film is the story of this man and his achievements. It follows his journey to the mines he has rediscovered and helped reinvigorate. The lapis lazuli mine is the oldest on the planet. Over 6000 years ago, the precious blue stone was dug by hand and traded to Egypt of the pharaohs.
Baja - The Other California
Baja California stretches 750 miles southwards from its famous neighbour, the State of California. On either side of this narrow strip of land lie the rich waters of the Pacific and the Sea of Cortez. The peninsula, for the most part, is desert. Stark but beautiful, its raw landscape, naked rocks and giant cactus contrast with the crystal blue waters of the sea that surrounds it. Isolated from other deserts Baja and the Sea of Cortez are home to weird plants and unique creatures that evolved here coping with this most extreme of places. This is a rare opportunity to see the Boojum, for example, that looks more like a 10 meter high upside down parsnip than a true plant, the blue-footed boobies that each year perform their comical courtship or Lizards that eat flies so salty they would kill them, had they not enlarged nostrils with salt glands.
The Iron Forest
The Limestare Alps National Park is a mosaic of forests of different ages. The wild, romantic waterways are important habitats for many water insects and a paradise for the water ouzel and the gray wagtail. Another rarity shown in this film is a brood of black storks that do not actually nest in the national park but frequently catch trout in the park's brooks and streams.
Yucatan - In the Kingdom of the Jaguar God
The Central American peninsula of Yucatán is famous for its fascinating wildlife and exotic flora and fauna. In this exciting report, extreme diver and pilot Herbert Nitsch meets remarkable scientists and daring adventurers who take him along on subterranean diving expeditions and jungle trips. He uncovers mysterious relics of the long lost Maya culture and follows the traditional rituals of today's indigenous population. In Belize, Guatemala and Mexico he explores the last jaguar and howler monkey reserves and tests his capacity and courage in deep meandering caves and torrential rapids.
The Big Picture
Life on Earth captured through satellite technology - a unique picture from space that offers an extraordinary and different view of our planet. Our space detectives create precise satellite pictures and spot potential problems. Floods and fires can be tracked daily and movements of ocean currents and snow-cover can be followed throughout the seasons. «The Big Picture» opens the skies, to let us peek as an outsider into a palette of discoveries on Earth.
The Climate Change Bug
For some time now the question of whether or not climate change is taking place has been more or less settled. The issue that remains largely unanswered however is: how will we cope with climate change and what effect will it have on our flora and fauna. Already there are signs that serious ecological and biological changes are taking place, not only far away in exotic regions of the world, but also right on our own doorstep, here in Europe. This documentary seeks to explain broadly which animals and plants are most likely to spread across Central Europe and shows what we could expect running into in a few years' time. One kind of tick, for example, which originally comes from Africa and causes malaria-like symptoms, is becoming more and more common. And this is not the only «exotic» species that are increasingly surviving the milder winters and proliferating, confronting us with a slow-going, almost hidden change in European wildlife.
The Living Cathedral
The most astonishing natural area in Austria is St. Stephens Cathedral in Vienna. Between the roof tiles, at stone gargoyles and in many a damp crevice, the 850 year-old cathedral reveals itself as a botanical and zoological garden. For the film on the biology of St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna the film team burst the normal boundaries of technology. They had robots weighing tons and mounted with cameras that swivel three dimensionally move through the interior of the cathedral. With a little camera cableway installed between the base and the peak of the cathedral, cameras crossed the line of flight of the peregrine falcons.
Also available: Making Of (30 min.)
The Black Mountain
Mount Grossglockner towers above the Tauern massif like a sentinel over an Alpine paradise of nature. Georg Riha portrays the Austrian Alps' highest summit using state-of- the-art techniques. The camera accompanies mountain goats to the edge of a precipice and hovers above regions man has never entered whereas cable-car rides reveal the true nature of glaciers and waterfalls.
A Rugged Life in the Mountains
The Lechtal valley and the mountains towering above it have retained their virgin beauty like no other Alpine region of comparable size. However, daily life and work is often a struggle to survive, and natural catastrophes, such as mudslides, flooding from mountain torrents and avalanches often endanger this natural habitat with its picturesque landscape. This film depicts the people who live in this rugged environment and reveals how life in the Lechtal valley shapes its inhabitants and influences their struggle against nature.
Tough at the Top
The Hohe Tauern mountain range is a high Alpine wilderness harboring natural treasures. The film shows a series of barely known, extremely shy or rare animals of the high mountains of Upper Austria. It took 2 years to complete the complicated shooting during which the camera team had to cope with harsh conditions to capture an intimate look into the secretive life of these shyest of mountain creatures.
The Mariazell Region - Mysterious World of the Mountains
In spring 2007, the basilica of Mariazell has regained its old splendor. Situated amidst the wildly romantic, mysterious alpine environment of the Ötscher mountain in the border region between the provinces of Styria and Lower Austria, the small village is the destination of numerous pilgrims from far and wide. The film traces the old legends about demons, weather witches and dark forces and portrays the natural environment of this unique mountain world around the pilgrimage site of Mariazell.
Drava - River of Peace, River of War
The Drava is one of the last big, partially untamed lowland rivers of central Europe. Whereas in Austria the river is forced into a narrow concrete corset after a few kilometers in Austria, the lower reaches of the Drava at the border between Hungary and Croatia are practically untouched. For years it was cut off from the outside world by the Iron Curtain. At that time only soldiers were permitted to enter the border area. This allowed the areas along the Drava to keep its incredible variety of plant and animal life. Here black storks breed in the solitude of the forest, kingfishers and sea eagles fish in the branches of the Drava and innumerable bank swallows make their nests in the steep slopes rising from the river.
Further downstream, the idyll found an abrupt end during the war at the beginning of the 1990s between the Serbs and Croats. The Kopacki Rit, the flood plains where the Drava flows into the Danube, was right at the fighting front. During those years the Kopacki Rit Natural Park lost a great deal of its original natural wealth.
Nature's process of regeneration, however, will take place during the coming decades without human intervention.
Almendro - Tree of Life
The Almendro Tree must be the most impressive of all the jungle giants in Costa Rica's rainforest. From root to top, this unique tree offers habitats, shelter and nourishment to an incredible number of creatures. Whenever an Almendro goes down, almost the entire community goes down with it, demonstrating the fragility of interdependent systems. A dramatic example of this principle is the Great Green Macaw. Wherever the tree disappears, the parrot no longer is found.
Ants! - Nature's Secret Power
They wage wars and administer medicines; they are farmers and graziers. They live in a world of coded communications and lightning chains of command, secret poison mixtures and prodigious strength. They have inhabited our planet for millions of years. And yet no living creature seems more alien to us. UNIVERSUM cameraman Wolfgang Thaler and Bert Hölldobler, a leading authority on ants, bring us faceto- face with the mysterious world of these social insects. Bert Hölldobler, Professor at the University of Würzburg, threw open the doors of his laboratory for the first time to make this documentary. With the latest high definition technology, Wolfgang Thaler has shot some of the most spectacular images of these fascinating creatures ever shown, pairing cutting edge technology with his wide experience of macro filming.
The Dragons of the Canaries
Kurt Mündl's sensational documentary covers its subject from ancient seafaring myths and legends that related stories of the "Dragons of the Canary Islands" as early as 2,000 years ago, up to the current state of research on these unique reptiles. Spectacular shots also illustrate the trying journeys undertaken by Oskar Simony at the end of the 19th century. The first giant lizard specimen captured by Oskar Simony in 1889 for the scientific world is still at the Vienna Museum of Natural History. But Mündl's film also demonstrates that animal species do not always benefit from being discovered: Only a few decades after Simony's sensational discovery the giant lizard of El Hierro was considered lost or extinct. Too many scientists and collectors had helped themselves to material from the small population.
The first-ever filmings realised by Kurt Mündl and his team also include a filming of the hatching of a giant lizard from start to finish. In addition to biological details on these lizards Mündl's film includes dramatic reenactments of Oskar Simony's expeditions and the life of the "Guanches", the Canarian aborigines, who hunted lizards to eat them. Animations of top quality are another asset of this film.
Umbria - From Wreck to Reef
On June 10, 1940, the Umbria, an Italian man-of-war, was scuttled in the Red Sea near Port Sudan. Tons of ammunition, 300.000 bombs and air mines, military trucks, motorcycles and silver coins sank to the bottom of the sea. In 1949, Austria's underwater pioneer Hans Hass explored the wreck and documented the beginning growth of corals. 30 years later he returned, filming and photographing the same positions again for comparison. The metamorphosis from wreck to reef was already on its way. 60 years after the Umbria sank, Erich Proell, another living legend of underwater filming, visited the wreck that had meanwhile turned into a veritable reef. Six decades after the Umbria sank almost the entire wreck has been taken over by marine creatures. The dark holds, still stacked with bombs and other war materials, have been colonised by armies of tube worms and a colourful array of sponges that can survive without sunlight. Erich Proell has documented some of the bizarre scenes of this submarine landscape: vintage motor cars, trucks, railway carriages standing upright in the sand, all overgrown with corals.
Drakensberg - Africa's Dragon Mountains
A dragon hatched from the volcanic furnaces of Gondwanaland. Ancient almost beyond comprehension, yet a living thing. And vast, stretching across a subcontinent, its spine arching above the clouds...
No lucky dragon, this. Starvation festers beneath the shimmering green of its skin. But to the creatures that live along its flanks, it can be a bountiful provider as well as a remorseless destroyer. Today we call it the Drakensberg, or «Dragon Mountain». «Drakensberg» is a dynamic documentary journey through the life of this ever-astonishing mountain. It is also a story of animal survival in a landscape of overwhelming, pitiless power.
Schönbrunn - Well of Beauty
Georg Riha applies unusual perspectives to the «Schönbrunn» theme. A transformation the like of which the viewer has never seen unfolds before his eyes. Schönbrunn in the protean succession of the seasons, of light and shadow, day and night is presented by Sir Peter Ustinov who leads the viewer through Schönbrunn palace with its marvellous garden and the Schönbrunn Zoo.
Living for the Queen
The film documents the life of a bee colony for the duration of a year. Part of the colony emigrates and becomes a «wild» colony giving an intimate view of the artistically designed beehive and the bee's cleverly organised social life: dividing labour, collecting nectar and warding off enemies. The special feature of this production is the very natural effect of the close-ups that give the viewer the feeling of being within the colony, even for rare events. Without having seen it, who could imagine the queen's «wedding flight» during which the virgin ruler of the colony mates with a drone, a male bee ... all this taking place flying at high speed.
Flight of the Stork
Every spring, there is a unique annual gathering just a few miles from Austria's capital Vienna: Some sixty pairs of white storks come here to mate and breed. This film accompanies these white storks on their seasonal journeys between Central Europe and their African winter quarters. Innovative camera technology offers thrilling and surprising insights into the bird's lives, from their egg-shell cradle to their long flight back to Africa in late summer.
The Carnic Alps - Nature's Treasure Trove
Austria's southern region boasts a mountain range that seems to consist of nothing but borders: the Carnic Alps.
This is where cultures, languages and lifestyles meet, where Mother Nature provides a glimpse of the history of our planet Earth and where a soft breeze from the sea hits the cold Alpine wall. It is a place of close encounter of three languages: Slovenian, German and Italian. Apart from the geographical border position, it is the steep mountain cliffs, the narrow valleys and the diversity of these borders that have shaped people's mentality. At a distance of approximately 60 miles from the sea, the impact on the weather is obvious. When the clouds come pushing to the North from the Adriatic Sea, they eventually hit the main ridge of the Carnic Alps, which forces them to stop for a rest and shed rain. Finally, the geological history of Mother Earth has formed its own boundaries here between the earth's ages.
Tales of the Shepherd Dogs
In film, canine stars perform truly miraculous deeds, some times even take over the criminal investigation themselves and go through fire for their human partners. But what does everyday work look like in reality for a police commissioner dog? What makes Rex different from a real police dog? Dogs in police service jump from flying helicopters, vault across the tops of cars onto the roofs of buildings, plunge through fire and into deep water. Policemen with drug-seeker dogs go through an old building looking for cocaine and a team of the special anti-terrorist squad, "Cobra," jumps with a specially trained dog from a height of 3500 meters with a parachute - a spectacle that was documented by a camera man in a free-fall with a helmet camera. An annual highlight for fans of German shepherds is the world championship show of these dogs in Germany. In l996, in front of 50,000 people in the Karlsruhe Wild-Game Stadium the world champion was crowned again: the most beautiful and best trained German Shepherd - and naturally also the one with the best character - in the world. The price of a star-dog among the top twenty can go up to more than two million schillings - approximately 200,000 dollars - that is, if this member of dog-heaven is for sale at all.
Southeast Asia at its best. 85% of the country is untouched nature, widespread forests, steep mountains and wide river valleys, but also cool high plateaus and savannahs. The primeval forests support a fauna like something out of a fairy tale, with elephants, tigers, leopards, and some of the rarest animal species on the planet. Species never seen by humans are discovered at regular intervals. In recent decades, the few large mammals to be described for the first time were all found in Indochina and experts assume that most of them are at home in Laos: wild oxen such as the saola and kuprey or the truong son munjak. No outsider has ever seen a living specimen of the latter; its existence is only known indirectly, through skeletons, horns and bag that are occasionally found in remote villages. And there is the Mekong, one of the last untamed rivers on Earth. Fed by hundreds of tributaries, it is one of the richest freshwater systems on the planet, comparable only with the Congo or Amazon. This is where the Mekong catfish lives. At 3 meters long and weighing in at 300 kilograms, this monster must be the largest freshwater fish on earth.
Mountains of Mystery
Forming part of the northern limestone Alps, the «Eisenwurzen» nature park boasts a varied, rich landscape dominated by dramatic mountain chains and mighty, steep-faced individual mountains with high-rising cliffs. The white-water rivers and creeks which have eroded the rock of the precipitous mountainsides and ravines are a constant temptation to daring young people, offering fascinating training opportunities to kayakers and canoers of all skill levels. The Eisenwurzen and neighboring regions stand for harmony between ancient culture and craftsmanship on the one hand, and bizarre, overwhelming natural landscapes on the other. The Eisenwurzen region reflects a close union of Mother Nature, historical tradition, exploratory urge and love of adventure.
Namaqualand - Africa's Desert Garden
Namaqualand - the setting for an annual wildlife fairytale. Every year in the narrow window between the cold wet winter and scorchingly-hot, dry summer, flowers of all description bloom in carpets of colors unimaginable, insects of equal diversity pollinate and predate, and everything form meerkats to ostriches breed. This film chronicles the magical transformation of a landscape - from the fantasy of fields of flowers to the harsh realities of a desert, and back again and uses a gang of meerkats and a group of ostriches as main characters who develop during the seasonal changes.
Europe's countryside is largely shaped by agriculture and by highly specialized, efficient farms. However, in the seventies of the past century, a counter-movement set in: ecological management became a new topic on the agenda. The film features an organic farm as it traverses the different cycles of the year, its main protagonists being farm animals and pets as well as wild game that regularly visit its surrounding meadows and fields. The film portrays the behavior and peculiarities of the farm's cows, pigs, goats, chickens and ducks. Rather than presenting any new livestock species or inaccessible corners of the land, this documentary introduces the viewers into a well known world, that still is full of secrets.
High Tatras - A Wilderness Frozen in Time
The High Tatras are considered a National Park in Slovakia. It has more than three hundred peaks, many higher than 2500 meters, romantic valleys with no access roads, crystal-clear streams and forests inhabited by wolves, bears and lynxes. Observing the nature of the High Tatras means to look into the past, to go back to a world when ploughs were pulled by horses and trees were cut with handsaws and axes, to go back to the times of European wilderness, when predators still roamed the forests.
250 Year Anniversary of the Schönbrunn Zoo
It was in the summer of 1752 when the imperial bell sounded for the first time in the menagerie in Vienna, Schönbrunn palace announcing the arrival of His Majesty, the Emperor. Today the menagerie is Vienna, Schönbrunn Zoo; the oldest, yet one of the most modern the world has to offer.
Carinthia - Land of Water
Carinthia has many farmers, craftsmen and fishermen who depend on water for their living. Curt Faudon paints a portrait of these people who live out their lives in the heart of a grandiose and multi-faceted natural landscape that, in spite of tourism, has remained nearly unaltered for the ferrymen in the Rosental Valley and the raftsmen on Lake Weissensee are still plying their trade on the waters of Carinthia.
The Incredible Hulik and His Beavers
Biologist Tomas Hulik spent more than 300 days and nights in the wild riverine forest along the river March, separating Slovakia and Austria. After that, Rachel, the matron of this beaver territory, allowed him to watch the daily routine and dramatic adventures of her family of five at close range. In more than 200 shooting days, an ORF camera team accompanied Tomas to gather scenes never before filmed in the wild.
Greece - Garden of the Gods
Greece, the Ancient Empire, is the residence of the Gods from Artemis to Zeus. A sanctuary of impressive temples, ruins, mystical places of worship and home to a rich fauna and flora. Steeped in legends, this countryside provides the backdrop for the unique natural history of the birthplace of the Olympic Games. This unconventional documentary moves to and from between the world of ideas and natural facts and takes us through the realm of the Gods where hardly known animals live in a breathtaking landscape. Schlamberger combines the magnificent visual imagery of nature-film with a journey into the world of ancient Greek ideology, inviting us on an entertaining stroll through the «Garden of the Gods».
Return of the Bald Ibis
Four years ago a group of zoologists ventured out to indulge into a truly crazy adventure. Their ambition: to show a flock of bald ibises, birds that have been pushed over the brink by hunting and habitat destruction and only survived in zoos, how to fly to their winter quarters on their original seasonal migration routes. They accompanied the animals with lightweight airplanes from Austria to Italy - a chaotic event full of mishaps and some successes. But now it appears as though their dreams are about to come true: the comeback of a bird that went extinct in Europe in the Middle Ages. In the previous year two bald ibises managed to fly back to Austria without guidance. Now, for the fi fth time, human foster parents - 16 people from 4 nations - will once again lead the way for young ibises in completely novel paraplanes covering a distance of 900 kilometres within three weeks. This documentary takes us on a thrilling and humorous adventure introducing us to a very special family consisting of birds and humans.
Lake Constance - Emerald in the Heart of Europe
No other European destination has as many incomingand out-going «flights» as Lake Constance: it'sthe main hub for migratory birds in Western Europe.Over 300 different species pass through everyyear: that's more than a quarter of a million birds.Lake Constance is so large that, standing on oneshore, the Earth's curvature prevents you seeing theopposite bank. This body of water is large enoughto influence the climate, and the soil round about isso fertile it creates its own ecosystem. Red-crestedpochards, whooper swans, alpine swifts - and raccoons:the lake is home to a myriad of species.This film explores the secrets above and below the surface and on the banks of this lake which linksAustria, Germany and Switzerland with no bordersin between.
Waldviertel - The Enchantment of a Rugged Land
Vienna's forests make a visual impact on the city's scenery - being a source of life and sanctuary at the same time: They are omnipresent and an enormous asset, taken for granted by many. Perhaps no other European capital boasts so many acres of forest per inhabitant. There are the well-known Vienna woods in the West and North, the national park of the Danube wetlands to the East, and numerous groves and green corridors right amidst built-up urban space.
Georg Riha's film makes forests in their enormous diversity an experience in its own right, spotting forest wildlife in dens and observing nature as the seasons go by. Based on superb filming equipment such as the track-based overhead Camcat system and the exceptional CamTL35 fast-motion camera, the film shows visual montages alternating between idyllic impressions and unusual camera perspectives and views.
Bohemia - A Year in the Wetlands
In Bohemia, at the very heart of Europe, south of the Golden City of Prague and guarded by medieval castles, lies a hidden mosaic of lakes and gently flowing rivers, of misty forests and mysterious peat bogs.
This important wetland, shaped both by nature and centuries of influence by man, is a magnet for huge flocks of birds and home to an amazing diversity of plant and animal life.n spring there is an explosion of life as the trees are weighed down with nests of cormorants, egrets, herons and storks. With the arrival of winter the landscape becomes silent and desolate. Otters are hunting fish under the ice of frozen lakes while White-tailed Eagles soar over gaps in the ice, targeting fish and birds. Since his early childhood wildlife cinematographer Jiri Petr has spent much of his time in this wildlife paradise. Together with him, we will explore this remarkable habitat and observe the changing faces of nature during the course of one year that inspired many artists and writers alike.
Vienna's Forests - Jewels of Green
Vienna's forests make a visual impact on the city's scenery - being a source of life and sanctuary at the same time: They are omnipresent and an enormous asset, taken for granted by many. Perhaps no other European capital boasts so many acres of forest per inhabitant. There are the well-known Vienna woods in the West and North, the national park of the Danube wetlands to the East, and numerous groves and green corridors right amidst built-up urban space.
Georg Riha's film makes forests in their enormous diversity an experience in its own right, spotting forest wildlife in dens and observing nature as the seasons go by. Based on superb filming equipment such as the track-based overhead Camcat system and the exceptional CamTL35 fast-motion camera, the film shows visual montages alternating between idyllic impressions and unusual camera perspectives and views.
The Tale of the Hare and the Sun
The film tells of the life of hares, their enormous fertility, their interaction with predators and their spread over all continents, from the desert to the Arctic ice observing snowshoe hares at -25°C in Canada's Yukon Territory, field hares in the east of Austria, and their near relatives, the rabbits of Spain's Extremadura.
Flight of the Bald Ibis
Bald ibises migrated back and forth between Central Europe and Northern Africa, before they were pushed over the brink by hunting and habitat destruction. Today, the birds have no memory of the old seasonal migration routes. Two Austrian ornithologists therefore fly the route using ultralight planes to guide a flock of birds to their winter quarters in the Maremma swamps along the west coast of Tuscany, Italy. Part 2: »Return of the Bald Ibis«
Bohemian Forest - Wilderness in the Heart of Europe
The location of the Bohemian Forest at the former Iron Curtain and the political influences involved, had the result that both forms of country side are united here: natural landscape on the one hand and the ancient cultivated landscape on the other. In the Bohemian Forest there are still villages that include part of the forest. This is a practice that was common in all of Europe as far back as the Middle Ages and amounted to as much as seventy percent. Obviously, life was based on the forest and it provided people with their livelihood. Canals still exist today that were built in the 18th century for transporting lumber. Despite these canals and the hundreds of years of exploiting the riches of the area, such as the lumber, the Bohemian Forest still has the last remnants of the original European prime forest. The fact that one can still occasionally meet up with a lynx today is due, however, to conservationist moves to re-introduce the wild cats into the region. The film shows the progression of the seasons and the life of the farmers in this wilderness in the heart of Europe.
The Roaring Mountains
Nowhere in the Alpine mountains are water, forest and rocks as precipitous, rock faces as vertical as in the Gesäuse National Park, Europe's largest canyon. «Gesäuse» is a name derived from the rushing noise of the water, the soughing wind that echoes up to the peaks of the north faces of this unique region - home to the myth of the mountain. When the sun rises and ushers in a magnificent day, the Gesäuse projects a perfect image of a mountain. However, in bad weather, the Gesäuse's walls reflect a scary phenomenon as the speed of the inflowing airmass multiplies. Adverse weather conditions can thus convert the Gesäuse into inferno. Michael Schlamberger, Austria's most renowned nature filmmaker internationally, listened to the rushing whitewater of the river Enns and conquered the sheer rock walls, chasing eagles and chamois in passing.
Typhoon Island - Taiwan
The spectacular island of Taiwan has long been buffeted by violent elemental forces, and a recent hurricane of human development has rocked it to its core. But at the eye of this dual storm, in the island's mysterious mountain heart, a huge variety of unique and little-known wildlife has survived. That may come as a surprise to many, since this is no lost wilderness, but one of the most densely populated places on earth: Taiwan, with over 20 million people inhabiting an area just 200 by 80 miles.
The Valley at the Border
The border between Austria and the Czech Republic runs along the middle of the Thaya River. Up to the fall of the Iron Curtain, the isolation of the youngest Austrian national park allowed a great diversity of quite rare animal and plant species to survive. Highlights of this production are underwater shots of spawning brook trout, a battle between stag-beetles and the mating of a female praying mantis - complete with the well-known outcome.
Fu Long - Little Panda, Happy Dragon
Entire Austria was buzzing with excitement as for the first time ever in the history of European zoos a panda baby was conceived naturally and born in good health. In advance to this moment of happiness, a Chinese delegation called the little bear Fu Long -«Happy Dragon». ORF's Natural History Unit accompanied the panda baby throughout the first moments of its young life. Witness Fu Long's clumsy attempts at walking, playing around in the adjoining garden and canoodling with his mother Yang Yang. This documentary offers not only sensational exclusive shots of the newly born baby in its birth box, being taken care of by its mother and the little panda's visits to the veterinarian to assure healthy development but also tries to uncover the secret life of one of the most endangered species in the world. Fu Long is growing fast and getting cuter and lovelier every day. Have a look and join the «panda-mania» that crossed Austria's borders spreading into whole Europe in no time.
Tyrol - Life in the Mountains
The mountain farmers in the valleys of Tyrol and East Tyrol have been profoundly shaped by the environment they live in. Internationally acclaimed director Curt Faudon presents a portrait of the rugged and rough life these people live as they go about their work and celebrate their festivities and embarks on a search for the ancient ties that exist between nature and man.
Libyan Sahara - Water from the Desert
«Bahr Belá Má», «Waterless Sea», as the Sahara is called by the Bedouins. But deep beneath the dune fields and stone deserts expands an immeasurable reservoir of water resources. Using enormous technical resources, the Libyans have begun to extract fossil reserves of groundwater. Following oil, water is now arousing a new wave of euphoria. In the present desert climate, reserves are only being partally replaced and what has collected over a period of millions of years may be used up in only a few decades.
Hallstatt - Living between Rock and Lake
The Austrian region of Hallstatt-Dachstein features breathtaking landscapes, crystal clear lakes and a deep historic relevance: During the Hallstatt era, 2500 years ago, the celtics built an empire on the ancient salt-mines of the region. Using the latest CGI techniques, dramatic reenactments and outstanding nature photography director Wolfgang Thaler lets this fascinating region come to life.
Cuba - Wild Island of the Caribbean
Cuba is the largest and yet least known island in the Caribbean. Over half the plants and animals are found nowhere else on earth and over 80% of the reptiles and amphibians are uniquely Cuban. The film reveals the unknown wonders of the largest and most unspoilt of the Caribbean islands and provides a fresh perspective on Cuba.
Nature in the Garden - The Naked Truth
As usual, Universum shows the living creatures and nature in both gardens in impressive images through the course of the seasons, including all of those animals that we all know, but hardly ever get a glimpse of. The stories of the animals and the people, their misadventures and successes, are closely interwoven. This is a film that will make you smile, as well as one that will make you want to go out and experience the nature in your own garden.
Alpine Meltdown - Just a Few Degrees More
The climate is changing, global temperatures are rising. The impact is already apparent, especially in the mountains - but also in the lowlands. The permafrost zone is movng higher, and the masses of snowmelt sweeping down from the glaciers are increasing year by year. Rivers roar into powerful floods and dwindle to a trickle within minutes. «Alpine Meltdown» takes us to a future world, incorporating the changes that have already occurred and pursuing the question: how will alpine landscapes look - and what animals will they still protect - at the end of the 21st Century?
Pielach - The Enchanted Valley
The Pielach, with a length of 67.5 km, is a little known river at the foothills of the Alps, though biologically speaking, flowing through hidden natural treasures, it is one of Austria's most valuable running waters. While the valley of the Pielach was settled by mammoth hunters as early as the ancient Stone Age, Celts and Romans left their traces later. The river is one of the last spawning waters of Huchen, a relative of the trout. Measuring up to two meters, the Huchen feels very much at home in the tranquil Pielach.
Alpine Lakes - Quiet Beauty
Springs, streams, ponds, lakes and rivers have forged our landscape over thousands of years. The film retraces the water's journey - from the glacier down into the valley, through the mountains to its source, illustrating the beauty of natural, smaller lakes in Austria with their fascinating world of flora and fauna and tells the story of enchanted cliffs, a spectacular underwater world, dragons, ancient species of fish, as well as of speleologists and modern science.
The Treasury - Vienna's Natural History Museum
For the world famous newspaper, the «Sunday Times», an English team of museum specialists determined the ten best museums of this world - Austria's Natural History Museum of Vienna was within the top ten. Without a doubt, it holds a unique position within the museums of the world. Vienna's Natural History Museum is a collection of natural treasures - from meteorites to stone age artefacts, from dinosaur bones to fossils trapped in amber. But how did these jewels find their way into this temple of knowledge? Every piece has its own story which leads out of the museum into the remotest corners of the world - and beyond. For the first time, this documentary will unfold the history of this traditional Viennese museum as well as explore the museum's contribution to science across the world.
Kailash - Towards the Sacred Mountain
In a remote west Tibetan corner, one of the highest-lying and most solitary territories of our planet, a pyramid rises that is made solely of crags and ice: Mount Kailash, the holy mountain. For more than a thousand years, pilgrims have been going on a long and laborious journey, following an ancient ritual of rounding the sacred peak, in order to draw on the miraculous powers of the Kailash. The documentary is a cinematic expedition on the tracks of Sven Hedin, Heinrich Harrer and Hervert Tichy, who were all spellbound by the Kailash and its sacred power.
The Living Graveyard
The Viennese Central Cemetery is the biggest and, historically, most significant cemetery in Europe. It is not only the resting place for innumerable politicians and great musicians such as Beethoven and Johann Strauss, it is also a wildly romantic jungle, a habitat for countless animals. This unusual setting for a nature documentary is introduced from the animal's point of view giving an insight info. The hamster guides us through the world below the gravestones, the hawk reveals the activity from the air. Human visitors, funeral processions and tourists are all shown from an animal perspective giving an insight into a fascinating habitat in a vast sea of graves.
One of the most stunning, untouched landscapes on earth is found in the heartland of Asia: stretching from the impenetrable forests of Siberia in the North to the Chinese wall in the South. And here, a huge variety of rare animal species are found under its deep blue sky. The rocky territory in the mountains of the North is shared by powerful Argali sheep and ibex. The Southwest of Mongolia is home to the Mongolian Wild Horse, the ancestor of our domestic horse. In the interior of the Gobi desert, wild camels wander from oasis to oasis. The East of the country holds the biggest area of grassland in Asia. In the early springtime, it hosts huge numbers of Mongolian gazelles and wolves. «Wild Mongolia» is a unique revelation of untouched nature and amazing landscapes.
The Wild and the West
The real nature of the western: Why is it that other rivers always act as the double for the Rio Bravo, vultures have never gotten beyond being extras, and that scorpions always climb into the hero´s boots?
For the past one-hundred years westerns have awoken a longing for real adventure and for the big «undiscovered country»- and they've been so successful that most people it's easy to picture the Wild West: Dust blowing through the prominent rock formations of Monument Valley. Endless deserts which test the endurance of righteous men and provide a perfect hiding place for outlaws. Rapid rivers, on the other side of which, a new and better life awaits.
But what 'westerns' tell us about the west is only a part of the story and most of the time it's just fiction - especially the landscape and the wildlife. In the Wild West, it's only a day's ride from the desert to the river, whereas in reality the landscapes are often thousands of miles apart. Not only did they use riders to double for actors they also used bogus rivers to double for the real thing. The famous Rio Bravo is mentioned in the title of more than a hundred westerns, but it's so dried up that in a western it's normally replaced by the Colorado or the San Juan River.
In »Wild is the West«, the man with no name is the wise old man of the west. Nothing is strange to him: From the cavalry, whose legend is bigger than reality, to the myths of the relentless burning hot desert. He proves (at least on celluloid) that it's possible to kill and roast a turkey within five seconds. The famous »man without a name«, hero of countless westerns from the 60´s and 70´s changes genre for this documentary film: He rides through 'Western country' and talks about his life as a professional hero, about the fantasy of the director and about some of the unusual animals and plants that he's encountered in the course of his career. In this documentary, the American actor, Joe Dimmick, plays the role of the Man without a name. He has been the number one double for Clint Eastwood for more than thirty years and is a hopeless romantic, «Can you feel it yet, the feeling to leave everything behind and ride into the sunset? I'll tell you one thing, «If you really want to, you can find the good old West everywhere.»