Player of his Life -  F. M. Dostoyevsky - SWR - Arte 2021

Rien ne va plus! The ball is rolling. Nerves are on edge. For the entire fate will be decided in this single, all-promising second. Happiness or destruction! Like his main character in the novel "The Gambler", the Russian writer Dostoyevsky also challenges his fate again and again. In roulette, as in life.
When writing the novel "The Gambler", he gambles his existence. If he does not deliver on time, he will lose the rights to his entire work. In the end, Dostoevsky has just 26 days to write the novel. If he doesn't make it, he is a writer without a work.

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A winter in the Black Forest - SWR 2020
Winters in this 150 km long mountain range of South Germany are normally rough and rich with snow. Nowadays with the climate change, it often rains instead of snowing, and that means quite a challenge for some of its inhabitants.
The film portrays some people for whom the cold season means a great deal to their life: a forester, a ski-lift owner, a sledge-dogs breeder, a young landlady who takes tourists for sleigh rides with her traditional Black Forest horses.
It shows this large mountainous area in the special light of a winter that comes and goes, where snowfalls are right away followed by melting weather, in which cold and warm temperatures alternate abruptly – a cultural landscape in time of global warming.
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Four seasons in Black Forest - SWR & ARTE - 2019-2020
The Black Forest is the only cultural landscape in Germany which is linked in all european language with a deeply rooted picture: Schwarzwald, Forêt Noire, Selva Negra, ... Today though the patchwork landscape of forests and meadows, orchards and wineyards is all man made. As its ecology becomes more and more fragile due to the climate change, a large part of the Black Forest stays now under protection. And the landscape is changing everywhere: the objective is to make it for fit for the future, in all aspects: forestry, tourism, agriculture, economic development and nature protection. The two films present different people who adress this challenge, through out the seasons : scientifics, foresters, start-uppers, nature lovers, ... and allow an immersion in the largest low mountain range and one of the most beautiful area of Germany.

Friedrich Hölderlin - DICHTER SEIN. UNBEDINGT! SWR, ARTE 2020
On the occasion of the 250th birthday of Friedrich Hölderlin in March 2020, DICHTER SEIN. UNBEDINGT! (Poet, absolutely!) tells the story of an artistic radicalization on the backdrop of the French Revolution. A story about extremism, aspiration and identity.
On September 9th, 1806 the German poet Friedrich Hölderlin is taken, against his will, from his then home in Bad Homburg to a psychiatric clinic in Tübingen. During 231 days he will undergo radical „therapy“ to finally be declared incurable and left to be taken care of to a carpenter‘s family in Tübingen. 36 years the poet will live in a tower‘s room in the carpenter’s house, until his death. The circumstances of his violent arrest stay questioned until today.
Starting from his forced confinement, directors Hedwig Schmutte and Rolf Lambert look at the Swabian poet's path from his childhood, through his rigorous education in the best educational establishments in the country, his years of travel, his friendships, tragic love affairs and on to his radicalization as a politically-minded person and linguistic innovator who pushes the boundaries of literature. Today Hölderlin is one of the most famous poets in the world. He left behind a groundbreaking work.
In the documentary, actor Thorsten Hierse puts himself in the shoes of the Swabian poet, whose life stages and artistic development are commented on by writers such as Durs Grünbein, Daniela Danz and Kurt Oesterle. The music was composed by the Icelandic producer President Bongo, the drawings are by animation artist Ali Soozandeh. Renowned archives have made original documents available, with the help of which Friedrich Hölderlin's biography is unrolled in a kind of laboratory situation almost like a criminal investigation.

written and directed by Hedwig Schmutte & Rolf Lambert
editor: Ulrike Becker
produced by Along Mekong Productions for SWR / ARTE with the support of the Medien- und Filmgesellschaft Baden-Württemberg, © 2019

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The Rhône - From the Swiss Alps to the Camargue - SWR - 2019
The Rhône – one of the longest and most significant rivers in Europe. Originating in the Swiss Alps and winding its way through Switzerland and France, its waters flow past historic landmarks, high-tech industrial areas and an extraordinary variety of landscapes.
When it finally runs into the Mediterranean Sea, it has become witness to the multi-faceted fates of all kinds of people living along and with the river: fishermen, biologists, farmers, historians, engineers, bargemen… This intriguing documentary tells their stories, framed by breathtaking images of this sometimes placid, sometimes surprisingly wild stream and its surrounding landscape.
Aerial shots depict the Rhône’s natural beauty as well as human attempts to tame and exploit it, thereby raising the question of how to overcome the contradiction between constant progress and renaturation.
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The Neckar – SWR – 2017
The 90 minutes documentary shows the Neckar as a one of the life lines of the Baden-Wurttemberg region of Germany and enquires the future of the river – as a motor of economic development and a valuable natural asset that needs protection.
From its source in the nature reserve of Schwenninger Moos to the city of Mannheim, where it flows into the Rhine, the film tells about the people who are connected to the river: the last professional fisherman, the only woman captain steering a freighter, a woman in charge of a salt mine in Heilbronn, a young engineer in a 246 meters high tower for testing elevators, a scholar in the German archive of literature on the tracks of the Romanticists and a biologist looking for ecological hotspots in the middle course of the river. The documentary shows the Neckar as a river that delivers many exciting stories and strongly influences the south-west of Germany.
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24 HOURS IN MANNHEIM - SWR – 2017
How does a city work? Who is keeping the infrastructure running? Where is the water coming from when you open the tap, who is running grassroot projects in a difficult neighbourhood, what happens backstage in the theatre? From dawn throughout the day into the night, the beat of the city – the documentary follows a complete daily routine in Mannheim, one of the most dynamic city of Germany.
The 90 minutes film takes the spectator along an entertaining journey through a 24 hours day. The film dives in the different worlds and backgrounds of the 333.000 inhabitants’ city, which hail from 170 nationalities. It introduces people who do their job day after day, who keep the wheelwork of Mannheim running, without feeling like small wheels themselves. It opens unexpected insights into public and non-public life of a city, that is as much down-to-earth as it is open-minded and which centre is divided into “quadrats” (squares).
View the trailer (in German language).

THE GULF STREAM – BIG RIVER IN THE SEA - SWR & ARTE – 2016
The two films follow the Gulfstream on its journey along America’s East Coast and across the Atlantic all the way up to Norway. Arial views show the landscapes that are influenced by the Gulf Stream, from Florida to Newfoundland, from the Azores through France and the extreme West of Ireland and the Scottish Orkney Islands, all the way to Iceland and the Lofoten Islands in Norway. We encounter people who live and work with the current: is it loosing its strength? And if yes, what does that mean for our planet?
The first part dives with a submarine in the history of the first Gulf Stream Expedition, encounters Gulf Stream voyaging sea turtles, accompanies divers exploring the “Ship’s cemetery of the Atlantic”, pays a visit to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and takes off to the air with the International Ice Patrol looking for icebergs offshore Canada’s coast. Part 2 of the documentary starts on the Azores, where we see scientists fixing sensors on deep sea fishes that travel with the Gulf Stream.nIn France we show how engineers are developing a new generation of high-tech buoys that can take measurements in sea currents 4000 meters deep. We meet adventurous gardeners in Ireland, weathered-faced fishers in Norway and archaeologists in northern Scotland, who document the influence of the Gulf Stream on the Europeans settlements in the Neolithic.
There is also a 90 minutes version of the film.
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