Rivers

Our first film project was a four parts documentary on the Mekong river. Since then we have filmed on few other rivers. Along waterways we tell about culture, environment and stories of Lands or regions.

THE RHONE – From the Swiss Alps to the Camargue – SWR – 2019

The Rhône, one of the longest and most significant rivers in Europe. Its upper course shapes the Swiss Valais, its lower course has been France’s most important north-south axis since Roman times. 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. With the Rhône, the film portrays a lifeline of Switzerland and the south of France and tells of the challenges this river faces today in times of climate change. The many different faces of the river reveal haunting stories of people who live with and along the Rhône: boatmen, engineers, biologists, winegrowers, rice farmers, bull breeders…

„THE RHÔNE – From the Swiss Alps to the Camargue“ (90 Min.)
„THE RHÔNE – From the Swiss Alps to Lyon (2 x 45 Min., Teil 1)
„THE RHÔNE – From Lyon to the Camargue (2 x 45 Min., Teil 2)

The documentary shows a sometimes wild and dangerous river that has been tamed and straightened since the end of the 19th century. In the meantime, 23 power plants are damming the river, and hundreds of kilometres of dikes are intended to protect the residents from floods. Climate change will also change the Rhône: in summer it will carry less water, and in autumn in particular more violent floods are to be expected. This is one of the reasons why the course of the Rhône is being corrected again today, but this time it is also about re-naturalisation, especially of the old arms, which show what the Rhône once looked like everywhere.

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 from Pia Grzesiak and Rolf Lambert shows the Neckar as a river that delivers many exciting stories and strongly influences the south-west of Germany.

THE GULF STREAM – BIG RIVER IN THE SEA – SWR & ARTE – 2016

2 Films x 44:30 Min., 90 Min., 16:9, 4K, stereo
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 scientists and 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.

AYEYARWADY, MYANMAR’S GREAT RIVER – SWR + NDR + ARTE – 2013

Daily Life along the Ayeyarwady – 2×43 and 2 x 52 minutes
After decades of military rule Myanmar, formerly Burma, has opened up and started a democratic reform process. The Ayeyarwady flows through the country for over 2170 kilometres – as a lifeline, cultural benefactor and central transport route.

Part 1 : From Bhamo to Mandalay
Part 2 : From Mandalay to the delta

On the occasion of the positive changes in Myanmar we have been commissioned to produce a 2-part documentary on the Ayeyarwady River. As it’s main traffic artery the river crosses the entire country from North to South, from the foothills of the Himalayas to the Andaman Sea. The films focus on landscape & culture and tell about the daily life of the people. We meet captains and rafters, farmers and craftsmen, gold panners and monks. Young Burmese especially we see finding their way between tradition and modernity, between concern and hope for a new era. A journey granting fascinating insights into a country in transition. Part 1 : From Bhamo to Mandalay Part 2 : From Mandalay to the delta

GRAND CANAL OF CHINA – SWR & ARTE – 2011
A documentary of 45 minutes contrasts history and presence. We tell about the early tamers of the water of the Sui Dynasty and see skyscrapers grow along the Canal.

The Grand Canal of China is the longest man-made waterway of the world, 1,800 km long, 2500 years old, and busy until today. It connects Beijing with the fertile Yellow River and the Yangtze River basins. It passes 30 cities with more than three million inhabitants and ends in the beautiful town of Hangzhou, the ‚Venice of the East’. We ride on tug boats, pass temples and pagodes, meet cormorant fishers. In the evening we visit a popular opera which is performed on the deck of a boat. We meet a preservation expert from Italy who is commissioned by the Chinese administration. China wants to make an apply at the UNESCO to get the Grand Canal appointed world cultural heritage.

LAOS – RIVER TAXI TO THE ROYAL CITY – BR & ARTE – 2004
Wild and hardly touched by modern times, the Nam Ou flows through a mountainous landscape. After 420 kilometres, close to the former royal capital Luang Prabang, the Nam Ou flows into the mighty Mekong. His river taxi connects villages and market towns in one of the most beautiful, but also in one of the most remote regions of South East Asia: Chanthi, 49 years old, is a captain on the river Nam Ou in Northern Laos.

The film joins Chanthi on a three day boat ride to Luang Prabang during the time of the anual boat racing festival and portrays the captain and also some of his passengers: a thoughtful mountain farmer, a young woman clearing the djungle from unexploded bombs of the Vietnam war and the strong men of a small village, who want to win the boat races.

MEKONG – SWF, BR & WDR – 1995
Series of 4×52 min. films, German, English, French, Japanese versions
Rising in eastern Tibet the world’s fifth longest stream flows through Southwest China, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and South Vietnam before reaching the South Chinese Sea. The Mekong. Almost 4900 km long, it is one of the longest rivers on earth, and the lifeline of Southeast Asia….

For a long time the Mekong was remote and inaccessible for the western world. Remote, undeveloped, ecologically intact. It had never been travelled along its entire length. It was as late as 1994, when its main source was discovered in the highlands of Tibet. The Along Mekong crew spent almost one year shooting the world’s first documentary. They gained access to areas where no western film team had been before. In 1994, the first Mekong Bridge was opened between Laos and Thailand, and the first mega-dam in China. A new era is on its way. Four films follow the river from the source to the mouth, portraying ordinary people living along the river, focussing on culture and ecology, as well as economical, political and developmental issues. River pilot, rice farmer, fish farmer, city planner – people on the river are fixed points in the programme. Four films discover Film 1: Turbulent River in Tibet and Southwest China Film 2: Mother of Waters in Laos Film 3: Great Water in Cambodia Film 4: Nine Dragons in Vietnam