It is interesting that there are more very old people in Italy than elsewhere on the continent. Sardinia is seen as 'the island of the centenarians'. The remote location has ensured the survival of particular genetic traits. Leading scientists are working to track down the secrets of healthy aging. Stress-resistance, social contacts, a healthy lifestyle and a good family life are evidently the key to happy aging. The people of Campodimele in southern Italy too seem to have discovered the secret recipe for a long and healthy life. WELTjournal reporter Alexander Steinbach has set out on the search for the wisdom behind Europe's centenarians and has come up in a number of places with surprising answers to the great questions of life.
Many youngsters succumb to the fascination of jihadism - and the Western world's problems and social issues are to blame.
Living in Chinas new megacity - The Rise of Chong Quing
Outside of China the largest city in the world is hardly known: Chongqing at the Yangtze Kiang is as big as Austria in size, has around 30 million inhabitants and continues to grow. Unlike the developed cities in the eastern coastal areas that are only growing slowly, the speed of growth and development is even rising in China's interior.
Italy and Spain - The New Politics
Podemos in Spain, Beppe Grillo's Five Star Movement in Italy ... In southern Europe a new, different kind of politics has emerged.
The New Right Wingers
They are known as the «Party of the People» or «Identitarians». Who are these new groups that are taking a hold on the right fringe?
Russia - 25 Years Without Communism
2016 marked the 25th anniversary of the end of the Soviet Union. How have the lives of the people in Russia changed since? This documentary gives people who experienced the end of the Soviet Union a voice: passionate communists for whom a world came to an end; dissidents who fought for democracy.
Netherlands: right-wing populist or liberal?
On 15th March there will be a general election to choose a new Dutch government. The outcome is uncertain. Will the right-wing populist Geert Wilders be the prime minister in a right-wing coalition? With his anti-Islam stance, Wilders has ushered in a transformation of Dutch politics. He wants to close all the mosques, re-impose border controls, bar the country to Muslim immigrants. And following the British example, Wilders is demanding that the Netherlands leave the EU. Like other right-wing politicians in Europe, he is profiting from dissatisfaction with established politics. Drastic cuts in social services and health spending have added fuel to the fire. Alexander Steinbach reports for WELTjournal from a country that was once the poster- boy for liberal values and tolerance, and analyses the political and social situation in the run-up to the election, which could point the way ahead for the whole of Europe.
Intersex - Neither Woman nor Man?
When a child comes into the world the first question to be asked is usually «is it a boy or a girl?» But what if neither really applies, if the baby is born without definite sexual characteristics? Every year in Austria around 25 children are born that cannot be unambiguously classified as either boys or girls. These children are termed intersex. And since, in our society, there is only male or female, many intersex children are still made into «real» boys or girls through sex-assignment surgery. This is an approach that often has traumatic consequences for those concerned. «Intersex - neither woman nor man?» follows Tobias and Alex as they fight for recognition of what has until now been an almost completely ignored reality.
Fashion, Models and Muslima - The Female Islamic Revolution
The documentary takes a look at the fifties and sixties and paints a wholly different picture of women's rights in the Middle East from the one we're used to today. In those days the veil had become a private matter and equality seemed within reach. Who were the pioneers of this feminist movement? And how could such a reversal take place? This documentary reports on a piece of women's history that will change the way we see countries like Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine and Israel.
Sister Mary of Nairobi
The slums of Nairobi are home to more than two million people. Caught in a mire of need and suffering from which there is almost no escape. Sister Mary sees no reason to give up. The combative Irish nun has spent the past forty years battling corruption and mismanagement in the Kenyan capital. She has built schools and training workshops in the middle of the slums and in doing so has saved tens of thousands of slum-dwellers from a life of crime, violence and hunger.
Failing attracts attention. Failing is unpleasant. We don't talk about failure. Crises, flops and mishaps are all among the experiences we would like to forget about, even though they're part of life. The notion of 'shame' plays a big role here, because in our society 'making mistakes' still carries a stigma. That's not the case in Silicon Valley, where many who failed with their start-up stand by that failure, in fact they're almost proud of it. With this as a starting point, a 'culture of failure', yes, even a veritable 'cult' surrounding failure is developing over here. Constanze Griessler illuminates the topic of 'failure' in her documentary, portraying several perspectives.
Dad has shot himself
In the year 2008 Erhard Jungnikl laid down under a walnut tree and shot himself. This documentary focusses on the experiences of Saskia Jungnikl, his bereaved daughter. To handle this stroke, Saskia published a successful newspaper article in 2013 and a book in 2014. After seven years Saskia is finally ready to talk about the suicide in front of the camera. She believes that society's taboos have to be overcome and gives private insights into her feelings and how her life has completely changed.
Mann gegen Frau - Lieben und Leiden auf Ägyptisch
Ihr engagiertes Auftreten beim Arabischen Frühling hat Ägyptens Frauen keinen Wandel gebracht: Ein selbstbestimmtes Leben zwischen Politik und Sexualität, zwischen Moderne und Tradition ist angesichts der fortschreitenden Islamisierung schwieriger denn je.
In Need of Men - The image of Men is Changing
What is a «typical man» or a «typical woman»? Which ideals have been linked to manliness and femaleness over the course of time? The fathers who used to fight in the Second World War passed on their ideals of manliness, orderliness, discipline and conscientiousness to their sons and grandsons. They started rebelling in 1968. At the same time, feminism and feminist movements were constantly present, followed by quota policy and Sex Discrimination Acts. Clear evidence that male confessions don't always sync with mental insights.
The Gift of a Day
The report «The Gift of a Day» follows six people as they go about their voluntary activities for one day - in a variety of quite different fields. «It is one of the most sensible things that I have ever done in my life!» says pensioner Elisabeth Benesch, who gives her time to people who themselves have little time left in the palliative care ward of her local hospital. And she herself is rewarded in return: «The experiences that I have had doing this are a blessing that nobody can take away from me,» she says.
The Power of Gratitude
Grouchy and dissatisfied - who doesn't feel that way sometimes? In «The Power of Gratitude» we meet prominent people who might have good reason to moan, but who nevertheless are grateful for their lives - even if they have not always had it easy.
Maria Stromberger - A Nurse in Auschwitz
Maria Stromberger, who was born in 1898 in Metnitz, lived in Vorarlberg before she voluntarily reported to Auschwitz to serve as a nurse in the SS infirmary. Maria Stromberger took up her duties in Auschwitz on 1st October 1942. She was received with the words, «Sister, you have difficult service ahead of you.» She became the Angel of Auschwitz, a nurse who voluntarily reported for work in the SS hospital. She would carry out the mission she had undertaken and only narrowly escape the henchmen of the Gestapo, as Stromberger smuggled pamphlets out of the camp and attempted to save people.
I Dream in German
«We will manage.» The familiar sentence from Angela Merkel has become a byword for positivity in the migration debate. However everyone agrees on one thing: the refugees should be «integrated» into their host countries as quickly as they can be to minimize the financial and political consequences as far as possible. But what does «integration» actually mean? To what extent may people retain their own ideas of religion, values, right and morals and still be thought of as integrated? A documentary from Austria, Germany and Sweden which seeks to examine in detail what integration really means and how it can be successful.
The Art of Healing
Traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda are booming. But the traditional European medicine that above all was taught and passed on in the ancient monasteries is also now being rediscovered. The holistic view of man included, alongside his spirituality, also his corporeality. Hildegard of Bingen, Paracelsus and Pastor Sebastian Kneipp are outstanding figures in this tradition. Abbeys and religious houses are today taking up the ancient art of healing in their treatment programmes.
The Search for the Secret
Brother David Steindl-Rast was born 90 years ago, on 12th July 1926 in Vienna. He is among the world's leading spiritual masters of the present day. The Dalai Lama wrote the foreword to his book, Credo. Their joint appearances are some of the most exciting of all interfaith dialogues.
An Almost Impossible Friendship - Rabbi, Priester and Imam
A rabbi, a priest and an imam meet ... What sounds like the start of a joke, really happened: «An almost impossible friendship» followed the three men from Austria to the Holy Land, where together they visited the most significant places of pilgrimage for their religions and discussed the similarities and differences between them. Rabbi Schlomo Hofmeister, Father Ferenc Simon and Imam Ramazan Demir. A film about how it is not always easy, but nevertheless possible, for Jews, Christians and Muslims to live together.
The Sell-Off in the Mountains
A holiday home or apartment in Austria's high-end ski resorts is highly sought-after. Increasing numbers of resorts, chalets and so-called town houses are springing up in Kitzbuhel. These properties are bought by millionaires from all over the world, but especially German citizens. Real estate prices are exploding, with building plots alone costing between 6000 and 8000 euros per square metre. Meanwhile, for the locals, the situation is becoming ever more diffi cult. Whilst the best spots in town are being developed for millionaires, all that's left for the old-established local residents is a place in social housing on the edge of a wet fi eld. Resentment is rising, especially since the apartments costing millions are only used for a few days every year. In individual districts there are already so many holiday homes and apartments that during the off -season there is hardly a window shutter open.
Ageing in Paradise
Alzheimer's and other types of dementia are increasingly becoming a scourge of humanity. Around 35 million people worldwide are affected and that number is rising. Successful treatment seems far off in the future. That's why it's even more important to allow patients to age in dignity. There is an 'Alzheimer's Village' near Amsterdam. Thanks to attentive care dementia sufferers are able to lead the most normal lives there possible in the familiarity of a Dutch village. In Thailand dementia sufferers from Switzerland and Germany are looked after in the 'Village of Forgetting'. Nursing homes that offer good and inexpensive care for elderly people from the West are booming in Eastern Europe too. Ageing in Paradise has taken a look at the different models of care and examines the economic and moral problems that society has to face in light of an ageing population.
Ageing without the Burden
«Ageing without the burden» uses striking case histories to show how and why the «burden of the aged» has come about in Austria. The trend towards chronic illness and early retirement, a lack of social cohesion and the outsourcing of care to homes are just some factors. Starting with these findings, the programmes poses the question as to what the alternatives are -and finds answers in Norway and Denmark that are also looked at in detail. The documentary visits societies and systems which already have experience of the added value of older age, and which could offer us a model for dealing with the health care crisis, social isolation, societal tensions and much more too.
The Pope declared war on Luther's Reformation -- with the Counter-Reformation: The Council of Trent (1545-1563) was the inspiration for extensive reforms to push back Protestantism, which was getting established politically and institutionally -- a process that lasted into the 18th century. Initially, the recatholisation of Protestant territories was in part achieved violently with the help of political power and through the reorganisation of the Inquisition. Yet at the same time there originated more new religious orders devoted to the poor, the sick, education or mission work than in any other epoch of Church history. In art, music and literature the renewed Catholic life manifested a tremendous productivity. A documentary about an epoch that continues to resonate strongly today.
Let's Talk about Land
The documentary accompanies Palestinians and their Israeli supporters protesting against Israeli settlements, which are built on Palestinian land. The film shows the then 14-year-old Israeli Ben, who was convinced that the two peoples should live together in one state. Today Ben is studying cognitive science and tells why he refused to do military service and what he now thinks of both peoples possibly sharing land and resources. The now 24-year-old Palestinian Ahmad underwent a trauma therapy nine years ago. Now he relates the fate of his brother locked up in an Israeli prison and his dreams of the future.
The subject of sound is very much in keeping with the current spirit of the times, since the desire for deep inner balance and harmony is everywhere. Sound therapy today goes far beyond esoteric communities and has now become a part of programmes at established health care institutions, as the meditative force of sound and its positive impact on healing have become widely accepted. Viewers will embark on an extremely diverse and emotional journey through the broad spectrum of effects in the phenomenon of sound.
Where life ends, the work of Christine and Markus begins. "Finish" takes part in the daily work of a thanatologist duo. For a lifetime the body is supposed to be a means of expressing all interpersonal relationships. Consequently, to prepare the body for the last meeting means among other things to help cope symbolically with the watershed of death: A smile soothes the bereaved, chemicals stop the putrefaction process, the beloved teddy bear of a decedent does not leave her alone on the way to the crematorium furnace. Through unexcited words and pictures the washing, shaving, preparing and fitting the body is experienced as handicraft.
On the Run
26 year old cameraman Abdulmajid Raslan filmed the turmoil of war in Syria which made him the Assad government's as well as ISIS terrorists' sworn enemy. When his father was deeply injured by a sniper and his wife was expecting their child, Abdulmajid drew up a plan: he decided to pave his way to Europe with his father before reunifying the family there. But the way to Europe is a treacherous trail. An odyssey and a race against time begin as ISIS is getting closer and closer. Abdulmajid Raslan filmed the most important stations during this exceptional
The Indomitable One
After nearly three years of incarceration, 85-year-old US nun and anti-nuclear activist Megan Rice has recently been released from a New York prison. Together with two peace activists the nun broke into the national uranium enrichment facility Y-12 in Oak Ridge in 2012. With pacifist slogans sprayed on a uranium store, they wanted to demonstrate against nuclear energy and the production of nuclear weapons. Megan Rice, who hails from Manhattan, has been a member of the "Society of the Holy Child Jesus" since she was 18. From 1962 to 2004, she was a teacher in Nigeria and Ghana. As early as in the 1980s, she was active in the peace movement. She got arrested dozens of times during protest actions and imprisoned twice for half a year. For the sprightly nun, the Christian faith always has both dimensions: spirituality and political action.
The Strong Women of Touba - Emancipation and Islam in Senegal
In these times in particular, Islam is generally associated with irreconcilability and terror -- wrongly: Many millions of Muslims live peacefully on this earth and want nothing to do with sectarian violence. This film shows how Islam is lived in Senegal: deeply peacefully and women-friendly. According to the Sufi ideals, men and women represent the two halves of the heart of their faith, as Baye Demba, the ambassador of the leading Baye Fall and Yaye Fall Cheikh Ndiguel, puts it, "Sufism is the heart of Islam. This is not about dogma, but about the essence of love. This has to do with nothing but pure spirituality. Baye Fall and Yaye Fall Cheikh Ndiguel are concerned with the essence of love, the heart of Sufism. With men and women.
Digital Side Effects - When Computers Think For Us
Young people use media on screens for an average of seven and a half hours per day. It is expected that cafés, restaurants and even holiday apartments have Wi-Fi, and an estimated 70 % of riders type, swipe or phone in the underground. Determining the negative consequences that this has on our brain has become the subject of extensive research. Over the last 30 years, important findings have been made in neuroplasticity and showed: The brain develops by using it. If the brain does not achieve the functional level that is actually possible when we are young because we no longer have to remember anything - thanks to smartphones, google, navigation, etc. - it will decay more quickly later.
The Last Christians in Turkey
Christians play hardly any role in Turkish politics and society. For half a century, only a couple thousand of them have been living in Istanbul. Most Turkish Muslims are barely aware of the fact that the spread of Christianity once began in Asia Minor, today's Turkey. Today, church bells can be heard in only a few villages of Turkey. "The Last Christians in Turkey" portrays three of them -- Vakifli, Tokacli and Arbo.
Silver Linings -- Living with Dementia
Approximately 100,000 people in Austria are considered to be suffering from dementia, most of them from Alzheimer's disease. Individual fates are hidden behind these figures. For some, the diagnosis of «Alzheimer» leads to a retreat from active life. Others take the bull by the horns and try to gloss over any shortcomings. Surveys show that in spite of all diagnosed decline even people in advanced stages of the disease may feel a profound joy of living. "Silver Linings -- Living with Dementia" accompanies three dementia patients and their families.
Religion and Violence -- An Unholy Alliance
The IS terror is a new dimension of religiously motivated brutality. But a look at history shows that violence, like religion, belongs to the primeval phenomena in human history. Why does man shed blood in the name of God, while all the world religions call for peace and love at the same time? Religion and Violence -- An Unholy Alliance looks for answers to this red-hot issue.
Can Hair Be a Sin?
Vital long hair as a sign of strength or fertility has been veiled or unveiled in various ways over the centuries. The documentary deals with the importance of this type of «veiling» and «unveiling» in the cultural history of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism and focuses primarily on women.
India - The Marriage Business I+II
Arranged marriages are still commonplace in India. NGOs hide young couples who don't want to be forced to get married; private investigators specialize in infidelity. Until today 90 % of all weddings in India are arranged by the bridal couples' parents, often supported by other relatives, professional matchmakers or even astrologers.
The Caliphate's Children
More and more young people from Austria leave to fight for ISIS and are fascinated by the ideology of terror. 150 are already in Syria and Iraq, the youngest are barely 16. Around 2000 Austrian citizens sympathize with the radical ideas of the Jihadists, most of them are without prospects.
Nicole Kampl and Florian Matscheko came across these young people during their research in social media networks, and take a look at who these people are, where they come from and why they move.
The Beauty Craze
When the beauty craze meets the cult of youth, temptation quickly becomes a must. Is the media, with its flood of ever more perfect pictures of the body, responsible? Or is the beauty craze the necessary consequence of an increasingly superficial consumer society? «The Beauty Craze» analyses a development that has got under the skin of modern society and is calling our image of ourselves and others into question. An eye-opening documentary on the fear of ageing and the fading of youth, about the psychological and social roots of our longing for beauty, about today's trade in flawlessness, the psychology of beauty and success, about being, appearance - and about the beauty of ageing.
Sufism in Senegal Yaye Fall - Women's Voices
The Baye Fall are the most conspicuous adherents of the Senegalese Sufi order of the Mouride Brotherhood. With their hip-length dreadlocks, black and white robes and countless prayer beads, most of the time they are the focus of public interest. The order is described as a Muslim brotherhood, yet as many women belong to the order and play a role that is on a par with that of the men.
They are known as Yaye Fall. «Yaye Fall - Women's Voices» is devoted to the outlook, attitude to life and activities of the Yaye Fall in view of the general situation of women in this predominantly Islamic country. It seeks to shed light on the all too often neglected, even disregarded significance of women in Islamic movements.
The Basic Income Generation
Time has changed. Nowadays there is no space for lone fighters. The young generation tries to fulfill a fundamental Change in social values. Financial benefits are no longer satisfying. Their attitude and point of view is equal to the basic concerns of the 'Christian Social teaching'. They form coalitions with some socio-politically active groups who follow the Christian social doctrine. This documentary tries to portray as well as explain the motives and ethics which determine the life of the «Basic Income Generation». It questions the economic and political concepts of the current lifestyle of the 21st century and makes a comparison between the behaviors of individuals in contrast to their expectation of society.
In June 1989 the Austrian Foreign Minister, Alois Mock, and his Hungarian counterpart, Gyula Horn, jointly cut through the «Iron Curtain». Since then, landscapes have changed, and economic ties, mobility and European freedom of movement are simply a fact of life for today's generation. And yet not all of the borders have disappeared. The optimism that broke out in many places 25 years ago sometimes seems even to have been superseded by a desire to re-establish the borders. What was the result of the fall of the Iron Curtain in the border regions? «Borderland Sentiments» looks at the economic, social and
cultural consequences and ramifications.
Water and World Religions
Water - the source of life. It is the summit of creation from a religious perspective. Water and religion are inextricably linked with each other. A symbol for initiation as in the baptism in Christianity, a symbol for lavation or punishment as in the flood myths in various persuasion. This documentary shows the relation between water and religion and reveals some amazing surprises along its journey!
Pilgrimage Between Faith and Money
Two brothers and their Moslem father undertake a great journey - the islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, the largest annual gathering of Muslim people in the world. It is one of the five pillars of Islam, and a religious duty which must be carried out by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so. During their journey they get to ask many questions: Why shall the birth house of Prophet Muhammad be torn down? How high will the Billion dollar investment rise to make 10 million out of 2,5 million pilgrims in 5 years? And who makes good money out of it? This fascinating journey leads, on its spiritual as well as journalistic way, through long-lost places right to the sanctuaries of Islam.
Less is More: How to be Happy with Nothing
The car, the library and a wardrobe full of clothes. Status symbols of yesterday. Today car sharing, swap markets and minimalism are booming as aspects of a lifestyle that rejects materialism. The cult of "less is more" is slowly spilling over from the United States to Europe. "100 things and no more" promises a new happiness without the urge to spend. Critics see it as a lifestyle that is only open to the middle classes - after all, those who have nothing, have nothing to swap. Optimists believe in a change with the potential to cut capitalism down to size and see in it the harbinger of a more social interconnectedness and a way of life that protects the environment. A trend against capitalism? Or saving the world by conserving resources?
Sharp as a Tack, Well-Educated, Assistant
Why are there so few women at the very top of the artistic and cultural world? Are women less good? Why then do they tend to score above average in relevant studies? Are women too modest, too considerate, too self-critical - or do they wimp out when it comes to the crunch? "Sharp as a Tack, Well-Educated, Assistant" examines the situation of women working in the artistic and cultural spheres and analyses them together with women working in the theatre, female film directors and cultural workers, with their male colleagues and with a female television director.
What Makes Our Children Sick?
It is a dangerous paradox. Never has there been so much prosperity and at the same time so many chronically sick children as today. A study from the United States shows that at present 43 per cent of children under the age of 18 suffer from at least one of 20 chronic illnesses. If we include morbid obesity and developmental disorders, the figure rises to 54.1 per cent. This means that completely healthy children are for the first time in a minority in an industrial country. This trend is spreading to Europe too. Is ill health really becoming more common, or are there other explanations? The documentary portrays children with typically modern conditions and looks for possible causes
The Invisible Man
Christmas 1960. After five years' imprisonment a man escapes from the most secure prison in Belfast using a file and bed sheets. After him: a 12,000-strong army of policemen and soldiers. But he is not caught. The escapee is Irishman, Danny Donnelly. At 16 he joined Sinn Féin, the political wing of the IRA. At 17 he was detained whilst handing out flyers and sentenced to ten years imprisonment by reason of his membership of a terrorist organisation. 50 years after his escape, together with his daughter, Danny retraces his footsteps during his escape through present-day Northern Ireland and meets his helpers and adversaries from back then. A film on the conflict in Northern Ireland from a completely new perspective about belief, guilt and forgiveness.
2016 - Best Editing - Irish Film & Television Academy
Music After The War, Kosovo Between Trauma And New Beginnings
In the summer of 2010, Austrian cellist Meinhard Holler first brought together Albanian and Serbian music students, as well as young German and Austrian musicians, for a chamber music workshop at the Styrian Castle Preding. But the real thrill ride got going when the whole group went on a concert tour in the homelands of the participants, including several Albanians and Serbs, most of whom live in Kosovo.
The focus of the film is on the passionate musical work of these young people, especially the relationship between the Albanian and Serbian participants, whose young lives were shaped by war and political conflict. Their personal memories of the Kosovo Conflict and explosive archive footage show a chapter of European history that still remains utterly unresolved.
Lampedusa - No Island
«Lampedusa - No Island» shows a feuilleton style report that does not only feature the tragic refugee's fate but furthermore gives a realistic insight in the citizens' living situation. Is there a lighthouse that will show us the way out of the darkest chapter of the European Union's history? From a very personal point of view the audience accompanies the film maker to the biggest fears of people and finally finds hold where none was expected: at Lampedusa. During an extensive conversation mayor Giusi Nicolini makes clear the chances and possibilities of an actively arranged migration policy with «her» Island as an example.
Betrayed Prayers - Egypt at the Crossroads
After the euphoria of the supposed "Arab Spring", Egypt, the heartland of the Islamic world, has slipped into nationwide winter. This documentary shows how, from the very beginning, the Egyptian military was instrumental in the large-scale protests by the masses against the corrupt long-time dictator, Hosni Mubarak, with the aim of seizing power themselves. There was thus an early betrayal of the revolt, which had been sustained by progressive Muslim and Christian sections of the population. The film shows how quickly the military allowed its mask to slip and at the same time set a trap against its actual enemy, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the fatal predicament that the latter found itself in as a result.
St. Stephen's Cathedral - A Heavenly Household
Vienna's St. Stephen's Cathedral is not only the city's landmarkand a national treasure, but also one gigantic household. Altarcloths need to be changed every day, pillars dusted and flowersbrought from the market. Damaged sculptures are restored in thecathedral works, and chairs re-covered in the repository. Who arethe people who work in the cathedral? What effect does the atmospherehave on the way they feel about their work? Everydaystories in a cathedral with a human side where there's often plentyof fun to be had - thanks to many fascinating household assistants,who could not be more different from one another and whomake just as much of a contribution to its unmistakable atmosphereas its inanimate occupants.
Handsome Stranger - Beachboys in Kenia
"You can earn a lot with the European women", says Gilbert, a professional "beach boy". He finds his customers on the beach and in bars. Every year older women from Europe travel to Kenya to be pampered by young African men for a couple of weeks. For some it is only about sex - but many of the women are actually looking for the love of their lives. This documentary travels to Kenya's dream beaches and meets many mixed couples there who believe they have found the joy of love (and their fortune) in Kenya.
The Children of Tibet
The Chinese government might paint a rosy picture of Tibet, but the situation, especially for children and young people from the impoverished Tibetan population, is bleak. Due to the impossibility, too, of retaining their cultural identity in Tibet, many young Tibetans are still fleeing into exile in northern India and Nepal today. What does their cultural identity mean to these young people, and what are the prospects for them in exile? The film «The Children of Tibet», uncovers the story of the exile of Tibet's youth in northern India and Nepal. A story that not only threatens the identity of an entire people, but, seen from a demographic point of view, also appears to be turning into a mixed culture.
The Nature of Money
Money has always been a contradictory commodity. Mostly it is an intrinsically worthless means of storing value, a differentiator that divides people up into classes and which nevertheless has led to social mobility and increased productivity. Goods, services and ideas are moved with the help of money, provided that there is confidence in the financial system. If, however, this confidence disappears, the entire economy threatens to grind to a halt. One thing is clear: politicians and society have lost control over the power of money. What money really is and how control over it can be regained is the central question of «The Nature of Money».
Auroville - Another World is Possible
Many communities were founded to improve the world in the second half of the last century. India, with its enormous historic potential of celebrated spirituality and a generous attitude to other life forms, became the home to many of these communes seeking meaning. The 2,200 members of the «Auroville» community in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu have turned their back on the capitalist way of life. Instead, in what they call their «laboratory of evolution», they are pursuing the goal of helping man to evolve into a being with divine consciousness. «Auroville» shows its inhabitants and their everyday life that is geared towards necessities rather than consumerism.
Young. Hip. Jewish.
What does Jewish mean? A pedigree, a culture, an attitude to life? «Young. Hip. Jewish.» traces the worlds in which the «third generation» lives, between orthodox tradition and liberal assimilation. Widely varying concepts of life combine to form a large blueprint of diversity. If you want to move forward in life, it is good to be aware of your roots - this is more or less exactly how all of the young protagonists in the film describe their adherence to their Jewish identity. A self-assured Diaspora wants to live in the here and now, as one minority among others. «Generation normal» is a new challenge. It has no patience with hiding behind rituals of remembrance.
Swapping and Sharing - The Trend for Living Without Money
Particularly in times of financial crisis and increasingly unsatisfactory working conditions, some people have a growing desire to experience other ways of life. A new culture of mutual give and take is coming into being under the generic title of the «Commons Movement». Self-harvest projects, couch surfing and local exchange systems with their own currencies are no longer purely a niche phenomenon. The «Longo Mai» cooperativeis one of the few societal experiments from the '68 generation and is soon to celebrate 40 years of existence. «Swapping & Sharing» portrays initiatives that put alternatives to the capitalist model of society to the test.
Wunder gibt es immer wieder
The Virgin Maria is 1,65m tall, about 25 years old and no words can describe her beauty. At least that's what the catholic seer Salvatore says, to whom she appears every month in the sky of the carinthian village Bad St. Leonhard. At this occasion houndreds of believer pray full of joy. Although the local church doesn`t support this appearance and even warns against it. These kinds of «magic places» are getting more and more popular - while priests complain about empty churches. Marian apparitions, a mysterious cross on the field or relics with unexplainable powers turn god into a tangible matter. In the course of this documentary Alfred Schwarzenberger met a couple of people, to whom the Virgin Maria appears regular. Some conjure heavenly Angels through prayers, others tailor blanket with heal power or claim that they took a photograph of god.
What Happiness Is - Dragon on a Tight Rope
A journey in search of serenity. The film follows the adventures of Seekers of Happiness who travel the peaks and valleys of their land in the name of the King of Bhutan. Wishes and desires, the landscapes of the soul, are reflected in the distant Himalayas. The long isolated Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan wants to open up to the West without succumbing to materialism. Development is measured by GNH, Gross National Happiness. In this unique project, civil servants from the Ministry of Happiness travel the country during eight months, using a questionnaire to determine the country's level of happiness. A road movie to the most distant destination of all: Happiness.
We are Democracy
Capitalism and democracy - is this apparent forced marriage heading for divorce? Has the triumphal march of capitalism left democracy, and we citizens with it, to fall by the wayside? Taking examples in Spain, Germany, Iceland, Switzerland and Austria, this film examines concrete alternatives to gauge their effectiveness. From symbolic ideas, the implementation of new economic systems and the education of young people about democracy, to the participation of citizens in government, people throughout Europe are looking for something with which to counter a society in crisis.
Documenting, scrutinising and reflecting on this essential exploratory movement for new contemporary forms of social and economic coexistence in light of the current situation constitutes the abiding undertone of this documentary film, its images and its narrative.
Where Have All the Girls Gone
In India there is massive discrimination against women and girls. From birth, girls are neglected, poorly fed, their needs are inadequately met and they are not allowed to go to school. For good measure, China and India have made a name for themselves through the practice of selectively aborting female foetuses. The population is growing, but the growth is not natural. In Asia, far more boys are being born than girls. Today the continent is missing 160 million women. In the past, cultural traditions were blamed for this development, but it would appear that the reasons are rather more economic in nature.
Singing Instead of Shooting
What are a rabbi, an imam and a priest doing together? In Antakya, formerly known as Antioch, they are singing in a choir - under the leadership of a young Turkish conductor. The "Choir of the Civilisations" sees itself as a multicultural answer to the growing religious and ethnic tensions in the region. Today, Antakya, at one time the "cradle of Christianity", lies on one of the most dangerous borders in the world, that with Syria. There, the conflict between Sunnis, Alaouites and Christians has escalated into civil war. In the nearby Antakya these groups are continuing to live side by side in peace. Yet here too the tensions are increasing and the war in Syria is threatening to spill over into the entire region.
A fascinating documentary that looks at the current situation in Syria from a slightly different angle.
Freedom of Thought - Fair Punishment for the Criminally Insane
The criminally insane are incarcerated as dangerous felons and offenders, who, due to an absence of criminal responsibility, cannot be judged. But did they really not know what they were doing? Are they rebels without a cause? Can there be fair punishment for the criminally insane? How does anyone live with the prospect of having no prospect of freedom?
Statements from inmates, such as "for me freedom means that I can write my letters, that now and again I can receive a package, but actually, that my thoughts remain free," shape this unique film, which portrays everyday life in prison from the point of view of insane lawbreakers for the first time.
The Roots of Violence
Violence came about as a result of a settled way of life. Archaeological finds show that hunters and gatherers lived relatively peacefully, preferring to avoid one another rather than smash each other's skulls if a conflict arose. It was only with the onset of farming and the first villages that serious violence developed among human beings.
Exclusion engenders violence. This separation between "us" and "others" has been and still is misused by politicians. The history of nationalism shows this to a terrifying extent - most recently in Bosnia, when 8.400 people were murdered. This documentary risks a foray into important aspects of research into violence throughout the history of mankind.
The Near-Death Phenomenon - Is There Life After Death?
How should one speak about something for which there are no words? In general, those who have been narrowly "brought back to life" report leaving their physical body, being bathed in heavenly light, experiencing cosmic harmony and meeting the dead when they speak of their experiences. Quite apart from speculation about the veracity or the cultural determinacy of such reports, it is certain that near-death experiences are more than momentous for those concerned, and in many cases can lead to positive changes in the way they live their lives and deal with death. The film gives a voice to those who are able to report from their own acute experiences.
India's Cotton - Tears, Sweat and Hope
Cotton is also known as white gold. After China, India is the world's largest producer. But even white gold has dark shadows. Falling prices mean that millions of small farmers and harvesters in India have barely enough to survive on. And even though only five percent of farmland in India is planted with cotton, 50 percent of all of the pesticides used fall on cotton fields, which, in addition to being an economic catastrophe, is also an ecological one. But there is renewed hope for the small farmers and seasonal workers, as organic cotton experiences a boom. Minimum wages are guaranteed and child labour is forbidden. This is allowing many to dream again. Not of palaces and of gold, but of a somewhat better, fairer life.
India's Rug-Manufacturers - A Tragic Carpet Ride
Today, India is the undisputed and largest exporter of hand-made carpets. 400,000 people live from weaving carpets, whilst 2 million are involved in their production somewhere along the line. And even though these works of art fetch very high prices in Europe or America, the wages and working conditions of the craftsmen and women are still in a sorry state. Since 1995, Label Step, the fair trade organisation, has worked to bring about an improvement in the living conditions of the workers, and has definitely registered some success.
At the heart of this documentary is a journey along the so-called "carpet road" in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, which is one of the most backward states in India. The documentary shows the life of agricultural workers, weavers, dyers and traders, and flies with the carpets to Europe.
For Gods Sake - A South African Bishop enters Politics
South Africa, the rainbow nation on the Cape, has been given a reality check. The newly elected president Jacob Zuma was facing serious corruption charges recently before the case was dropped under dubious circumstances. This and other grievances prompted well-known members of the ruling party to break away and form a new party, the «Congress of the People». COPE, as it's called, has recruited the high profile Methodist bishop, Dr. Mvume Dandala, in a deliberate attempt to promote values and moral authority in the quagmire that is South African politics.
It's a courageous and risky decision by the 53-year-old Cambridge graduate; many religious figures have failed in similar missions after being duped, marginalised and corrupted along the way. Rocked by a series of crises, the South African political climate has also become extremely harsh. On election day a COPE activist was shot and Mvume Dandala and his assistants received death threats. A film about the delicate balancing act of a bishop, who has put his life on the line for the welfare of his people.
Iran - Life under Pressure
know that Tehran's most popular hospital is Jewish? The Sapihr clinic, located
in a poor neighborhood in the south of Iran's capital, offers treatment free of
charge to those in need. 99 percent of the patients are Muslims, but doctors
and nurses get their salary from the Jewish community. After the Iranian
Revolution, seven out of ten Jews left Iran. The remaining 30.000 claim that
they want to stay in a country that was populated by their ancestors, centuries
before Arab warriors brought Islam. Since 1979 Jews enjoy an ambivalent status
as a 'protected minority'.
This documentary gives an impressive insight of the Iranian minority's life under the double pressure of Islamic society and international sanctions and impresses with stunning comments of the people there.
Miracle of Healing
Kurt Langbein survived carcinosis by radiation therapy. The question is how long does the diagnosis «being healed for the present» last? The well known science-journalist - conducted by his own motivation - started to get to the bottom of the special parameters mobilizing one's immune system, being able to heal carcinosis finally. In fact there are people, so called moribunded cause of suffering carcinosis, but contrary to diagnostics being in the best of health. Some of them are known as «medical miracle», others just try to find out some unorthodox «attraction to New Age healing». Do these patients have the «right» answers? What does academic medicine know about how healing works? What becomes more important - the therapy or the therapist?
God's Army - God's Enemy: Inside Boko Haram
The film «God's Army - God's Enemy: Inside Boko Haram» is the first documentary that investigates the background of the bloody conflicts in Nigeria as the starting point of the Islamic terror. The «Mother of Boko Haram»- a very controversial lawyer and self-proclaimed human rights activist - delivers insight into the world of religious terror organizations and presents their point of view regarding the threatening religious war.»We do not know who the self-proclaimed holy-warriors are. It is a faceless army that murders randomly. It is Boko Haram»- this answer always occurs when trying to explain the enduring terror in Nigeria.However, the origin of the mysterious radical-Islamic group «Boko Haram», often called the «Taliban of Africa», lies in Mohammed Yusuf, an already dead leader of a sect, and in the place of origin, the North-Nigerian city Maiduguri. Maiduguri and the meeting with the Boko-Haram-warriors is the last stop on a long journey through a shattered country which is torn apart by the religion of its inhabitants.
Europe - The New Migrant Workers
People are forming queues outside African consulates in Lisbon, more and more Portuguese are trying to find work in the former colonies, whilst at home the situation is hopeless. In Spain too, mass emigration has begun. Above all, there are young academics who are thronging to other EU countries and also trying their luck in South America or Africa. None of them wants to describe himself as an economic refugee or even as a guest worker. The connotations of these terms have been far too negative since Europe became a continent of immigration in the 1960s. This documentary examines the incipient change of direction in the flows of migration and finds that the doors to the economic boom countries on other continents are by no means as wide open to Europeans as they were in centuries gone by.
The Fascination of Kabbalah - Magic, Mysticism, Cult
Madonna does it, and so do Mick Jagger and Demi Moore. Increasing numbers of the rich and beautiful are finding that they identify with the secret Jewish doctrine of Kabbalah. They believe that all of the principles of the universe are passed down by the texts of the Torah. Kabbalah has held a fascination for centuries. It is actually a collection of medieval, abstract texts full of numerological secrets, puzzles and ancient Jewish symbolism. However, only a few are in the position to actually understand the symbolism and concepts of this Jewish wisdom. The film attempts to get to the bottom of Jewish mysticism away from crude fads and esotericism.
Circumcision - The Battle for the Foreskin
Muslims and Jews have done it for over a thousand years. A third of the male population of the world and two thirds of Americans have been circumcised, predominantly for health reasons. An everyday religious and hygienic practice that wasn't bothering anyone, that is until the judgement of the Cologne District Court changed everything. The judges deemed that circumcising a child should be punishable, as it violates the child's best interests and its right to physical integrity. The representatives of the religious communities affected have gone on the counterattack and the president of the Conference of European Rabbis, Pinchas Goldschmidt, spoke of «perhaps the most serious assault since the Holocaust». Representatives of the Islamic faith are also talking of serious attacks on the freedom of religion.
Aid in the Ring of Fire
Seven years after the devastating tsunami that ravaged Banda Aceh inDecember 2004, this documentary takes precise stock of the internationalaid projects. It is a portrait that examines the often contradictory needs ofemergency assistance in a catastrophe and longer-term development cooperation.In the marketplace for helpfulness, NGOs compete with oneanother and attempt, despite corruption and political and religious tensions,to focus on people and provide lasting assistance. What is the mostsensible way to help and how can we be sure that the right priorities are set?
Adam's Peak - Between Heaven and Earth
Places filled with stories, legends and myths have a magical appeal for Christoph Ransmayr. He visits them, explores them and makes use of the impressions gathered on his journeys in his novels. Recently, he headed to Sri Lanka, where he climbed Adam's Peak, the holy mountain. Around 60,000 people scale the 2,243 metre high mountain, which has great mystical meaning for Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians alike, every day. The variety of mythical founding legends causes Christoph Ransmayr to consider the mountain in greater depth. He meets many people who have a connection to the mountain and discovers a seemingly endless treasure trove of stories.
In 2007, for the first time, the Venice Biennale hosted an exhibition of Romany Art. A historical exhibition which questioned the traditional «identity» frontiers of contemporary art. The curator of the exhibition, Timea Junghaus (Hungarian Sinta, art historian and academic) takes us through the works of art and the lives of the artists who have given birth to this new movement in the international artistic panorama: Roma Contemporary Art. The Romany artists, whose cultural capital is Budapest, use art as a medium to overthrow and discuss the main cultural images which the European media has created around the Romany minority.The story is told by the artists themselves, together in Budapest for an exhibition of new media, and this documentary follows the challenge created between politics and aesthetics.
Urban Extremes - Jerusalem
Between cyberspace and daily life, «Urban Extremes - Jerusalem» is an insight into the conflictual use of space in the Holy City. In Jerusalem, groups of both Israeli and Palestinian urban planners have joined together to defend human rights: the right to possess land, because in Israel the biggest conflict is that of space. Architecture and urban studies are the cause of conflict, and the documentary follows the emotional maps of the city, through the eyes of those who live and work in the city defining the development and the confines of Jerusalem: a capital city for two populations. The regulatory plan, building licenses, evictions and illegal buildings are the tools used to define the territory's nature: the war is fought through housing, no longer using tanks. The planning of the houses has become a filter, revealing the intimate mechanism of a thousand year long conflict.
Light from Another World - An Ancient Religion Returns
Even for the church and theology of antiquity it was a challenge - Gnosis. Amystery religion, which holds that the material world is the prison of souls.People can free themselves - by brightening their inner, God-given sparksof light. In antiquity, so-called «hermetic» thinking was taught in secretsocieties. Even today, there are small circles of initiates that impart Gnostic«enlightenment»- which includes the belief that you can find God in yourself.
Turkey - Self-Confident Women
Although politics remains men's business in Turkey, more and more women determine the fate of that country. Nowhere in Europe do so many women head multinational companies, run university departments and clinics and shape public debate as journalists and writers. On the otherhand, there are millions of Turkish women who have no chance of education or a profession.One fifth cannot read and write. Despite strictlaws, extreme acts of domestic violence andso-called «honour killings» of young girls are still the order of the day and covered by almost inviolable traditions. Christian Schüller has accompanied four strong women and shows how each in her own way attempts to break out of existing stereotypes. What unites them in spite of ideological differences and contradictions is the conviction: «Women change Turkey!«
Eden II - A World Without Men
The future is female, geneticists claim! Men will become superfluous and simply die out! Currently, fewer boys are born worldwide than statistics expect. «The male is an error of nature, a dinosaurof evolution», researchers say. This documentary not only shows what unusual measures nature resorts to in order to get rid of the male species, but it also explores the question whether the continued existence of mankind completely without men is conceivable at all.
Laziness - Instructions on Idleness
Laziness, idleness, living for the moment, hanging out- what many people actually like to do best is frowned upon. For modern life is organized around constant productivity and useful, paid work. The movie takes a trip to those places and people that today purposely expose themselves to the taboo of uselessness and idleness - and who love to just be lazy.
With their "Appeal to Disobedience" the Austrian Priests' Initiative for church reform have caused a great stir among Catholic laity and church authority. According to a survey, 71% of Catholics in Austria support the aims of the rebellious priests. There is particularly great support for a priesthood of married men and for female priests. But what does the priests' "disobedience" mean in concrete terms? How does the church define obedience, or in other words, who must a priest obey: the bishop, his own conscience - or God?
The documentary "Obedience" attempts to find answers to these questions and provides an outlook on the consequences of disobedience for the church of the future.
We do not eat animals
"We do not eat animals" explores the phenomenon of vegetarianism from philosophical, religious, historical and socio-cultural perspectives, as well as the various forms of and motives for vegetarian diets. A dinner of "herbal priest" Benedikt Felsinger with Anita Sahni, the president of the Hindu Mandir Society, the largest Hindu community in Austria, serves as a cinematic frame story. The various dishes start a conversation about religiously motivated dietary commandments. For example, the classification of fish as Lenten food that is not subject to the ban on meat, as if it were a "water vegetable." In Hinduism, one of the few religions that generally practice strict vegetarianism, meat-based food is considered an obstacle on the path to Nirvana.
Miracle Healer or Charlatan?
What if the greatest healer of all time were to return? A possible answer to this question is provided by the case of Bruno Groening. Germany 1949: «There is nothing that is incurable. God is the greatest physician!» This was the bold claim of the son of a simple bricklayer from Gdansk. He was neither a doctor nor a healer, and had undertaken no course of study, and yet every day thousands of people came to him. «It's beyond belief! He heals the lame, the blind and the deaf!» read the headline in the Suedeutsche Sonntagspost newspaper. Elsewhere people spoke of the «Bavarian Lourdes». Even the newsreels reported on it. Practically overnight, Groening was hyped by the media as the «new Messiah». Naturally this was a provocation for the church. Doctors and the authorities felt forced to react. And so Groening was forbidden from healing and forced to appear in court. So, was he a charlatan after all? A media witch hunt began.
For many believers, John Paul II was already a saint in his lifetime. Thanks to his charisma he was able to return many people to the fold of the Roman Catholic Church - and even encouraged numerous others to enter into the monastic life. For the documentary, «The Admirers», Peter Beringer visited believers in Austria for whom John Paul II is already undoubtedly a saint - believers who worship him unconditionally and who feel they have found an intercessor in the Polish Pope. The documentary also critically illuminates the impact of the former Pontifex Maximus, the ecclesiastical practice of beatification in general and the speed of this beatification process in particular.
Christos Anesti - Easter in Greece
Monemvasia on the southern Peloponnes in Lakonia is considered to be one of the most reflective places in which to celebrate Easter. The historic lustre of the medieval town takes on a new complexion. The car-free fortress town is synonymous with the mystically intense experience of the death and resurrection of Christ. On the other side of the Parnon mountain ridge, Easter is celebrated quite differently. In Leonidio, the capital of Arcadia, the resurrection is positively bombed into being. Since time immemorial the male population has bombarded the small town, which lies between two rock faces, with home-made dynamite bombs. Even during the celebration of the resurrection on Easter Saturday, the detonations drown out the entire liturgy. This documentary shuttles between the two contrasting poles of Leonidio and Monemvasia in order to capture the meaning of Easter in both the orthodox faith and everyday life. In times of crisis in particular, the festival of the resurrection takes on an even greater symbolic importance.
The Annunziata Convent in the Lower Austrian town of Eichgraben was founded in 1898 as the first Austrian branch of the order of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary. This convent is now for sale - bad news for the 22 sisters who still live here and have spent the majority of their lives in this community property. But the convent is suffering from a lack of money, and above all from a shortage of new blood. By the end of April a new home needs to be found for the aged sisters. It seems clear that they will no longer be able to live under one roof. Their entry to the order was accompanied by vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.
Forgiven and Forgotten?
Almost a million people - above all Tutsis - were massacred by their Hutu neighbours during the genocide of 1994. The events of the past are still part of everyday life today and retain an enormous significance. Today Hutus and Tutsis often live alongside one another - not only next door to one another, but in many cases with one another. Given the past, how can it be possible to live together? How do people deal with their guilt? How can forgiveness be possible? Ruanda, 2011: Seventeen years have passed since the devastating genocide, to which around 1 million people fell victim. The external traces of this civil war are hardly visible still - but in the hearts and minds of Rwandans, the genocide is far from being over and done with. To the present day everyday life in this small African nation is marked by the after-effects of genocide.
The Mystery of the Mother of God
Every year, the places where Mary appears - Lourdes and Medjugorje - draw millions of pilgrims, fascinated by the mysterious phenomenon in these places of deep piety. The official church seems to be divided when it comes to the phenomenon of Marian apparitions. Whilst the apparitions in Lourdes are officially recognised, there are doubts as to the authenticity of those in Medjugorje. Against which criteria are such apparitions judged? What is the interrelationship between Marian miracles and political, economic and ideological conditions? And what is the fascination that causes believers to repeatedly visit such places?
Life on a Volcano
In the wake of the international financial crisis, Iceland was the first European country to teeter on the brink of national insolvency at the end of 2008. The country's three largest banks collapsed, and the government was brought down by the people's «cooking pot revolution». In the meantime, the economy has started to grow again, and the International Monetary Fund attests to Iceland's remarkable progress. The country owes its comeback not only to financial help from other countries, but also to a rigorous programme of savings. The political system has been renewed by unconventional means. Ordinary citizens are tasked with giving the country a new constitution and in the capital city, Reykjavik, a humour-based party is in charge. The dispute over the repayment of billions-worth of British and Dutch savings deposits may not yet be over, but the people are again looking to the future with confidence.
Ladies of the Desert
For over 35 years, the Saharaui (Sahrawi) people have desperately been waiting for a solution to the West-Saharan conflict. In 1975, the International Court of Justice finally filed a ruling stating West Sahara's independent sovereignty and political status, which was another milestone from towards independence from the neighboring Moroccan and Mauritanian states. The conflict however, was not resolved. In 1991, the Polisario (national liberation movement) and Morocco had finally come to agreement upon implementing a cease-fire. Since 1975, thousands of refugees have been anticipating a long awaited referendum, after which they would possibly return home. Up until this day, no such referendum has been carried out. An estimated 160 000 people live in the West-Saharan refugee camps, greatly depending on international aid from NGOs and international organizations, such as the United Nations. Over the years, the media have shown a loss in interest concerning the camps, which resulted in an overall decrease in international aid. The restricted lives led in a refugee camp have called for an amendment to the people's goals. War has once again become an option, and the influence of Islamic rituals and traditions has become more prominent in the Saharaui culture.
The documentary «Ladies of the Desert» describes the lives of the women in the refugee camps and how their role is fundamental to the functioning and survival of the people in these camps. The struggles of finding work and supporting a family are nearly impossible for the woman and children who have neither passports nor documents. Discovering the complexity of the aspects of the women's lives, which have to remain strong and persevere under incredible circumstances; one is introduced to the traditions and moments of everyday life which help these women survive. How does one maintain dignity and hope under such extreme conditions? The women trapped inside the walls of the refugee camps experience an everyday struggle for the answer. The Women of the desert will go their way and those who have survived for so long, will manage to survive for decades to come - and they will tell their stories as they always did, and we will listen, repeating their stories to the world.
Country No. 1
10 years after 9/11 "Country No.1" takes on a travel back in time to the fall of 2001 when official history was not yet written. Shortly after September 11th I traveled to a New York that was under worldwide surveillance. My impulse was to contrast the omnipresent TV-imagery and its attempt to incorporate the event into an official narrative. I was looking for images of every-day-life, which continued in the shadow of the spectacular incident. I wanted to witness how "simple" New Yorkers were impacted and how they tried to create their own narratives in order to deal with the event individually. Thus I found four protagonists, who for me represent a cross section and who all worked in common places such as a newsstand, a shoeshine, a barbershop and directly on the streets like Scott the mural painter. By combining their stories with uncommented images of the work at ground zero and the beginning of a remembrance culture, I tried to relate different aspects of the "history-in-the-making"-process and raise the question of what could become. So in the review "Country No.1" is a time travel to a point where it wasn't yet decided what had to happen and thus allows the reflection on whether or why history became what it is today.
Bishop on a Boat Trip - Don Erwin Kräutler
When Erwin Kräutler became Bishop of Altamira in the Amazon, his colleagues advised him that he would be expected to wear the insignia of Episcopal power, the mitre, ring and bishop's gown. But the bishop from the Austrian province of Vorarlberg decided not to set himself apart from his fellow men and exchanged his «hat» for simple jeans and t-shirts. However, not everyone appreciates his approach. The fact that he advocates the rights of the indigenous people and campaigns against the destruction of the Amazon region is a thorn in some people's sides. Erwin Kräutler's commitment has seen him arrested, tortured and threatened with death on several occasions. Nevertheless, his support for the indigenous people was recognised on 6th December 2010 with an alternative Nobel prize. This documentary accompanies the Bishop on a pastoral visit to the furthest-flung corner of Brazil.
Life for the Poor - Father George
The Jesuit priest Georg Sporschill has devoted his life to helping the weakest members of society - the homeless, drug addicts and street children. From the beginnings of his social work he has created, with great commitment and dedication, places of refuge for those who have nowhere left to turn. This documentary shows Father Georg Sporschill's tireless work in the service of society and portrays a man who, in accordance with his principles, looks after the weakest, in order to find the strength in them.
Our society is ageing and the birth rate is steadily going down. In the past 30 years the decline in the birth rate has dramatically increased in all European countries reaching a level that is considered threatening for the survival of society. Experts have long since recognised the causes: It is a family policy that is also supported by parts of the Catholic Church which advocates a conservative, traditional division of roles. This leads many women to go on strike as far as having babies is concerned. Because when career advancement and children become incompatible more and more women choose the career. This documentary describes this ongoing development and uses, amongst others, the Danish example to show how the trend towards fewer children could be reversed through a better range of childcare possibilities for small children and a change in the image of working mothers.
Job Description: Prostitution
Prostitution - a sign of the failure of our culture today, or a completely normal part of social and economic life? Prostitution has been a part of society in every culture for hundreds of years - torn between social acceptance and proscription. Data on the consumption of sexual services is almost impossible to collect - the numbers are certain to be high.
This documentary illuminates the social and legal stigmatization of prostitutes and highlights the ambivalence between the fight to legalise the «industry» and the need to protect those forced into sex business. Where is the line between so-called sex workers, who prostitute themselves freely, and those who are forced into prostitution? How can the vicious circle of the sex trade with women, lured by promises of work as «hostesses» or «dancers», be broken? Can legalisation help?
Prayer on a Chain - The Rosary Makes a Comeback
Monotonous babble or a method of contemplation? Can one really have a spiritual experience by reciting this prayer to Mary? This documentary attempts to look into these and other questions, while also examining the history of the rosary and developments throughout the Middle Ages and early Modern period that led to its current form. In the beginning the rosary may simply have been an amulet or a piece of jewellery but it quickly developed into a status symbol and was even used as a weapon in the wars against the Turks. Reformers and church politicians even used its symbolism in later times to make spirituality comprehensible, just like prayer beads in other religions such as Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism.
«Marriage finished!» That was the wording of an email sent by Sabine Arzt-Januschke to her husband, just a few weeks after their wedding. The reason for the decision was unusual however; the young woman had decided to devote her life to the Dharma, the teachings of the Buddha, and become a Buddhist nun. That was 13 years ago. Nowadays Sabine Arzt-Januschke is one of the most important female Buddhist dignitaries in the world. As a spiritual teacher, she advises mainly westerners, who are seeking their spiritual roots in Tibetan Buddhism.
World in a Ball
This documentary shows the very contradictory consequences of globalization in a single, remote setting: in the secret world capital of soccer in northeast Pakistan, Sialkot. According to a Pakistani legend, the ball is not only round, but also a "Golden Ball," a "Gola Zareen." In Sialkot, 50,000 workers sew about forty million handmade balls per year. That's seventy percent of the hand-stitched soccer balls on the world market. It takes about three hours to finish a ball. The business, which began more than 100 years ago with the manufacture of balls, hockey sticks, and cricket bats for their British colonial masters, kept booming for decades and is economically important for all Pakistan. Now burgeoning competition is posing a threat: el cheapo balls from China are becoming better and better, and high-tech products from Thailand are becoming cheaper and cheaper.
The World in Their Hands - How Deaf-blinds Feel Their Lives
«I am a German measles child,» Anita says. «It was all but certain that I would be born disabled. My mother decided to have me nevertheless, and I will be eternally grateful to her. Because I am so happy to be alive.» Anita is deaf-blind. She hears and sees practically nothing. The world of the deaf-blind ends with the reach of their hands Being unable, or barely able, to see and hear, deaf-blind people are unable to register anything in the distance. They live in a world of nearness. Director Jonny Roth immersed himself in this subject for two years. «If you are unable to hear and see, what's left?» This question wouldn't let go of the young director. He had to find out and present this strange, intimate world to the rest of us so that we could feel it ourselves.
Sun, Moon and Stock Markets
We live in an enlightened world.Or at least that's the way it appears.But raise the curtain on the figures, graphics, laws and hard economic data, and what lies behind it is a tide of irrationality,including company bosses taking advice from financial astrologers, new employees being selected according to their star sign and pendulums being used to make critical decisions.The more the controlled world falters as a result of crises, the more gratefully people seem to resort to private mythologies, astrology and divination.The film explores this centuries-old fascination and examines the modern-day relationship between enlightenment, religion and superstition.
Roma - In the Heart of Europe, yet at the End of the World
Five hundred thousand Roma live in Slovakia - as much as ten percent of its entire population. Relations between «whites» and «gypsies» are strained. Anti-Roma demonstrations are a regular occurrence in eastern Slovakia. Lomnicka, a village at the foothills of the Carpathians, is exclusively inhabited by Roma, home to a population of about two-and-a-half-thousand. Its buildings are run down, the majority of them even unsound. Families of eleven are living on welfare of 300 Euro a month and without running water, electricity or sewers. Hardly anyone is employed here, and in winter children run through the snow in sandals, looking for firewood. Yet Lomnicka's inhabitants are still privileged among East-Slovakian Roma. Nine out of ten Roma in Slovakia are unemployed. They were and still are consistenly excluded from the labor market and there is virtually no chance for the Roma to free themselves from depending on welfare.
Dakinis - The Feminine Side of Wisdom
The word «dakini» represents an entire world.The dakini principle is a feminine credo. The language of the dakini is heard in silence and read in the darkness or in space.Opening this door is agreeing to enter the dimension of the intangible, the irrational...
The dakini principle only belongs to womankind, in the same way as the masculine principle only belongs to men.The more a human being becomes open and receptive, the closer she becomes to what is known as the «dakini, the being of wisdom».
Kandro Tsöring Chodron, an eminent dakini, who was the spiritual companion of one of the greatest Buddhist masters of all time, Jetsun Pema, who has devoted her life to the Tibetan Children's Village in order to educate those that the Dalai Lama calls «the seeds of our future Tibet», Ama Adhe, who was locked away in Chinese prisons for twenty-seven years, and Dominique Marchal, one of the first female commercial pilots, who discovered Buddhism later in life and dedicated herself to humanitarian work: the programme contains portraits of women as different as they are moving.With the help of her spiritual guide, Sogyal Rinpoche, the author of the work «The Tibetan Book of Life and Death», Véronique Jannot takes us to meet these women with such unusual destinies.
«Meeting them, listening to them, is an unforgettable experience.As one leaves them one feels enriched, with the sense of having received one of life's gifts...»
Out of the Ashes
For over 20 years a bloody civil war has raged in northern Uganda. The conflict is the longest and perhaps most brutal in the history of the African continent. Today northern Uganda is an area of permanent crisis in a chronic state of emergency. «Out of the Ashes» illuminates the situation of women in the disputed area and shows their efforts to find a way back to normality in the current fragile peace. As central figures within their families and as a growing economic force, women are acquiring a decisive role in the socially fractured structure of the region.
Bordering on Reconciliation - The Armenia-Turkey Issue
After almost a century of bitter enmity, representatives of the Turkish and Armenian governments signed a treaty providing for the establishment of diplomatic relations. If the parliaments of both countries ratify the agreement, soon the border between the two countries is expected to be opened. However, any rapprochement with Turkey is extremely contentious within Armenia, as to the present day Turkey denies any responsibility for the Armenian genocide. During the First World War, the Ottoman Young Turks killed over a million Armenians. For a long time Armenians fought to have these events internationally recognised as the first genocide of the 20th century. The genocide has now been recognised by most civilised countries - but not by Turkey. And for this reason many Armenians wonder if it is not perhaps a mistake to take steps towards reconciliation with their larger Turkish neighbor without an admission of guilt.
Tel Aviv - A Life between Heaven and Hell
Tel Aviv, "the big orange», is known for its openness and tolerance. It all started over 100 years ago on the dunes north of Jaffa, when 66 Jewish immigrant families acquired land with the aim of founding a garden city. Whilst Jerusalem is regarded as the spiritual heart, Tel Aviv presents itself as cosmopolitan and modern. The «white city» on the Mediterranean is a magnet for young people and creative types from all over the world. It is a centre for art, fashion, beach and nightlife, a city that is growing all the time and constantly in motion. Although Tel Aviv as the former capital of the nascent state of Israel was and still is so important for the country's identity, the people who live here sometimes give the impression that they live in a bubble, turning away from the politics and acts of war that surround them. Old and young inhabitants of Tel Aviv present the «big orange» in this documentary.
Women in the Vatican
It has become something of a cliché nowadays to describe the Vatican as a state exclusively for priests and men. Of the closest members of the pope's staff, around 15 percent are currently women and their numbers are increasing. Women in the Vatican protect the historical treasures of the church, they help determine if someone should be canonised, they oversee the restoration work taking place in St. Peter's and, for the last few years at least, have held executive positions in the governing body of the church.
This documentary shows nine miniature portraits of exemplary women working for the pope and his church who are involved in making decisions which affect the fate of this microstate.
God Is With Us - Georgia's Church and State in Times of Crisis
Georgia, the land of countless churches and monasteries, has cultivated its religious image. The national flag used since the November 2003 Rose Revolution, with its white background and five red crosses, symbolises the passion of Christ. Recent events however have signalled a change in the relationship between church and state. The Russian Orthodox Church wants to adhere to the old church borders, while unrest spreads in the breakaway of the Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. This film takes a look at the current turbulent direction of the Georgian Orthodox Church, following the sudden death of Patriarch Alexi II and the actions of the country's politically weakened President Mikheil Saakashvili.
Since the appearance of the Blessed Virgin, Placanica has become a place of pilgrimage, in which numerous «miracle cures», heavenly scents, prophetic speeches, levitation and visions are said to have occurred. The Vatican has now decided to appoint a scientific commission to investigate the «miracles», as more and more people are visiting the place to experience a wonder. The film accompanies pilgrims, many of whom have travelled thousands of kilometres in hope of receiving a sign from God.
A Glimpse of the Other Side - Near Death Experiences
Since the 1970s, near death experiences have become the subject of public curiosity. And since that time, more and more people have put aside their fear of speaking out about their experiences. In the documentary «A Glimpse of the Other Side», three women talk about what happened to them on the threshold of death. All three recall their experiences having progressed in a similar manner: they all report seeing themselves lying dead and observing what was happening in the room from outside their bodies. They describe approaching a light in a tunnel and having been welcomed by their dead relatives. This phenomenon is now also being examined from a scientific perspective. What happens after death? And what part of a person continues after death? Above all, these questions relate to faith and religion. So the fact that there might actually be points of contact with quantum physics may at first glance seem absurd.
There Is Probably No God
For several years now, the «New Atheism» has been making headlines. Books, billboards and city buses announce: «There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.» World famous scientists, such as Richard Dawkins, the evolutionary biologist, as well as the people from next door who until now have kept quiet, are forming a front against religion and the Church. Is atheism becoming a movement of its own? Does it still make sense to be discussing a life without God in what appears to be a largely godless society? And do atheists live differently, and if so, how are they different? The film visits the «New Atheism's» leading lights, such as Richard Dawkins, Andrew Copson, the founder of the London bus campaign, and the French philosopher and atheologist Michel Onfray.
The Power of Prayer
Does God act when we talk to him? Every religious person will have asked themselves this question at one time or another and opinions on the subject could not be more varied. For some, prayers are a magical means of communication with higher powers while for others they are simply another means of meditation. However, since time immemorial human beings have attempted to gain the favour of their god or gods respectively. This documentary explores the socio-religious and spiritual significance of prayer in Christianity, the Voodoo cult and in Buddhism.
Dining with Religion - Pork?
The pig- good luck charm, tasty treat, insult and taboo food. Be it at Easter or around the turn of the year, the Christian cultural sphere has no problem with pigs- on the contrary. Apart from the occasional exception such as "dumb" or "dirty", the pig, which is the major dietary source of animal protein and not just in Europe, enjoys extremely positive connotations: as a good luck charm at New Year or as a sweet piglet in advertising. In Judaism and above all Islam pigs and their flesh are considered to be abhorrent and impure, damaging to a person´s body and soul. The pig is not "kosher" to the Jews and even less "halal" for Muslims. What lies behind this striking discrepancy? The documentary on the subject of the "Poor Pig" covers alot of ground, from the massacre of those pigs that serve as a means of subsistence for Coptic Christians on the streets of Cairo, and European slaughterhouses, beer tents and churches, to high-end kosher restaurants...
Pilgrimage, Bathing & Praying - The Hindu Festival of Kumbh Mela
Kumbh Mela, the festival of the pitcher, is the largest of the Hindu religion's festivals. It takes place every twelve years - according to the cycle of Jupiter around the sun - in four different locations in India.Sadhus, holy Indian monks, come together from every corner of India to take part in the ritual ablutions.For many Hindu orders, the Kumbh Mela is also where they inaugurate and accept students into their communities.This documentary accompanies two practising Hindus, Swami Maheshwarananda, who has lived in Austria for many years, and Lisa Wolf, a native of Vienna, to the festival of the pitcher.Maheshwarananda is the founder of the worldwide order «Yoga in Daily Life» and Lisa Wolf is a painter who was accepted into the Hundertwasser class of the time on the strength of pictures that she produced at a Kumbh Mela 24 years ago.
Fasting - A Journey to Freedom
Along with the trend for all things wellness related, fasting has also come back into fashion. However, where in the beginning it was mainly a means of losing weight, today it is increasingly regarded as a spiritual experience. Fasting can mean many things - but above all concentrating on the essential, getting back to oneself. The film «Fasting - A Journey to Freedom» travels with the public from place to place. In the process it uncovers the fundamental principles of the Christian practice of fasting in the world of today.
The Gender In-Between - Transvestites in Rio
This is the story of Luana Muniz, a sex worker, who speaks openly about her experiences and dreams. She tells of the tough competition, the solidarity and the violence on the streets, of the way she presents herself as both man and woman and of her attitude to life. An intimate portrait of a life lived beyond sexual codification and social controls.
Moscow Power - Between Throne and Altar
The Russian Orthodox Church is back. After decades of persecution, oppression and paternalism by the Soviet state, the church is experiencing a period of unprecedented growth.Old churches are being renovated and new ones built, while life has returned to monasteries and theological colleges are enjoying a surge in enrolments. In one of his last television interviews before his recent death, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Alexi II spoke of a «miracle». This film looks at the reasons behind this returning to the church.
Guatemala - Death and Hope
During more than 30 years of civil war in Guatemala, over 200,000 people died and around a million were forced to flee to neighbouring countries.
Even today, families are continuing to search for their loved ones, supported by a small army of scientists who are investigating and cataloguing hundreds of mass graves. This forensic anthropology project may be the world's largest but the country's former dictators are not interested in reexamining the past and often threaten the people involved - even with death. This film tells their stories.
Buddha, Freud and Tao - Psychosomatic Medicine in the East and West
The concept of health in the Far East is described in texts such as the I Ching, the Tao Te Ching of Lao Tse and in the writings of Confucius and Buddhism. In the west, practices such as traditional Chinese medicine,acupuncture, qigong and yoga are well known.
This documentary attempts to fathom the concept of psychosomatic illness and to place humans, in all their complexity and interactiveness, within their sociocultural environment. In interviews with experts from Europe and China it becomes apparent, somewhat surprisingly, how much east and west have in common when it comes to psychosomatic medicine - a cultural and spiritual understanding of humanity which began with Freud, C.G. Jung and the Sinologist Richard Wilhelm and which has yet to be exhausted.
Street Children in Ecuador
Many Ecuadorian children, fleeing from the violence of broken families, end up on the streets where they eke out a living as shoe cleaners, cigarette sellers or pick pockets.
To give them hope for a better future the Salesians of Don Bosco in Ecuador began a project many years ago called «Golasco - football for street children.» In specially designed football schools the children make new friends and develop a new outlook on life while playing football. The film shows the different phases of this sensitive re-socialization process, from the first contact between social workers and children living on the streets to their reintegration into the school system and their eventual reunification with their families.
Mephisto - The Operating System of Temptation
In Goethe's play «Faust,» Mephistopheles promises immanence and earthly pleasure to the metaphysician Faust.
For many people nowadays, Goethe's villain is the driving force behind modern productivity in all its negative aspects: sexualisation, rampant capitalism and the explosion of science without ethics or morals. This documentary asks the question - what kind of daily temptations are people exposed? Scientists, who talk about controversial experiments and ordinary people give their views on daily «Mephistophelian temptations.»
The Charm of Allah - Why People Convert to Islam
Islam has a poor image among western cultures, appearing strange and distant to many people. It's seen as a religion of desert dwellers and migrants.
However, Islam's culture is not as different to the west as many tend to think: both men and women are equal; socially Islam stands for equality and brotherhood, for justice and fairness; politically Islam seeks unity and humane governance and its religion is of strong ethical principles and a firm moral code. For these reasons Islam attracts more and more people that make the decision to convert. It's not inconceivable that tomorrow our neighbours, relatives, friends or work colleagues may choose to become Muslims. This documentary shows people that sought out another religion defining themselves as Muslims. It explains the charm of a belief that, to its advantage, is far simpler to understand than Christianity.
The Women's Arena
This documentary portrays some of the women's team's players and makes you discover their passion for football which remains boundless, even though they are denied the top salaries of their male colleagues. Furthermore, the film poses the question why, even nowadays, this sport seems to be firmly under men's control. «The Women's Arena» is a declaration of a very special kind of love to football, presented from the women's perspective.
School of Witchcraft
Andreas Starchel runs a most curious school. A school of witchcraft. The academic subjects range from Astrology to Healing Arts and Magic. Headmaster Starchel has developed his lectures based on strict scientific criterium. In his mind, witchcraft was the forerunner to the modern sciences. The documentary follows three student's attempts at earning the schools diploma. Andreas Starchel: "I have found that everything can be explained... Magic is only magic as long as it is a mystery. That means, once we unerstand the psychological components behind it, the magic dissapears".
The Viennese Outer Ring Road- Between Street Prostitution and Trendy Clubs
Where the city was protected by a wall during the era of Prince Eugene, approximately 100.000 vehicles travel the Outer Ring Road every day. However, amidst the heavy traffic, there is a great deal to be discovered: Islands of peace and quiet, churches, theatres, trendy bars and the bordellos of the Viennese underworld. On this slightly different city expedition the viewer meets winners and losers, successful artists and those who did not quite make it, priests, police, whores, «real» Viennese and immigrants.
Blood for Penkye Otu - The Aboakye Festival in Winneba
A long time ago, the Effutu were ousted from the kingdom of Bono. Led by Simpa, a son of their first king, they set out on a search for a new place to settle and founded today's Winneba in Ghana. The new state was named Simpa in honour of their leader. However, they actually owed their survival to patron god Penkye OTU. Every year, the king devoted a feast to the deity, sacrificing a member of his family to him. Today the Aboakye Festival has become a tourist attraction where two rivalling Asafo militia groups of the Effutu engage in a fierce competition.
Pope Benedict XVI - My Vatican
Before being elected Pope Benedict XVI, Jospeh Cardinal Ratzinger was the right-hand man of former Pope John Paul II and his most influential theological advisor. During this time, he provided a first glimpse into the daily routine of the Vatican, a mystery wrapped in an enigma which no one knows better than he. The film also portrays the organization and internal structures of the Vatican, presents its peculiarities and shows numerous locations which have never been allowed to be filmed before.
Biljana Srbljanovic - My Belgrade
Orhan Pamuk - My Istanbul
Petros Markaris - My Athens
Vaclav Havel - My Prague
Veit Heinichen - My Trieste
Ian Rankin - My Edinburgh
The Man On The Balcony
Of the 15,000 children that were brought to this «forecourt» of extermination only around 200 survived, including him. In this film, Rudolf Gelbard returns to the places of his childhood, which he acquaints with feelings of hope and painful experiences: from numerous humiliations he was forced to endure to the November pogrom he witnessed in 1938.
Not Without My Mother
More than alone, he is also thrust into an independent life, struggling to find new happiness, buying nice clothes by himself or dealing with thoughts of even starting a family. This film accompanies a man who was faithful to only one woman in his life on the brink of starting a new unaccustomed existence.
In One Spirit - The Church of the Poor
Around 20 years ago the Church of the Philippines decided to become a "Church of the Poor". Since then it has committed itself wholeheartedly to the needy and the sick waging a relentless struggle against injustice and poverty. A group of foreign theology students, eager to experience the Church's work up close, journeys though the country visiting inhabitants of the slums of Manila and children who live in the city's rubbish dumps. This film shows in touching images, how the students cope with rampant poverty and the various extremely demanding situations they have to face during their trip.
Active Buddha - Another Face of Thailand
Apart from being meditative, Thai Buddhism is also active and socially oriented. Some 95% of the people are Buddhists; the country has more than 30,000 convents and 200,000 monks, «temporary» monks most of them. The film shows unknown faces of Thailand: not only Buddhist sanctuaries, but also the Luang-Ta-Boua forest monastery, which is dedicated to the protection of tigers; an internationally acknowledged holy order which offers therapy to drug addicts from all over the world, or a nunnery devoted to orphan care.
Killing in the Name of Allah?
Zacarias Moussaoui, a Frenchman of Moroccan descent has often been referred to as "the 20th hijacker" who was prevented from taking part in the 9/11 attacks only because he was already under arrest.
This documentary listens to a first-hand story by Aisha El Wafi, Moussaoui's mother, about his childhood and youth and attempts to get to the religious-ideological roots of Islamist terror. The relationship between Islam and violence is commented by powerful Muslim voices including Hassan Nasrallah, Secretary-General of Hisbollah in Beirut, Mohamed Mahdi Akef, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo, and Sheikh Adnan Ibrahim, the imam of Vienna's Al-Shura mosque.
Final Destination: Tecun Uman - Or: Coming up Short on the Gringo Border
Once a small village in the heart of the Guatemalan jungle, Tecun Uman has become the centre of broken dreams - dreams of emigrating to the United States via Mexico. DOnce a small village in the heart of the Guatemalan jungle, Tecun Uman has become the centre of broken dreams - dreams of emigrating to the United States via Mexico. Day in, day out hundreds of illegal immigrants cross the border without encountering a single border guard. Most of them come from Central America - Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador - some from South America, and even some from Asia. Crossing the river at Tecun Uman means taking the first step on a journey that will lead them into mortal danger and take only a chosen few all the way to the United States.
Made to Order Love
That is why he is looking east in the Ukraine hoping to find the woman of his dreams there. However other Austrian men have already dreamed the same dream just to experience a rude awakening. This film tells of love seeking men and internet fraud, of disappointments and several thousand Euros lost in transaction fees.
Jesus in Tarragona
This documentary shows how the citizens of Tarragona cultivate a 450-year old tradition; how the precious, heavy wood and stone scupltures called "pasos" representing Christs Passion are carried through the town - an honour passed from father to son. Women have only been admitted to the procession for a few years. Today participants number more than 2000, with several thousands of spectators. There are 19 "pasos" belonging to the fraternities (a total of 11), whose origins date back to the old medieval guilds. Ever since then, they have joined forces to celebrate the Good Friday processions in their ancient tradition.
Woman With A Past
With the age of 34 Alex has already experienced everything there is to experience in the red light industry. Now Alex wants to find her way back to a normal life. This film accompanies her as she struggles to find her place in the «middle class» world that has become alien to her - and she to it, dealing with the scars on her heart and soul the life in the red light left behind.
Sawatdii Pii Mai! - New Year in Thailand
More than a third of the Thai population lives in sprouting cities like Chiang Mai, the capital of the old Thai kingdom of Lan-na, known as the «land of millions of rice paddies». Harvest is followed by a time of feasting. The Songkran Water Festival, a consecration ceremony, is coming up soon, when the Thai New Year is celebrated between April 13th and 15th. Its pre-Buddhist origins are in perfect harmony with the Buddhist doctrine of the purifying power of water for both body and mind. After all, Buddha became enlightened upon gazing on a river.
Is the evil an ethical, a religious definition? Or is the evil - the devil, as many churches claim - a person of real existence? What makes exorcism «work»? Should these cases be dealt with by doctors, or is there more to it? Based on personal stories and international expertise, this documentary on exorcists sheds light on a number of its magical rituals.
For western cultures, the observation of this rule and, for example, the "shunning" of electricity are hard to understand, and are part of the fascinating puzzle that begs for an explanation. The documentary shows the historical and social past of these communities, beginning with the founding of the religion. The effect this has made on today's life style of the Amish and Mennonites in America is presented in impressive pictures that gain impact through personal interviews giving explanations for these strict conditions, that sometimes appear to be at least partially absurd. Families and individuals allow a rare glimpse into their lives and tell about their destiny and their conviction.
Bishop Between the Lines - Zero Hour in Sudan
Born in Italy, he had worked in slums in Georgia in the U.S. when he was suddenly called to work in Africa. His order dispatched the Comboni missionary to Sudan. From the problems facing American cities to the woes of a country devastated by civil war: a challenge the nearly 60-year old priest is called upon to meet.
Horses of the Gods
In the biggest Catholic country in the world, more and more people are being attracted to other faiths, either partially or exclusively. Special attention is being attracted by the Pentecostal churches, particularly among the urban middle class, and the Afro-Brazilian religions, with Candomblé in the lead. The film plays in Salvador da Bahia, the most African city of Brazil, located in the center of the Candomblé. In Bahia the African gods and the Catholic saints do not exclude each other. Quite to the contrary: in the city in which celebrations take place almost every day, both worlds are represented at street festivals, processions, and even at events in many churches and cultic sites. The ORF team met a Catholic bishop who is very close to the Candomblé, an actress who regularly brings her Orixa sacrifices and a shop owner who has tried out many religions and finally found his place in the Pentecostal Church. Catholicism and Candomblé have learned to live together in Bahia. The Pentecostal Church, "Igrojà Universal de Deus", however, still demands exclusivity. Anyone who wants to be a member has to renounce all the rest of the divine heaven. The church, which owns 80 radio and 21 TV stations, does not appreciate outside media.
Marco's Wonderful World
Everything's perfectly normal, right? Only Marco has been blind since birth. But he manages to get around freely and easily in his world. «I'm not ready for the old scrap heap yet», insists Marco and explains how he communicates with the world through his ears and fingers, how he is more handicapped by those who seek to pity or slow him down than by his blindness.
Attention, Camera! In the Network of Total Surveillance
Rotterdam, April 2000: 50,000 fanatic soccer fans stream to the annual Dutch match of Feyenoord Rotterdam against Ajax Amsterdam. Dozens of high-tech cameras with extremely fast lenses watch over every square meter of the stadium. Video surveillance had its beginnings in England. More and more cameras have been installed there since the 1970s: at first only in the stadium, then in front of it, then in the center of the city, and now in the pub. Meanwhile, more than 1,000,000 cameras control public space on the island. Most of the inhabitants affected approve of them. Police and the security industry have been working on the next stage for a long time. Intelligent camera software that can decide between "suspicious" and "normal" behavior is supposed to replace the thousands of security personnel currently needed in the control areas. The security industry is experiencing an unprecedented boom. Multinational companies such as "Group 4" not only offer surveillance systems for big business locations, they also sell increasing numbers of security packages for the ordinary person - alarm systems for garden houses. At the biggest European specialized trade fair in Birmingham, the Austrian "Group 4" delegation also has a look at the most recent innovations at the high-end of security applications. But electronic surveillance is not limited to cameras alone. Telephone conversations and e-mails are systematically sorted through for information related to secret service activities. While in England various civil rights supporters, such as Simon Davis of "Privacy International", warn of the "norming" of society and see a dawning of "the end of privacy", there is very little awareness of the problem on the European continent. This FOCAL POINT documentary investigates the question of whether Europe is threatened with a European Surveillance Union, or whether the matter is simply one of an overdue improvement in police equipment needed for the fight against organized crime.
The Most Wonderful Day Of Your Life
This film depicts various ways of celebrating this unique event. We experience a Jewish wedding and meet an emergency doctor and a nurse, who plan to say «I do» under water. We also accompany a married priest who, against all the teachings of the Catholic Church, marries divorced couples with the blessing of God and a wedding planner organising the «perfect wedding» 100 times a year.
Gefilte Fish and Baba Ganush - A Jewish Cooking Show
In the Jewish culture, cooking and consumption are intimately related to religion: Dietary laws provide what kind of nourishments may be consumed,´when and in which manner. And the tradition holds that Sabbath, the weekly day of rest, as well as most other holidays are celebrated with a feast at home. Join a Jewish family as they cook selected traditional dishes ranging from Gefilte fish, Chrane, Matzo Ball Soup or Cholent to Levantine food as it is prepared in Israel. A culinary approach to a fascinating culture.
Gurbet - Away From Home
Spending the majority of their lives in Austria they have now reached pension-age. In Turkey, they are strangers, but has Austria really become home to them? This exemplary historical filmchronicle collects the memories of their time in Turkey before their departure into working life abroad and later the present days as «guest workers» in a foreign land.
Nepal - Empowered Women at the Foot of the Himalaya
The Hindu kingdom of Nepal on the Roof of the World is also called South Asia's poorhouse. Women are a particularly disadvantaged group. While 90% of all women are illiterate, their life expectancy is a mere 54 years. An ongoing development assistance project aims to improve the quality of women's lives and to stop their discrimination and exploitation. Many women have learnt how to read and write and some have become interested in local politics. Finally the women have broken their silence and dare to have a voice - a new beginning.
After Jack Unterweger - a notorious murder suspect - had committed suicide in prison his brain was dissected but no anomality was found. However, a Dutch scientist has located an aggression-gene. Latest studies of apes have proved that stress and ostracism influence the body chemistry of these animals and they react with heightened aggression. Society has not yet found a cure for aggression which is why prisons are overflowing. Our documentary shows anti-aggression programs and persons who have devised such programs. One of them is Arnold Schwarzenegger who advocates fitness against "drugs and crime".
I Breathe and Laugh, Sing and Cry
In her film «I breathe and laugh, sing and cry», Helene Maimann portrays young people who have developed amazing skills as a result of their handicaps and live their lives full of joie de vivre and spunk. This is not a «problem film», but rather more a story about young handicapped people who have managed to lead self-sufficient lives - in spite of the difficulties they face. They have even developed skills that will amaze you. They refuse to rely on others' goodwill or pity, and hope to gain our acceptance and support. This is a journey to the world of the «others» who breathe and laugh, sing and cry just like we do - and learn to make their way like the rest of us.
Jesus was a Surfer
The Brazilian Roman Catholic Church has been unable to avoid a recent trend sweeping across Latin America, which has seen a rise in the popularity of evangelical groups at the expense of the established churches. The so-called «Snowball Church» recruits believers from among former drug addicts who have turned to surfing, using slogans such as «Jesus was a surfer». This report from Klaus Ther seeks to explain why Brazilians are turning away from the Catholic Church and embracing evangelical groups.
Silent Rebels: China's Muslims
It is the story of Muslim merchants and soldiers who made China their home from the 7 century on. It's a story of religious leaders, internal conflicts and bloody rebellions. A story of Muslim peasants, then and today, struggling to preserve their identity and religion in the face of oppression and persecution. With over 20 million, China's Muslim population now exceeds that of Saudi Arabia or Iraq. This, and the fact that there has been a newly-felt Muslim resurgence in China, makes the leaders of the Communist Party very uneasy. TV writer/director Susanne Brandstätter, who has made numerous documentaries in China, filmed in remote villages of the Northwest and South, as well as in Beijing.
War of Thirst
In Uganda the Austrian Development Cooperation Program of the Vienna School of Agriculture supports water resourcing. In Israel there has not been sufficient rain for years. According to information supplied by fishermen, the Sea of Galilee recedes about a centimeter every day. Israel is considering importing water from Turkey. In a global manifesto, Riccardo Petrella, a social scientist for the EU in Brussels, has demanded "water for all". Just imagine that suddenly we would not be able to give our dogs water anymore", said Petrella. "Everybody would let out a cry. But the fact that one and a half billion people have no access to clean water is not thought of as a scandal."
The Church Under the Rainbow - Gay Christians
For centuries it was the theological and political custom to view homosexuality as a violation of the natural order and as illicit excess. However, increasing findings in human sciences have shown that homosexuality is a developmental variation and therefore not to be interpreted as either an illness nor as abnormal or perverse. Nevertheless, the Roman Catholic Church among others continues to ignore these findings. This is a report on the life of homosexual Christians who constantly come into conflict with ecclesiastical positions, rules and regulations.
Third Age Moving
Never before in human history has it been possible to reach such a ripe old age as it is today. A historically recent development of modern society, it is therefore no wonder that the general public has not yet properly adjusted to it. Institutions for education and further education in the «golden years» have hardly been established. Thoroughly researched personal portraits and model projects from all over Europe highlight new ways and create an appetite for finding the latent treasures of age pointing to alternative as well as visionary paths to the society of the future.
Not From This World - Mennonites
They continue living in their villages in Mexico's north as they did 400 years ago, speaking German - a German which has travelled so far that it is almost impossible to understand. And little do these folks believe in fashionable inventions such as automobiles, electricity or radios.
The blond, blue-eyed pioneers of the Northern Mexican sierra are of German, Dutch and Swiss descent. They are Christians who challenged the Protestant Reformation for not being radical enough. Called Mennonites after their leader Simon Menno, their unworldly views found no acceptance in the 16th century and forced them to flee their countries via Prussia, Russia and Canada, finally ending up in Mexico. Far from Mexican cities, where preachers and village elders make their own laws, they live remote from the world of today following their own strict rules.
Liberation Theology and the Vatican
Jon Sobrino, a priest who lives and teaches in El Salvador has come in for heavy criticism from the Vatican for espousing liberation theology. The Vatican's Congregation of the Faith issued a controversial notification against him, for arguing that a commitment to helping the poor is the key to understanding Christian belief. The Congregation of the Faith accused the Jesuit priest, in two of his published writings, of neglecting thedivine nature of Jesus by stressing his human side.
On the Edge of a Knife - Kosher Butchering in Europe
But it is not only a question of animal rights that comes into debate when dealing with the issue. Xenophobic, even anti-Semitic arguments are also part of the discussion. A conflict charged with high emotions evolves with religious minorities, especially orthodox Jews and Muslims, who basically just try to live according to their beliefs. A question of priorities arises: Should the right to freely exercise one's religion supersede the elemental rights of animals?
Israel - Between Hope and Stagnation
This is something the country's young writers also realize and who chose daily life between violence and repression as the central themes of their work. This documentary portrays the three authors Orly Castel- Bloom, Said Kashua and Etgar Keret who, through their questioning of ideologies and social myths, often see themselves criticized by society. In their own way they represent the many facets of modern Israeli society and attempt to counteract archaic social norms and to bring peace to the lives of the people. Often no easy task.
African Hopes - Women Online
It is a giant leap for the group around Wendi Losha at Bamenda, Cameroon - the women now have e-mail access and may surf on the Internet for a few moments. Wendi Losha organised the group more than 10 years ago in an effort to improve the hardships of rural women who are excluded from participation in family and communal decision-making. The women of Bamenda now own and manage a farm, three shops - and a tiny Internet café.
Children With Aids in South Africa
AIDS remains a taboo subject in the townships, and help of any kind for those who live there is scarce – with one exception. Nazareth House, located at the foot of Table Mountain, is an orphanage run by Catholic nuns who care for children suffering from AIDS who have been abandoned by their desperate mothers.
Gem of Peace
It's all the same whether the issue is recognition of the rights of the aborigines, the injured ecological system or the art frauds produced at the cost of the aborigines. The aborigines still find it difficult to adjust to modern civilization without losing their own culture. They have always seen themselves as a part of the land, and especially as the protectors of their own land. Their greatest aim has always been to live in peace with one another. For that reason the Australian opal is something of a myth. For the Australian natives it is the gem of peace. And perhaps it will finally be able to fulfill its destiny.
Inuit - The Night of Shamanism
Numbering around 900, the residents of this village on the Arctic circle survive mainly on welfare and hunting. Shamanism, the backbone of their culture over thousands of years, was practically wiped out by the missionaries. Today, only a few initiates have knowledge of this healing power. The film follows Jacky Qrunnut in his search for the last Inuit Shaman and depicts the current situation of the Inuit people.
A Saint for Everyone? The San Lazaro Cult in Cuba
Every year on December 17, the church in Rincón near the Cuban capital of Havana becomes host to an unusual spectacle. On this day, hundreds of faithful followers make the pilgrimage from the bus station in the small town to the church of San Lazaro. At the altar they lay the flowers, candles and stones they have brought with them in the hopes of obtaining a cure for their illnesses or those of their family members. The story of how the San Lazaro cult came about in Cuba is rather amazing. No matter if they actually agree or just agree to tolerate each other - the Catholic Church and the Afro-Cuban cult have been sharing Saint Lazarus since the very beginning.
Hildegard Burjan - Charity Pioneer
In a time of political dislocation and the beginning of National Socialism, of crisis and misery, she founded the religious congregation «Caritas Socialis» and dedicated herself to advocating the rights of women, fighting poverty and child labour. Born in Germany, she studied philosophy in Zurich before moving to Vienna with her Hungarian husband, where she became the leading female political figure of the post war period demolishing the traditions of that time. Using elaborately filmed scenes and numerous interviews, this documentary tells the moving life story of this fascinating woman, who has become a symbol of emancipation and altruism and is now on the verge of being beatified.
Can Belief Heal?
The documentary was made in China, Togo, France and Austria. In China the camera team visited old-established faith healers, who had managed to persist in their practices despite years of reprisals by the Communist regime. In Togo a spectacular healing ritual was filmed.
Science offers a number of possible interpretations, but can phenomena like these be explained by spontaneous self healing, suggestion or a placebo effect? Almost all of the healers, regardless of the cultures they come from, attribute their energy to God, dead spirits or cosmic energy. Shamanism enjoys a very old tradition in China. After years of being prohibited, faith healers have been active again recently, although officially their work may not have anything to do with supernatural elements. Susanne Brandstätter and her team were able to bring back sensational film material from Togo. During certain religious ceremonies, gods come into contact with shamans.
Buddhist Monks - Setting Out To Change Their World View
For centuries, Buddhist monks lived strictly according to their beliefs, isolated in remote areas, far from civilisation. They rarely heard of advances in the world, if indeed at all. To this day some of the monks still don't realise that the earth is round. All that is about to change dramatically however: Tibetan monks living in exile are increasingly coming to grips with the modern world and taking classes in physics, mathematics and medicine. Remaining true to the precepts of Buddhism, which call for the constant re-examination of things, they are attempting to reconcile the reality of our globalised world with the knowledge they have inherited. This documentary reveals how, in remote areas of India, religion and science are being reconciled and shows the monk's efforts to integrate medical, historical and scientific facts into their Buddhist beliefs.
Silent Death - Aids in East Africa
Up to now, half of the 150,000 inhabitants of this mountainous southern region have been infected by the virus. The situation is similar in Zambia: Up to 70% of the 100,000 inhabitants of the region of Fiwila are infected. In addressing Aids, traditional healers - native natural healers and shamans - have worked in close collaboration with proponents of traditional medicine. But the struggle seems in vain: Aids is on the increase across all of Eastern Africa, reaching all the way down to South Africa.
Because once they have a boyfriend, these Turkish girls will have to marry him, insist their parents. They have their own moral standards that lie somewhere between tradition and modern day, even if many of their Austrian friends think they are hopelessly backward. After all, they all have one thing in common: they want to remain a virgin until they marry.
Jerusalem - Thou Holy City
The worldly and the celestial Jerusalem become a unity in an area of less than 1 square kilometer. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are the three monotheistic religions which regard Jerusalem as their spiritual center. What is it that makes Jerusalem so holy? What exactly is at stake in the bloody fights between Palestinians and Israelis - is it religion or power? This documentary explains why Jews, Christians and Muslims love this city in which daily life constantly fluctuates between normalcy and the burden of holiness.
An Unexpected Recovery
For years German doctor and oncologist Herbert Kappauf has been collecting medical histories from people who experienced spontaneous cancer remission. «Unexpected recoveries» exist - there's no doubt about that. However, many of the stories going around are not true. Not intending to dash anyone's hopes, this film draws a very real picture of what one can expect from these various healing alternatives and, in so doing, attempts to develop new confidence in them.
The Kampusch Case II - Chronicle of a Failure
In the interview, you see an outraged Natascha Kampusch. How does she feel about the incidents during the investigation of her case? Is she intending to sue the Austrian Republic? How can any amount of money ever recompense for being held captive in a dark prison for over eight years? ORF Thema with «CNN Journalist of the Year 2007» Christoph Feurstein meticulously reconstructs the chronicle of the police's failure.
The Cross Serbia Bears
The documentary shows how high representatives of the church, weakened by years of Communism, fell prey to Slobodan Milosevic's brand of nationalism, how complicated it was for the patriarchs to take a credible stance and how difficult it is for the Serb people and the church now to admit the obvious intertwining of religion and nationalism.
Water for Afghanistan
Many rivers lack the necessary amount of water required to operate power plants or to be fed into supply pipes. Thousands of children die from drinking contaminated water. The World Bank is currently funding a multi-annual water supply rehabilitation project in a number of Afghan provincial towns. Visiting the country just recently, Gernot Stadler has documented the water problem challenging the city of Kabul and the provinces of Jalalabad, Ghazni and Charikar.
The Angel of Thailand's Slums
Born herself into Klong Toey, over the last 20 years Prateep has built up her own school system, affected changes in legislation and given children the opportunity to live within the law and to have access to education. This documentary goes back to 1979 and shows important milestones in the life of the 48-year-old senator.
Water - More Precious Than Oil
Water, which is infinitely precious, much more precious than oil, since part of the water comes from underground seams that, according to experts, will be pumped dry 20 to 30 years from now. Another important part comes from the more than 20 years of de-salinization plants at the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. But the construction of such plants is extremely expensive and their maintenance equally so. Criticism of Saudi Arabias huge water consumption by the FAO and concern about future generations are showing the first signs of having an effect. There are plans for the future of planting grains that use less water and treating more sewage water. In the modern city of Dubai on the Persian Gulf more than 60 percent of the sewage water is purified and used, for example, for watering the extensive green areas.
The «New Poverty» is hidden behind a veneer of carefree prosperity. This film presents a portrait of two of those affected: Stephane, a former top employee, whose hopelessly overdrawn account was frozen by the bank and hairdresser Christine, mother of four children, who has to find some place for living in the course of one day to prevent the youth welfare office from taking away her children.
Brain Drain - The North Allures the Greatest Minds
The brain drain is having an increasingly negative impact on the countries of the Third World: Skilled specialists are attracted to the rich countries and the promises they make, leaving a gap that can only be filled at enormous financial expense - if it can be filled at all. "Diaspora Option", a new strategy designed to stem the brain drain, encourages expatriate professionals to make their Northern experiences available to their poor compatriots at home.
Marathon Instead of Pilgrimages
Despite growing secularisation and the decline of institutionalised religion, religious phenomena appear to be increasingly present in everyday life. The attractions of today's leisure and fun-loving society seem to provide fertile ground for religious experiences. Above all, sport has come to be regarded by many people as offering an increasingly important alternative to traditional religious meaning. Top sportsmen and women, trainers and theologians tell of their transcendental experiences and of the points of intersection and divergence between religion and sport. Have marathons replaced pilgrimages?
A Somewhat Different Farewell
In this documentary we accompany people who wish to break - away from traditional funeral ceremonies as well as those who are confronted with death day after day, like morticians, grief counselors and gravediggers.
Village Without Mothers
During the day she worked for "upper class" Viennese women, doing their housework for five to seven Euro an hour, and at night she hid in a small apartment together with three other women. An ORF camera team accompanied the young mother on her 1,800 kilometers journey home by bus across three borders only to discover an entire «village without mothers». They have all left to work in Western Europe in order to feed their families, leaving their children and husbands behind. What will Ilona find when she arrives back home?
When Gods Dance With Devils: Carnival in the Bolivian Highlands
For months the artisans' associations toil and labour over the costumes. Masks play an important role. The diablada mask - a devil's mask featuring various animal elements - is the one most in demand and most respected. Lustily acting out devilry is an integral part of carnival, and its goal is the battle of good against evil.
Hear the World
Placido Domingo and Clemens Hellsberg are ambassadors for Hear the World, a Swiss foundation dedicated to increasing worldwide awareness of the importance of hearing. The film documents cultural events involving the subject of hearing and deafness, from classical music and dance to drumming for the hearing impaired. It portrays the daily life of individuals who have made outstanding creative achievements despite being deaf or hearing-impaired.
Of Medicine Women and Priest Sorcerers
Noted personages such as Navajo medicine man Francis Mitchel, a direct descendant of Manuelito (the famous leader during the wars of resistance), or "shaman mother" Kim Keum-Hwa, who is widely known in Korea and has passed on her knowledge to the popular Korean shaman priestess Hi-Ah Park, have admitted to being interviewed on their tradition.
The Right to Femininity - Female Genital Mutilation in Africa
135 million girls and women world-wide are suffering from this extreme form of sexual violence, often euphemistically played down as «female circumcision». Female genital mutilation is practiced in 28 African countries, usually under extremely primitive and totally unacceptable hygienic conditions - by using pieces of broken glass, tin lids or rusty, blunt razor blades. The film observes genital mutilation practices in countries like Togo, Nigeria, Sudan and Ethiopia and documents the struggle fought by nongovernmental organisations against this form of torture.
My Church is the Street
About 8000 children live in the streets of Medellín. They take narcotic drugs, cheap cocaine, heroin, or stimulants, and - if they cannot afford anything else - they sniff glue, a yellow substance called "Sacol". The children are often not older than five when they take drugs for the first time. By the time they reach the age of twelve, most of them have come into conflict with the law. 70 of these children have better prospects for the future since they have found a home in Father Gabriels therapeutic centre for drug addicts. They will stay there for an average nine months.
Available as 1x24 min / 1x30 min / 1x42 min.
The Other Side
In Austria nobody gives a thought about the gap that these women leave in their own country. The fact is that Slovakian hospitals have hardly any personnel left. This film portraits a commuting nurse and shows how she copes with the bitter tears of her 9 year old son when leaving for several weeks for work as well as the difficult situation in understaffed Slovakian hospitals.
A Couple Hours of Peace
Linda and Sabrin both live in Israel. They like the same music, both sing in a choir and love to read the same books. Linda is a devout Jew, and Sabrin is a Christian Arab. Both of their ethnic groups hold the same nationality - but they live in completely separate worlds. And still they have managed to become friends.
A Beggar's World
Here he lives as part of a true beggar's clan in squalid mass accommodation and is constantly on the run from the police. This is a report about the miserable lives of child beggars which poses the question whether a sinister mafia lies behind the homeless. Is Robert even allowed to keep the money given to him by passersby? Or does he have to hand it over to the brains behind the operation? When the boy suddenly disappears the documentary-team goes searching for him. The only clue leads to Romania.