CCTV signs Co-production Agreement with Austria’s pubcaster ORF

Cannes / Vienna,  April 9th 2013

At 3pm on Tuesday April 9th at ORF’s MIP stand, Richard Grasl, ORF’s Chief Financial Officer, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Luo Ming, Vice President of CCTV, Beijing, for the exchange of expertise and for the coproduction of new wildlife and nature films together with ORF’s celebrated UNIVERSUM strand.
Richard Grasl said: “For more than a quarter of a century UNIVERSUM has set international standards for the highest quality natural history documentaries, and it is especially gratifying to see this recognized by China’s national all-documentary channel, CCTV9. China’s documentary channel has already broadcast a number of our documentaries, and we are now delighted by the prospect of producing together.
Our first cooperation, “Triumph of the Tomato”, celebrates the hidden wonders of the much loved fruit. In a spectacular film shot on three continents, UNIVERSUM veteran Maria Koller will succeed in persuading viewers that they have never tasted a real tomato!”
Luo Ming said: “China and Austria are both countries with a history of creating a brilliant civilization. Although our two countries are geographically far apart, the people of China are certainly no strangers to famous Austrian composers such as Haydn, Mozart, Schubert and Johann Strauss. Today’s signing ceremony marks the start of a new stage of cooperation between the two partners in the area of documentaries. I am confident that our co-production of “Triumph of the Tomato” will be a complete success. I firmly believe that we will find more and more co-production documentary projects that will help the television audiences of our two countries better understand each other and become better friends.”
Other signatories at the ceremony, hosted by ORF Enterprise’s COO Beatrice Cox-Riesenfelder, were CCTV’s Managing Director Liu Wen and Head of Universum Andrew Solomon. Solomon reflected that this is the first time CCTV9 and an international partner have both celebrated a co-production agreement and presented the first joint project simultaneously.

Triumph of the Tomato

The original Peruvian tomat’l – ‘swollen fruit’ – was yellow. Conquistadores prized it for its blossom. But under the Spanish sun its lycopene went crazy. Rounded and red, it became irresistible. In Austria they still call it the “paradise fruit”, and in Italy the “golden apple”.
Today’s obsession with shape, size and long shelf-life has reduced the once glorious tomato to mushy tastelessness. But the counter-revolution is in full swing!
From tomato seedster Erich Stekovics with 3,200 varieties stored in nylon stockings, to tomato tsarina Irina Zacharias, saved by the red fruit after the fall of Communism. From the pizza that boosted Queen Margarita’s sex life to Chinese Tomato King Li Jingfu’s 32 new strains, cross-bred to feed his fellow countrymen – and Joe Cocker, who serenades the crimson fruit and knows “it’s Blues they like best”.
Shanghai has a restaurant where every dish on the menu contains tomato – even the beer! Qataris grow them in the desert – without water. The tomatoes grow 800 metre roots, picking up plenty of tasty minerals on the way.
This film squeezes inside the tomato – literally – to demonstrate just how it manages to make itself irresistible. You’ll understand why people go crazy at tomato festivals in Spain and Italy – and you may also realise that you have never, ever tasted a real tomato – yet!

For more information feel free to contact:
Ms. Diane Mitsche: diane.mitsche@orf.at



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