With its stunning view of Lake Geneva, the Beau-Rivage, in Geneva has attracted actors from Roger Moore to Angelina Jolie, and played host to political luminaries like Kofi Annan, Charles de Gaulle and the Dalai Lama. Political history has been made here, too: In 1898, the Empress “Sisi” of Austria was stabbed to death by an anarchist at the Beau-Rivage. Nearly a hundred years later, in 1987, the German politician Uwe Barschel was discovered dead here, in a bathtub. Family-run for generations, the hotel is impressive not just for its size, but also for its discretion. Now, director Jacques Mayer uses interviews, archival film and rarely seen photographs to vividly chronicle some of the most fateful years of the Beau-Rivage.
The elegant “American Colony Hotel” in Jerusalem is an island of tranquility in a troubled city. The grand hotel has lived through all of Jerusalem’s serious crises. Everyone is welcome here, no matter where they come from or what they believe. The name “American Colony Hotel” goes back to a group of 19th Century American pilgrims. In its early days, the grand hotel was located among olive groves outside Jerusalem’s city walls. For over a hundred years, many parties to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict have shaken hands, eaten and drunk here together. People mingle here in a way they would never do elsewhere. Behind it all is the fascinating story of Anna and Horatio Spafford, who, after several tragic events, moved from the US to the Holy Land with a community of devout Christians. With diligence, skill, and an insistence on neutrality and tolerance despite political difficulties, they created a hotel in a truly special location. Its atmosphere continues to attract illustrious guests from the worlds of politics, diplomacy, literature, art and entertainment.
Humanity faces major challenges. Could roots hold the answers? It’s possible: Research shows that roots have the potential to provide food for the world’s population, stop climate change and help extract resources in an environmentally friendly way. Plants must withstand periods of drought and heat, as well as flooding, and they use their roots to do this. Roots also help them actively search for nutrients in the soil, while warding off dangers such as pathogens and toxins.
Now, scientists at the research institute Forschungszentrum Jülich are investigating root growth using high-tech methods. The goal is to breed stress-resistant seeds for plants with robust roots. They are not alone: In Sweden, Professor Linda Maria Mårtensson is conducting research on a perennial wheat variety that will ensure higher yields while protecting the soil. Along the world’s coasts, too, roots are a lifesaver.
Coastal ecologist Professor Tjeerd Bouma has discovered that if special grasses are planted in front of dikes, they create a salt marsh that acts as a natural breakwater. Meanwhile, geochemist Dr. Oliver Wiche of the Technical University of Freiberg is researching something known as “phytomining.” He wants to know which plants are best suited for mining metals from the soil. Could this root research give rise to a new, environmentally friendly branch of industry?
Porsche 911 – the world’s most successful sports car. Its rear-mounted boxer engine and classic styling are unmistakable. It combines sportiness and everyday functionality like no other vehicle. A street-legal race car. For almost 70 years the 911 has stood for sportiness, elegance and quality. The latest version, the Porsche 992, is equipped with almost 400 hp in the basic version and costs almost a quarter of a million euros. In this documentary, racing legend Hans-Joachim Stuck takes you through the world of what is perhaps the most famous sports car.
“Wild Slovenia ” A film by Matej Vranič. World Premiere at the 2021 WCFF.
The documentary WILD SLOVENIA visually presents the very diverse fauna and flora of Slovenia, focusing on mammals and birds, and shows some particularly interesting species of amphibians, fish, insects and plants.
In the film, we venture among the highest Alpine peaks and into the remote Dinaric forests; we travel across the Pannonian plains, descend into the underground caves of the Karst world and dive into the Adriatic Sea. The film offers the insight into the secret life of some animal species that live in close proximity to humans, often even in an urban environment, but never quite come to our sight. We witness individual interactions between humans and animals. Throughout the 83-minute film, stunning details from the animal world emerge, combined into compelling and unobtrusively instructive stories shown through interesting footage. More than 50 animal species are presented; monitored over a period of one year and presented in different roles, as dictated by their life cycle – hunting and eating, courting, fighting, mating, and caring for the offspring. With the more common species, that we see frequently, the film introduces some lesser-known features.
The film, which takes place over a period of one year, also takes the viewer through typical Slovenian landscapes and briefly introduces their main characteristics. The plot crosses between the provinces and occasionally returns to the same area in order to show what is happening in the animal world in the second part of the year. A very rich ecosystem diversity, rarely seen recordings, and scientifically verified information weaved into the intelligible text are key attributes of this film.
A captivating #crustacean and a ferocious #predator: in this edition we discover a #transatlantic invader that’s taking no prisoners in its quest for domination. Safe from its natural predators on the Atlantic coast of #NorthAmerica, the blue crab devours everything in its path, dealing a painful blow to an already fragile #ecosystem.
Like craft beer, craft chocolate is hip. The more exotic the cocoa, the more popular the end product. Craft chocolatiers comb the jungles of the Peruvian Amazon in search of cacao varieties that have never been used in chocolate production before.
Their prospective buyers belong to a select group of connoisseurs with a taste for exotic cocoa beans. Aside from satisfying people’s craving for luxury, craft chocolate makers are also working to create positive change. They’re helping local cocoa farmers document the widespread impact of illegal deforestation, the drug trade, and large agribusinesses on the lives of the indigenous population in Peru’s Amazonas region. Will craft chocolatiers succeed in getting consumers to shell out more money – enough to ensure cocoa farmers‘ livelihoods? Can they get chocoholics to develop a craving for high quality, organic products that also support environmental sustainability?
More than 60 percent of China’s population of 1.4 billion currently lives in cities. Within a decade, the share of urban dwellers is expected to increase to 75 percent. Construction is booming and competition for residential land is fierce.
But the right to live in a city in China is conditional. Authorities want their modern cities to be peopled with well-educated, highly-qualified or politically well-connected residents. As a result, certain standards have to be met to be eligible for a modern, urban home. Only members of China’s political classes and the financially successful have a hope of qualifying. Yet more than half of the people who live in cities are so-called “migrant workers.” They come from rural communities and have no official rights to settle in cities. They are there to work. With no proper rights, they are merely tolerated while they serve as merchants, servants, waitstaff, cleaners, construction workers and tradespeople.
But while they are indispensible to daily life in the cities, they are unable to afford their exorbitant rents. This documentary looks at how and where these workers live, and asks whether middle and working class Chinese even figure in the official vision of shiny, high-tech cities. The filmmakers also look at what happens to those who oppose official plans, or stand in the way of the building boom.
Smartphones, computers, gaming consoles or digital tablets are now givens in our daily lives. The electronic intrusion is causing controversy and collective hysteria. This documentary asks: Are we damaging our brains with all these screens? How will unprecedented exposure to screens impact humanity?
To find out, the filmmakers examine how science has been applied to distinguish between truth and falsehoods, and explore the suspected side-effects of screen exposure. The documentary travels through the US and Europe to meet and speak to researchers who are leaders in this field.
Since February 2019, millions of Algerians have demonstrated against the government. They first took to the streets to demand more democracy and protest the renewed candidacy of former authoritarian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika. The COVID-19 pandemic may have brought the Algerian protest movement “Hirak” to a premature end in March 2020, and even though Bouteflika withdrew his candidacy, its demands are still far from being met. Opponents of the government still say their country is a long way from genuine democracy and is at the same time plagued by corruption, economic mismanagement and military interference in politics.
This documentary follows five young Algerians who are all taking part in the protests. They tell viewers why they are challenging Algeria’s powerful elites and describe what they want for their country. Their stories are about hope and resignation, as well as the open question of their futures in Algeria.