Making an Ancient Forest

The documentary, filmed in 4K, travels deep into the remote forests of the Kalkalpen National Park in Austria – the largest area of wilderness in the Alps. Abandoned and unmanaged by man for close to a quarter of a century, the forest’s dramatic cycle of growth and decay now rules the landscape. What appears at first to be devastation and destruction is in fact part of the fundamental process of the forest’s regeneration and transformation back to its natural, primeval state.

The film, three years in the making, reveals the highly complex partnerships among plants, insects and animals, as well as the evolutionary creativity and intelligence of trees as they communicate with one another and respond to moment-by-moment stimuli. Their genius is attributed to one of the greatest collaborations in the history of life: a partnership with fungi.

One of the most salient changes in the forest is however, the return of the lynx. After 115 years of absence, the feline’s illusive presence is a testimony to nature’s power of revival and a reassurance that the bold conservation efforts in the National Park are slowly, but surely, contributing to Making an Ancient Forest.

Camera: Jiří Petr, Michael Schlamberger
Written by: Jan Hošek, Rita Schlamberger
Directed by: Rita Schlamberger
Production: ScienceVision

Technical details: 2015 I 52min I 4K I 5.1 & stereo I German & English

A production of ScienceVision, in association with Kalkalpen Nationalpark.

Excerpt main festival awards:
  • Internationales Naturfilm Festival, Estonia, September 2015, Highly Commended Diploma "Nature"
  • Cannes Corporate Media & TV Awards, France, October 2015, Gold Winner category TV Doku: Natur, Umwelt und Ökologie
  • Innsbruck Nature Film Festival, Austria, October 2015, Winner Special Price "Best Camera"
  • Mountainfilm Graz, Austria, November 2015, Kamera Alpin in Gold, category "Natur & Umwelt"
  • Sichuan TV Festival, China, November 2015, Gold Panda "Best Cinematography"
  • Jaipur International Film Festival India, January 2016, Winner "Green Rose"
  • Envirofilm/Ekotopfilm Festival, Slovakia, May 2016, "Main Prize in Nature and Natural Science" + "Prize of the Ministry of Environment"
  • NaturVision Filmfestival, Germany, July 2016, NaturVision Kamerapreis
  • Green Screen International Film Festival, Germany , September 2016, "Best Film" + "Best Post production"
  • Wildlife Filmfestival Vaasa, Finland, September 2016, Winner category "Natural History"
  • Internationales Science Film Festival Athen, Greece, October 2016, Winner "Best Film"
  • Sondrio International Film Festival, Italy, November 2016, "Stelvio National Park Award"
  • Sondrio International Film Festival, Italien, November 2016, "Achille Berbenni Audience Award"
  • Waimea Ocean Film Festival, Hawaii, USA, January 2017, Winner "Best Camera"