Gentle Giant – Otters´ Paradise in Capercaillie County

Production Overview
Compared to its fellow summits in the Alps, the Oetscher is not very high: in fact, less than 2000 metres. But among the gentler slopes of western Lower Austria, it really is a giant, with shoulders broad enough to carry the last of the Alps’ virgin forests, the country’s coldest plateau where temperatures fall to –50°, the oldest trees in all of Austria, and her very own Grand Canyon, the “Tormäuer”.
On a clear day, you can see a third of the entire country from its peak, but nights are pitch dark on mount Oetscher except for myriad stars; human settlements are scarce here. It has never been easy to wrest arable land from the giant’s rugged slopes – felling timber on its steep sides is an almost superhuman task, and winters are long and harsh.

Yet in making access difficult for human settlers, the Gentle Giant has succeeded in protecting its primary fauna: the capercaillie – rare in other parts of Europe – still makes its home in the ancient coniferous forests, while snow grouse roam above the tree-line. Hawks lie in wait, while otters hunt in brooks. Ousted from everywhere else in Austria, even the brown bear found refuge on the Oetscher’s mountainsides.

A Coproduktion of Interspot Film, ORF Universum and BR, funded by Cine Styria, Fernsehfonds Austria and Kultur Niederösterreich, distributed by ORF Enterprise.

Interspot FilmORF Universum LogobrcinestyriafernsehfondsKultur Niederösterreich
awardThe International Wlodzimierz Puchalski Nature Film Festival: Polish Stane Forest Award


Writer and Director: Franz Hafner
Photography: Dietrich Heller, Josef Neuper
Editor: Werner Müller
Production Management: Veronika Hraby
Executive Producer: Heinrich Mayer-Moroni, Nikolaus Klingohr
Commissioning Editor ORF: Franz Fuchs
Executive Producer ORF: Andrew Solomon

Television Premiere: ORF2 20:15, 20.10.2015

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Martin Demmerer
Martin Demmerer
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