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“Austria – the whole story”: the beginning of the ORF “mega-project”.

“Austria – the whole story”: the beginning of the ORF “mega-project”.

The episode titles promise something concrete: “The Reign of Hunger” (Episode 2), “Hostages of the Cold” (Episode 5) or “On the Scaffold of Freedom” (Episode 10) are part of the inaugural season of “Austria – The Complete Story”. Behind this lies the largest documentary project in ORF history. The starting point is the first documented mention of the name Ostarici in the year 996. The first season, which initially ends in the 18th century, continues using individual destinies and present-day themes such as the future of democracy, epidemics, climate change, tolerance and relationship. Between men and women.

starting from Episode “Warriors and Builders” Season 1 of ORFIII will air December 27-29 and January 2-3 in double episodes (always from 8:15 p.m.). It's also available at TVthek or on the new online platform ORF On (as of January 1) – thanks to the ORF Code amendment and the resulting expanded digital options there for just over a week.

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Elaborate re-enactments aim to make time without moving filmed documents comprehensible to the audience. A scientific advisory board undertook strict monitoring to ensure continued adherence to the factual basis

© Photo: ORF/ORF/RAN Film

40 episodes for four seasons of “Austria – The Complete Story” will be elaborately produced over four years. Moderator Mariela Gettler described it as a “huge project” during the presentation. Walk through the episodes with Andreas Pfeiffer, head of ORF's Berlin office.

Chairman of the ORF as initiator

Executing the production of the show makes it easier for the boss to be the initiator. ORF Director General Roland Weissmann has studied the history himself. “I am delighted that with the new production of ORFIII we have the opportunity to tell and illuminate Austrian history in a completely new way. In this way, ORF, as the country's multimedia memory and leading medium, creates lasting and invaluable value in relation to the public educational mission.”

Weissman hopes that the modern design with acting scenes, augmented reality elements and animated graphics will encourage younger audiences to watch it and that the series will be used in schools. He sees the public broadcaster – soon to be funded by ORF's contribution, which primarily affects young streamers – as a “link between generations and social classes”.

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ORF President Weissmann (second from right) had the idea for the historical series, which (from left) was presented by Andreas Pfeiffer and Mariela Gettler. Implemented by ORFIII chiefs Peter Schober and Katherine Zerhout Kunz

© Photo: ORF/Roman Zak Kiessling


A committee of historians monitored the veracity of what the television producers narrated, which was much requested from both parties. “We were not a comfortable partner,” said Christina Lotter, dean of the College of Historical and Cultural Studies. “A constant positive exchange with each other,” said Peter Schober, ORFIII program director.

“In the past 20 to 30 years, we have gained many new insights in research that have not yet reached popular culture,” Lotter explained. We now know a lot more about people's practical lives or gender relations than is taken into account in classical novels.” When working on a series like this, we also learn from each other what is still possible for the other person. “It's self-evident that we have to deal with “Seriously take this issue.”

Johannes Preiser-Kapeller (Academy of Sciences) finds the consequences “incredibly impressive.” In the end, this is also dangerous. Because these are not TikTok videos or fake news, these are facts based on sources.

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In this podcast, renowned historians answer presenter Mariela Gettler's questions on topics relevant to the present from the major historical documentary series

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