A biologist by profession (with a Ph.D. on naked mole-rats to boot), I started my own natural history film production company Nona Naturedocx in 2009. My scientific background helps me understand not only the natural history and ecological relationships of our different film topics. With my experience as a scientist and field biologist, it is also easy for me to relate to the demands, struggles, and challenges faced by the experts we tend to work with during filming.
Since 2009 I have been directing and producing natural history documentaries and reportages for German and French public television. Some trusted partners in these endeavours are commissioning editors at NDR Doclights, NDR, BR, ORF, ARTE, RBB, WDR, and ARD.
As a filmmaker I'm interested in the life and adaptability of wild animals but also in the exciting possibilities offered by their interaction with dedicated human beings. Wherever people are deeply involved with the wellbeing and protection of wildlife and their habitat is where I like to do my bit: Creating visually impressive, entertaining, and informative documentaries to raise awareness and hopefully generate support for projects and people that are doing everything they can to save at least parts of our natural world for future generations.
Scientific background: obviously I always wanted to become a natural history documentary filmmaker, but I decided to learn something “real” first. For my diploma in biology at the University of Tuebingen I went to Kenya and studied naked mole-rats. As a result I was invited to do my graduate work at Washington University in St. Louis. An offer I couldn’t resist, as it allowed me to spend many more months in the Kenyan savanna.
Journalistic training: During graduate school I produced twelve natural history documentaries for the Washington University and St. Louis Zoo Outreach program. An additional documentary on naked mole-rats in the wild won the Jack Ward Award from the Animal Behavior Society. German filmmaker Herbert Ostwald made a documentary about me and the naked mole-rats in 2004. After that I was finally ready to switch careers.
For three years I was employed as researcher, writer and director at Marco Polo Film AG in Heidelberg, an internationally renowned production company for natural history film. Film projects there took me e.g. to Madagascar, the Gobi desert and Eastern Germany.
In recent years me and my partner, the well known and very successful camera operator Roland Gockel, have been producing award winning documenaries for German public television. For example "Penguin City" for NDR Doclights, "Wächter der Wale" for BR, and "Creekwalker" for 360° GEO Reportage (arte). We are currently working on a natural history film about city and rural foxes in Germany for NDR, rbb, and arte.
Roland is a very experienced, well travelled camera operator. His cinematographic work is focused on natural history filming for blue chip as well as reportage style wildlife and nature documentaries. Roland's brilliant and powerful footage gives visual life to a large number of German as well as international TV and movie productions.
Last year his camera work alone was nominated for more than ten awards at various international film festivals. In addition to his filming skills Roland is an excellent photographer. His pictures are often delivered as press material to broadcasters and he has been published in high gloss magazines such as GEO a number of times already.
Roland also started directing his own productions. His latest films "Penguin City - South Georgia Island" (NDR, ORF, Doclights, 2015), "Wächter der Wale" (NDR/BR 2016), and the 360° GEO Reportage "Creekwalker" have all been nominated for the "German Natural History Film Award".