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Congratulating Werner Herzog on his 70th birthday

ZDF Enterprises acquires world distribution rights to Herzog’s latest projects

Mainz, 29th August 2012.

ZDF Enterprises, the distribution arm of German public broadcaster ZDF, is delighted to offer its best wishes to the world-famous filmmaker on his 70th birthday on 5 September 2012 and to announce that it will be handling the international rights to Herzog’s latest projects, ON DEATH ROW and HATE IN AMERICA.

ON DEATH ROW will feature 3 further one-hour episodes as a follow-up to the original, successful four-part series DEATH ROW in which the filmmaker interviewed death-row prisoners and let them express their views on life and death. The new cases involve a man who beat his girlfriend’s 13-month-old baby to death in an attempt to free it from demons; a man who paid killers to eliminate his ex-wife; and a man who seems to have randomly shot truck drivers from his motorcycle.

In HATE IN AMERICA (4 x 60‘), Herzog will be examining four disturbing aspects of the hatred that is increasingly poisoning the fabric of U.S. society. The cases he will choose from include Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, White Supremacists, Neo-Nazis, feuding neighbors, a suburban housewife turned killer of Mexican citizens, and a visit to Harrison, Arkansas, the “hate central” of the U.S.. 

President and CEO of ZDF Enterprises, Alexander Coridass, points out that “we have been working very productively and rewardingly with Werner Herzog for many years now, and particularly esteem his documentaries for their intense humanity, their respect for the dignity of their subjects, and for their timelessness. We are convinced that HATE IN AMERICA, for example, will attract wide interest globally thanks to its objective portrayal of an appalling dichotomy at the heart of American civilization.”

ZDF Enterprises’ documentary portfolio also features other films by the great filmmaker:


An intense docudrama about U.S. airman Dieter Dengler, who was shot down over the jungles of North Vietnam in 1969. Dengler escaped – the only U.S. pilot to do so – after a seemingly endless 136-day martyrdom in a prisoner-of-war camp.


The harrowing adventure of a 17-year-old girl who was the sole survivor of a plane crash in the middle of the Peruvian jungle. She followed a river in the hope that it would lead her to civilization – and was saved after 11 days.

* INTO THE ABYSS (1 x 105’)

A moving look at the fates of two men who destroyed their lives, and those of others, by a senseless triple murder. Herzog lets them sketch their own version of the events.* DEATH ROW (4 x 50’)

A dialogue with death-row prisoners that becomes a penetrating journey into the human soul and a plea for humanity and understanding.


About Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog (real name Werner H. Stipetic) was born in Munich on September 5, 1942. He grew up in a remote mountain village in Bavaria and never saw any films, television, or telephones as a child. He started travelling on foot from the age of 14. He made his first phone call at the age of 17. During high school he worked the nightshift as a welder in a steel factory to produce his first films and made his first film in 1961 at the age of 19. Since then he has produced, written, and directed more than fifty feature and documentary films, such as AGUIRRE, THE WRATH OF GOD (1972), NOSFERATU (1978), FITZCARRALDO (1982), LESSONS OF DARKNESS (1992), LITTLE DIETER NEEDS TO FLY (1997), MY BEST FIEND (1999), WINGS OF HOPE (aka THROUGH THE GREEN HELL 1999), INVINCIBLE (2000), GRIZZLY MAN (2005), ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD (2007) or CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS (2011). Werner Herzog has published more than a dozen books of prose, and directed as many operas. He lives in Munich and Los Angeles.

One of Herzog’s most recent documentaries, “Cave of Forgotten Dreams,” shot in 3D, was premiered at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival and was successfully released in the U.S., the U.K. and elsewhere. The film on the Chauvet Cave had grossed nearly four million U.S. dollars by 12 June 2011, making it the highest-grossing independently released documentary of 2011, earning over five times more than the second-place film, “The Last Lions”.


About ZDF Enterprises

Founded in 1993, ZDF Enterprises GmbH is the wholly-owned subsidiary and commercial arm of ZDF German Television Network, one of Europe's largest and most respected broadcasters. Headquartered in Mainz, Germany, ZDF Enterprises is responsible for the development, production and global distribution of quality original programming. The company is also responsible for all program acquisitions and international co-productions on behalf of the network, and acquires programming for world-wide distribution. Its vast program library ranks as the largest in the German  language. The extensive catalogue includes television movies and mini-series, drama series and comedies, documentaries, family entertainment and children's programming. ZDF Enterprises also oversees all licensing and merchandising activities based on its high-profile programs, including book and music publishing and the licensing of its program properties in all key product categories. Committed to the future, ZDF Enterprises has embarked on numerous New Media initiatives, ranging from opportunities within the burgeoning e-commerce industry to the creation of themed edutainment dimensions featuring the recognized program brands with which ZDF has become synonymous.

Contact ZDF Enterprises

Christine Denilauler (Director of Marketing and Corporate Communications), Erich-Dombrowski-Str. 1, D-55127 Mainz/Germany, tel.: +49 6131-9911130, fax: +49 6131-9912130, e-mail:,


Christine Denilauler

Christine Denilauler

Vice President Marketing and Corporate Communications

+49 (0) 6131 / 991–1130
+49 (0) 6131 / 991–2130
ZDF Enterprises GmbH
Erich-Dombrowski-Str. 1
55127 Mainz | Germany