Mystery of the death of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry unravelled
ZDF Enterprises distributes documentary about the last flight of the 'Little Prince'
Mainz, 2nd April 2008
"Duel in the Clouds - the last flight of the 'Little Prince" is the name of a high-caliber documentary that Tangram-Filmproduktion is currently producing for ZDF and ZDF Enterprises. For the first time ever and with exclusive access to all parties involved, the documentary will reconstruct the last hours in the life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The combination of shootings at original locations, rare archive material and high-quality re-enactments guarantee exciting information on the highest entertainment level. Within the course of the production, the mystery regarding the French author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, who went missing in 1944 during a reconnaissance flight, was unravelled. After many years of research with experts and in international archives, with shootings under water and high in the air, the film will once again examine the dramatic story of the last flight of Saint-Exupéry under completely new aspects and prove without any doubt that Horst Rippert, aged 88 today, former fighter pilot and brother of the late singer Ivan Rebroff, was his deadly enemy.
Horst Rippert, a former ZDF sports editor, claims that he shot down the French author on 31 July 1944. Then, he did not know who sat in the plane. "If I had seen him - I didn't know him in person - I would certainly not have shot," said Rippert. Recently, the French newspaper "Journal du Dimanche" had published a similar quote of Rippert from a new book on Saint-Exupéry's disappearance. The book has been commercially available in France since last month only. According to it, the whole scene took place near the South-French seaport Toulon. In the book, Rippert recounts that he targeted a "hostile plane". Saint-Exupéry flew under him in a P38 Lightning. "Then, I suddenly saw this Lightning...", Rippert explains the situation. And then he thought: "Ok, then I will shoot at it." He pursued the machine for a short time. "And then I came down from above (...) and targeted the wings and I hit them and the plane fell down. But I did not see if anyone got out." He only learned later that this had been Saint-Exupéry's plane. The French was his favourite author. "His books were inspiring and good and also motivated to flying. We grew up with the stories that he recounted in such a wonderful way."
In 1944, Saint-Exupéry started a reconnaissance flight as preparation for the invasion of the allies and did not return. In 2000, parts of his plane were found off the Mediterranean shore; these parts were, however, only identified in 2004. The author and pilot, who was born in the city of Lyon in middle France in 1900, had become famous with the illustrated narration "The little Prince". The book published in 1943 has been sold more than 80 million times world wide.
The production of the doucmentary will be completed in autumn 2008; pre-sale conversations will as of now be held by ZDF Enterprises.
**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), ZDF Enterprises GmbH, Lise-Meitner-Str. 9, D-55129 Mainz/Germany, tel. 0049 6131-991228, fax 0049 6131-991229, e-mail: [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com], [http://www.zdf-enterprises.de www.zdf-enterprises.de].