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ZDF Enterprises lands worldwide TV and theatrical rights to new Werner Herzog documentary

"Into the Abyss - A Tale of Death, a Tale of Life" - A look into the lives of Death Row inmates

Mainz and Vienna, 20th June 2011.

ZDF Enterprises has just acquired the worldwide (excluding USA and the UK) television and theatrical rights to Werner Herzog’s “Into the Abyss – A Tale of Death, a Tale of Life,” his new documentary on Death Row inmates (90-minute documentary feature), a coproduction of Skellig Rock, Creative Differences, Spring Films and Werner Herzog Film.

Internationally renowned filmmaker Werner Herzog embarks on a dialogue with the prisoners, asks questions about life and death, and looks deep into these individuals, their stories, and their crimes. It is a gaze into the abyss of the human soul. Among the inmates portrayed in the film are two men convicted of triple murder, another who killed his girlfriend and her two mentally retarded sons, and a woman – one of only ten on Texas’ Death Row – charged with abducting a newborn baby and killing the child’s mother.

Herzog’s most recent documentary, “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 Werner Herzog
Werner Herzog was born in Munich on September 5, 1942. He grew up in a remote mountain village in Bavaria and studied History and German Literature in Munich and Pittsburgh. He 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.

Mr. Lucki Stipetic, Werner Herzog Film GmbH, Spiegelgasse 9, 1010 Vienna / Austria, Phone +43 1 512 9444, Fax +43 1 512 9398, e-mail:,


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