Schriftzug Balancefilm

Documentaries

Our focus is on subject matter from culture and history, primarily from the local Saxony area. The works are sometimes in-house productions, but also include commissions for TV broadcasters and other clients. The company has, for instance, been documenting the rebuilding of the Dresdner Schloss (Dresden Royal Palace) for over 17 years. One of Europe’s longest and most comprehensive documentaries of its kind, this elaborate project is being financed by the Free State of Saxony. 

However, our work in this area also extends beyond the realms of Saxony itself. Filming assignments have in the past taken our team to countries such as Japan, Argentina and the USA.

‘Documentary on the Reconstruction of Dresden Royal Palace’

Work on the reconstruction of Dresden Royal Palace has been going on since 1986. From the outset, this reconstruction has been documented on film. The work was originally begun by the non-fiction department of East Germany’s DEFA Studio for Animated Film in Dresden. In 1991, Balance Film was then commissioned by the Free State of Saxony (Saxon Finance Ministry / SIB) to take over the documentary and has successfully carried on this task to this day. 
As well as portraying every phase of the construction and restoration work, the documentary also covers the first interim uses of the palace for exhibitions, conferences, concerts and celebratory events. Short stories, primarily about now rare crafts, also form an integral part of the documentary. These feature, for instance, the sgraffito artists who gave its Renaissance appearance back to the Great Courtyard, the clockmaker who reconstructed the complicated mechanism of the clock on the tower, the coppersmiths who gave the intricate roofscape its authentic look once again and the sculptors who restored the palace’s sculpted ornamentation. 

‘October Film’

2009, 30 min 
Director: Ralf Kukula. A photo collage film 
‘October Film’ (Oktoberfilm) is an experimental photo and audio collage about the events in Dresden in the autumn of 1989, based on an idea by Friedrich-Wilhelm Junge and Klaus Dieter Kirst. The film is conceived as an emotional ‘memory machine’ for people who were involved in – or even helped to shape – the events in Dresden 20 years ago. For viewers who do did not personally experience this so-called peaceful revolution the film elucidates background issues and shows familiar contexts in a new light. 
Director: Ralf Kukula 
Script: Durs Grünbein 
Music: Frieder Zimmermann 
Narrator: Friedrich-Wilhelm Junge 
Editor: Marc Thomas 
Photography: David Adam, Hans Ludwig Böhme, Joachim Brückner, Erwin Döring, Steffen Giersch, Elisabeth Groh, Marion Gröning, Marian Günther, Ulrich Hässler, Matthias Hiekel, Thomas Hiltmann, Gunter Hübner, Hanna Jähnig, Tom Klingbeil, Wolfgang Kluge, Waltraud Kossack, Antje Kukula, Kostas Margitudis, Hans-Dieter Opitz, Rigo Pohl, Dorothea Richter, Matthias Rietschel, Sven Ove Schindler, Christian Schreiterer, Anne Simmich, Günter Starke, Klaus Thiere and Detlef Ulbrich 
Supported by the Office of the Minister-President of the Free State of Saxony, the Cultural Foundation of the Free State of Saxony and the State Capital City of Dresden. 

‘What Remains – Architecture of Post-War Modernity in Dresden’

2007, 105 min 
Director: Ralf Kukula. Documentary 
In 1986, work began on the rebuilding of the Dresden Royal Palace – the legendary home to the ‘Green Vault’s private treasury’. A camera team documented the entire construction work period. From this wealth of footage came this extraordinary film about the Green Vault, Europe’s oldest and richest collection of precious treasures. 
Produced in collaboration with the Saxony State Ministry of Finance. 

‘The Green Vault – The Rebirth of Saxony’s Baroque Treasury’

2007, 105 min 
Regie: Ralf Kukula, Dokumentarfilm 
1986 begann der Wiederaufbau des Dresdner Schlosses – der legendären Heimstatt zur „Geheimen Verwahrung des Grünen Gewölbes.“ Die gesamte Bauzeit dokumentierte ein Kamerateam. Aus diesem Fundus entstand dieser ungewöhnliche Film über das Grüne Gewölbe: Europas älteste und reichste Pretiosen-Sammlung. 
Entstanden in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Sächsischen Staatsministerium der Finanzen. 

‘The New Dresden – On the Trail of Places Lost’

2006, 60 min 
Director: Ralf Kukula. Documentary 
Dresden’s destruction on 13th February 1945 represented the greatest epoch-ending change in the city’s history. Overcoming its consequences overburdened politicians, architects and city planners alike. The slow reconstruction, which lacked both money and capable minds, gravely changed the face of the city… The new Dresden became a city of lost places, lost roads and lost squares. 
A joint production by Balance Film GmbH and the State Capital City of Dresden (Dept. of Culture and Heritage and 2006 Events Office). Supported by the Cultural Foundation of the Free State of Saxony.

‘Sound, Intoxication, Ecstasy’

2005, 60 min 
Director: Eduard Schreiber. Documentary 
The coming together of four Dresden painters in 1905 to form the ‘Brücke’ (Bridge) group of artists was one of the milestones in the development of Expressionism. This documentary (‘Klang-Rausch-Ekstase’) provides an appreciation of the group on the 100th anniversary of its formation. 
A co-production with MDR. Supported by the East German Savings Bank Foundation in the Free State of Saxony and the East Saxon Savings Bank of Dresden. 

‘…no need to go to Venice – Short tales of Friedrichstadt floods’

2003, 20 min 
Director: Ralf Kukula. Documentary 
The film documents the period from the night of 13th August 2002, when the floodwaters of the Weißeritz engulfed the Dresden district of Friedrichstadt, through to the clear-up work after the water had subsided a week later. Ten individual stories show the part tragic, part comedic side of an unexpected natural disaster. 

Kleine Friedrichstädter Flutgeschichten
‘Theatre with Propellers’

2002, 45 min 
Director: Henrike Sandner. Documentary 
A film about the ‘Titanic’ theatre group, which passionately builds castles in the air. It’s a film about crackpots and luckless cranks. About the dream of flying and the sometimes bumpy landing in the midst of life. 
Supported by the Saxony State Ministry of Higher Education and the Arts. 

‘The Legend of the Golden Broiler’

2002, 28 min 
Director: Ralf Kukula. Report feature 
The film is a search for clues, looking for answers to the moral issue of the small difference between the ‘golden broiler’ and the ‘common spit-roast chicken’. 
Commissioned by MDR. 

‘Freeing the Body’

2000, 54 min 
Director: Norbert Göller. Documentary 
The story of eurhythmics. Swiss music educator Emil Jaques Dalcroze developed this vision of ‘freeing the body’ early in the 20th century. It reached a peak of popularity in Hellerau near Dresden in the years from 1909 to 1914. The central character in the film is the agile,101-year old Edith Naef from Geneva, one of Dalcroze’s first dance pupils, who to this day still teaches by this method. Internationally acclaimed London-based dance teacher Karin Greenhead is another who uses this vision with her modern-day students. 
Supported by the Cultural Foundation of the Free State of Saxony. 

‘The Last Circus Director – Trude Stosch Sarrasani’

1999, 30 min 
Director: Sybille Muth. Documentary 
This film is a portrait based on the fascination of the circus in the two cities of Buenos Aires and Dresden. A portrait of a life marked by highs and lows between the Elbe and the Rio de Plata, carried by the wish to see the Sarrasani business reborn in Dresden, the city of its birth. 
Commissioned by MDR, Landesfunkhaus, Dresden. 

‘Walking with Wolf Men – En Route to Curt Siodmak’

1998, 45 min 
Director: Ralf Kukula. Documentary 
“And all my things had an idea. Actors couldn’t act anything unless somebody had written something. Orchestras couldn’t play anything without the man who wrote the music. Everything comes from the idea.” Curt Siodmak 1998 
Supported by the Cultural Foundation of the Free State of Saxony and the Saxony State Institute for Independent Radio and New Media (SLM). 

‘The magician Hans Poelzig – Portrait of an architect, painter and stage designer’

1998, 45 min 
Director: Norbert Göller. Documentary 
The film traces the footsteps of a legendary character of the 1920s from Breslau via Dresden to Berlin. 
Supported by the Saxony State Institute for Independent Radio and New Media. Specials thanks for their kind support go to the Poelzig family, the German Film Museum and the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, the Breslau City Buildings Archive, Heike Hambrock-Abicht and the Volker Schlott Trio.

Der Magier Hans Poelzig
‘Legend B’

1997, 30 min 
Director: Ralf Kukula. Report feature 
Between Carlsfeld, Hamburg and Buenos Aires – on the trail of the bandeneón, the instrument of the tango. 
Commissioned by MDR, Landesfunkhaus, Dresden. 

‘Hans Erlwein – Architect of empathetic Modernity’

1997, 36 min 
Director: Norbert Göller. Documentary 
Hans Erlwein, a city planning officer, worked from 1899 to 1905 initially in Bamberg and later in Dresden, where, until his early death in 1914, he was responsible for a wealth of building activity. He oversaw the construction of everything that was needed at the turn of the century by an expanding major city: slaughterhouses, clinics, electricity works, warehouses, gas tanks, water and water treatment works, fire stations, numerous schools and residential buildings and also fountains and public conveniences. The film attempts to give Erlwein his place in German architectural history – as a pioneer of building with reinforced concrete and an important representative of picturesque cityscape planning. 
Supported by the Saxony State Institute for Independent Radio and New Media. Special thanks for their kind support go to the City Archive in Bamberg and the photographic service of the City Planning Office in Dresden.

‘The Dance Teacher Requests The Pleasure’

1995, 30 min 
Director: Marion Rasche. Report feature 
Ballrooms tell stories from a bygone era. There are still a few Dresden residents who glided across the dance floors of the Dresden ballrooms in their youth. Here they give an account of some unforgettable experiences. The film is complemented by a book entitled ‘Dancehalls in Dresden’ (new edition 2007) and a panoramic photo exhibition of the same name. 
Commissioned by MDR. 

‘Hellerau – A festival hall looking for a future’

1995, 17 min 
The film team: Ralf Kukula, Thomas Claus, Alexander Preuß, Joachim Gehlken, Regine Nestler, and Friederike Möckel 
Excerpts are shown of the following projects: 
‘Die Fruchtbarkeitstänzer’ (The Fertility Dancers) 
Holger Friedrich, Martina Couturier, Christian-Maria Göbel, Gabriele Hänel and Jürgen Kurz 
‘Lichtspieltraum’ (Play of Light – The Dream)
About the dissolution of light and cinematography’s soul 
Um Welt Film, Berlin 
‘Kluft’ 
Opening performance of the 4th International Dance Week 
tatoeba – Theatre Danse Grotesque 
A Balance Film production commissioned by the Cultural Foundation of the Free State of Saxony 

‘Slaughterhouse’

1994, 10 min 
Director: Ralf Kukula. A photo collage film 
Food is one of man’s basic needs. The days when everyone still hunted their own evening meal with bow and arrow are, however, long gone. The transformation from living creature to doner kebab, Big Mac or Schnitzel takes place well away from us. Out of sight and out of mind. It was for that reason too that at the start of the last century the slaughterhouse in Dresden was built on the edge of the city. Far away from the eyes of the city’s lovers of good food, over 3,500 animals were once killed and made into sausage meat there every day. Now, no slaughtering has gone on for many years and large parts of the site are deserted and decaying. Perishability in more senses than one.
The film was financially supported by the Saxony State Ministry of Higher Education and the Arts, the City of Dresden Department of Culture and the Berlin Cultural Fund Foundation. 

Schlachthof Dresden