Three world-class museum taxidermists trying to remind us what we are about to lose forever.
The world is at a turning point. Human impact threatens millions of species with extinction - with the dramatic loss of biodiversity endangering the existence of human kind itself.
However, there is one obscure profession that is at the forefront of reminding us of what we are about to lose forever:
Maurizio, Robert and Christophe are three world-class taxidermists working at the natural history museums of Berlin, Rome and Brussels.
Their mission? Giving the animals they prepare a voice to speak out against human kind’s war on nature.
Although they have never met, they share the conviction that preserved animals can help to overcome the gap between society and nature.
The three are shown preparing for the 2018 European Taxidermy Championships, the most important competition of their careers. While this is the last chance for Maurizio before retiring, Christophe is participating for the first time. For Robert, the title of European Champion is all that’s missing from his collection of international awards. And as the three get ready for the Championship in Salzburg and with their profession becoming increasingly threatened with extinction itself, another voice rises from the dead to give humans one last warning.
TAXIDERMIST AT MUSEUM FÜR NATURKUNDE, BERLIN
Robert is an award-winning taxidermist. Since 2004 he has regularly taken part in
Taxidermy Championships winning several European and World titles with his bird
preparations. In 2012 he won the "Best of Show" title with a climbing Kea. He has had a love for birds since childhood. As a result, he has an enormous understanding of the
movements in birds and can masterfully implement this in his preparations.
TAXIDERMIST AT CIVIC MUSEUM OF ZOOLOGY, ROME
Born in a village of southern Italy, Maurizio grew up between flowers, lizards and butterflies. Taxidermy represents his way of telling stories and over the last 40 years he
worked at the Civic Museum of Zoology in Rome. He participated at several international competitions, winning prizes as "Third in Europe" at the Championship in Dortmund, "Best of Category" at the World Championship in Springfield, USA. Being able to work with reptiles, birds, fishes and mammals he is considered as the italian wizard of taxidermy, but he keeps saying that ‘from the cradle to the grave you always learn’.
CHRISTOPHE DE MEY
TAXIDERMIST AT MUSÉE DES SCIENCES NATURELLES, BRUXELLES
Christophe is a taxidermist working for scientific collections and museum exhibitions. He looks for the emotion coming back directly from the animal to whom he wants to give back a second life. Christophe has a particular passion and connection with big cats but each individual has a symbolic story that he tries to freeze in time. A marriage between humans and animals.
As humans, we think us in charge and in domination of the planet. But the more we challenge the ecosystem, the more threats arise from nature. The more we find out that we are not the masters of the world, the more we discover that we are animals among other species, to finally be aware that our fate is tied together.
Taxidermy is a controversial and mysterious profession which perfectly highlights the clash of human contradictions. On one hand it reveals that human fantasy to rule over life and death, on the other hand it presents a peculiar bridge between humankind and animal world.
Museum taxidermists with their skillful hands recreate the illusion of that very same life that had been destroyed by other human hands. The more we observe how taxidermists try to breathe back life to their animal specimen, the more we feel a magical and secret pact among them, the clearer we hear a voice arising from death that reminds us: “If we die, you die”.
Protagonists: Maurizio Gattabria, Robert Stein, Christophe de Mey
Voice Over Artist: Caroline Donnelly (EN), Katharina Thalbach (GER), Daniele Denie (FR)
Director and author: Davide Gambino
Camera: Dieter Stürmer
Sound Recording: Manuel Ernst, Jule Cramer
Music: Jan Swerts
Editing: Simon Arazi, Christelle Berry
Sound Editing: Lise Bouches
Sound Mix: Jean-François Levillain
Script editing /Autor voice over Petronilla: Lukas Roegler
Motion Graphics Designer: Amir Borenstein
Executive Producer: Thurnfilm – Valentin Thurn
Co-producers: Take Five – Alon Knoll, Gregory Zalcman / Mon Amour Films – Ruggero di Maggio, Davide Gambino
Line Producer: Laura-Johanne Zimmermann
Location Unit Managers: Philipp Griess, Lukas Roegler, Katrien Feyaerts, Daniele Fabrizi, Guiseppe Garasto, Stefan Pfeiffer
Production Assistants: Muriel Breier, Tamina Moana Soell, Corinna Poetter, Guillaume Imbert, Silvia Miola, Ruggero Cusimano
Production Accountants: Boris Dillen, Eric Jaminet, Marco li Puma
Legal Counsels: Christian Füllgraf, JVM/Eric Jooris, Donatella Mugnano
Additional Script Editor: Sebastian Stobbe
Additional Cameramen: Pascal Colson, Francesco Scazzosi
Additional Sound Recorders: Jule Buerjes, Axel Schmidt
Assistant Editors: Romain Waterlot, Samira El Mouzghibati, Juliette Kergoat
Additional Editors: Chiara De Cunto, Gabriele Gismondi
Sound Consultant: Gianluca Donati
Assistant Sound Editor: Arthur Meeus de Kemmeter, Hugo Mariman
Colorist: Franck Ravel
Italian Translations: Ester lo Biundo
German Translations: Lukas Roegler
Dutch Transcriptions: Marie-Eve Cosemans