ZDF Studios renews partnership with top unscripted producer Doclights

Mainz, August 3rd, 2023

ZDF Studios is pleased to announce that it has concluded a new contract with Doclights, the renowned producer of high quality unscripted content for NDR, ARD, ZDF, ARTE, ORF, Terra Mater, BBC, National Geographic, Curiosity Stream, WWF, NHK amongst others. The continuation of this long-standing partnership will see ZDF Studios distributing 24 hours of brand new documentaries being produced by Doclights over the next two years.

Doclights, an affiliate of ZDF Studios, have confirmed the first three titles on their production slate: Poland’s Wild East (1 x 50, or German version Polens Osten 1 x 50‘), Iriomote – The Fabric of Life (1 x 50’ or German version Japans Garden Eden – Die Insel Iriomote 1 x 43‘) and A Rhino’s Life (1 x 50’ or German version Nashörner – Mit Herz und Horn 1 x 43’).

Ralf Rückauer, Vice President Unscripted, ZDF Studios said: “Doclights are one of the most skilled and widely-travelled producers of factual content with years of experience in storytelling. It is a company with an excellent worldwide reputation for nature and wildlife film production at the highest level. We are pleased to be able to continue our long-standing partnership with Jörn Röver and his team.”

Animals that have long since disappeared can be found in in one of Europe’s last truly wild regions, eastern Poland. Around 1,500 bison, huge and tenacious wild cattle, along with wolves, moose and others live in the primaeval forest of Białowieża, on the border between Poland and Belarus. Poland’s Wild East explores the country’s biggest national park, a haven for beavers, otters and countless aquatic birds. But, here too, nature is in danger as motorways and intensive agriculture encroach. How much space we allow the animals will determine their survival. Poland’s Wild East is a Doclights GmbH / NDR Naturfilm production in association with ARTE and ORF.

Iriomote Island, blanketed by dense tropical forests, is home to some of the rarest animals on the planet. Lying between the South China Sea and the Pacific, the island’s most famous inhabitant is a small feline - the Iriomote cat. But there is also a local subspecies of the crested serpent eagle, the Ryukyu Flying-fox and the spectacular ruddy kingfisher that all live in the national park, a UNESCO world heritage site. Iriomote – The Fabric of Life, produced by Doclights GmbH / NDR Naturfilm and NHK in association with ARTE and ORF, beautifully captures the unique nature of this valuable biodiversity hotspot which boasts Japan’s most extensive mangrove forests. As the habitat lives and breathes with the tides, a whole army of bizarre creatures emerge from the mud once the sea ebbs away.

A Rhino’s Life takes us on a journey to the African savannah, home to the majestic rhinoceros. When we think of rhinos, often we focus solely on how they are ruthlessly hunted down for their horns. But what do we really know about these secretive animals and their daily challenges? This intimate film follows the life of a white rhinoceros family in a reserve in Uganda, as nine year-old-Malaika wanders through the bushland with her 2-year-old son Elias. They are inseparable but now Malaika is pregnant again and 16 months later her son Pipo is born. The first rhino birth in the wild ever captured on film. We witness the sad but inevitable separation of Elias from his ever-present protective mother. Has she taught him enough to make it on his own? A Rhino’s Life is produced by Doclights GmbH / NDR Naturfilm in association with ARTE, ORF and NHK.


About ZDF Studios
ZDF Studios was originally founded in 1993 as ‘ZDF Enterprises’, a private subsidiary of ZDF, one of the largest and most renowned television broadcasters in Europe. The company was renamed ‘ZDF Studios’ on 1 April 2022. Based in Mainz, the business is responsible for distributing programmes worldwide, implementing international co-productions, acquiring licences and merchandising key brands under its own name, for ZDF and for third parties. Successfully established as an independent market player in Germany and globally, it operates as part of a strong network of 30 direct and indirect subsidiaries and affiliates. ZDF Studios has the largest German-language programme stock in the world, plus a constantly growing catalogue of international productions consisting of series and mini-series, television films, documentaries and children’s programmes. By continually evolving, the ZDF Studios group has been able to open up numerous business areas in the television and media sector. As a result, ZDF Studios now provides a comprehensive full-service offer and covers every stage in the creation and exploitation chain of successful TV productions in all genres, from developing content to producing, licensing, marketing, merchandising, online rights and much more.

Contact ZDF Studios
Christine Denilauler (VP Marketing and Corporate Communications), ZDF Studios GmbH, Erich-Dombrowski-Str. 1, 55127 Mainz/Germany, Tel.: +49 6131-9911130, Email: christine.denilauler@zdf-studios.comwww.zdf-studios.com