UFA on board the largest Arctic expedition of all time


On 20th September 2019, in the Norwegian city of Tromsø, the largest Arctic expedition of all time gets underway with UFA SHOW & FACTUAL on board to exclusively capture the expedition in a high-end documentary film.

Organised by the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), a Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, the German icebreaker ‘Polarstern’ will be making its way to the Arctic as part of the MOSAiC expedition. Polarstern will be frozen in ice and will drift for one year through the hostile icy desert of the North Pole. On board will be the best scientists of their generation who will have the task of collecting data on the ocean, ice and atmosphere. The mission: to understand climate change. Because the Arctic is set to form the weather of the future.

Ute Biernat, Managing Director of UFA SHOW & FACTUAL: The MOSAiC expedition is a once-in-a-century event and it’s great that we will be able to document this pioneering project in its entirety. For a whole year, our documentary filmmakers will accompany the scientists, their research and the goings-on on board the Polarstern. We will use this unique material to create a high-end documentary for ARD that will be aired by the end of 2020. I am very much looking forward to the collaboration with our colleagues at RBB and ARD and I would like to thank the Alfred Wegener Institute, which is responsible for this international expedition, for their trusting co-operation.

Philipp Grieß, Producer at UFA SHOW & FACTUAL: “To be able to be there for such a ground-breaking event, up close and as the only camera team – this is every documentary filmmaker’s dream. We will be filming in places where nobody has ever gone before. The expedition, which has been planned down to the smallest detail for years, is and remains an adventure holding many unknowns for both man and his technology: the extreme temperatures of up to -40 degrees Celsius, the darkness of the polar night, wandering polar bears and the incalculable ice situation that we’ll we be working on. For our teams accompanying the entire expedition, this will pose a very special challenge. With the comprehensive documentation of the MOSAiC expedition, we want to help to raise awareness of the central challenge of our time – climate change.”

Around 300 international scientists and experts, and 70 institutions will be involved in the project from across 19 nations. The expedition has a 140 million Euro budget and will feature 5 icebreakers, polar aircraft and helicopters with the 390-day expedition all being captured by state-of-the-art cameras.

The ARD documentary Expedition Arctic (working title) will appear on ARD 1 in the autumn of 2020. The high-end documentary will be exec produced by UFA’s CEO, Nico Hofmann and Ute Biernat.

In addition to the documentary, the MOSAiC expedition will be accompanied by companies from the Bertelsmann Content Alliance. These include  UFA SHOW & FACTUAL, Gruner + Jahr, the publishing group, Random House and Audio Alliance will accompany the expedition exclusively for the German-speaking public in terms of picture, sound and word content.

Fremantle, the parent company of UFA, is on board to co-develop and finance an international version of the high-end documentary which will be produced for worldwide distribution.

Jens Richter, CEO, Fremantle, International: “We are thrilled to be embarking on this voyage of Expedition with UFA on the most important subject of our time – dramatic climate change.  The findings of the MOSAiC expedition are likely to be ground-breaking and it is of vital importance that we harness the power of television to take this global story to the world.”

Gruner + Jahr is sending the author, Marlene Göring, who will be reporting on the arctic expedition for STERN, GEO, GEOlino, and P.M. Her first stories from the Arctic will appear in the G+J magazines at the beginning of 2020. The expedition will be accompanied photographically by Esther Horvath. Her photographs will appear in the G+J magazines and in an international illustrated book published by Prestel Verlag (Random House publishing group) with exclusive photos in the autumn of 2020. Within the publishing group, the expedition report by expedition leader, Markus Rex, is also expected to be published by C. Bertelsmann and a children’s book is also being planned. Audio Alliance will also be supporting MOSAiC with the creation of exclusive audio content. An audio logbook with the working title of “Aufbruch ins Eis” (‘Setting out into the Ice’), in which the expedition‘s scientific leader will take centre stage, will appear regularly over the entire duration of the expedition. A further podcast audio format with the working title of “Arctic Audio” will appear in English and this will offer comprehensive insights into the expedition’s individual scientific fields and sections of travel.