The Documentary

Utopia           Watch Trailer

Peter Roloff’s feature-length documentary follows the trail of a “German republic” in the USA, a bold and unique project in the history of German democracy: Friedrich Muench and his friend Paul Follenius founded the “Giessen Emigration Society” in 1833. And 500 people leave Germany with them in spring of 1834. Where does their journey lead them?

The Utopia documentary is available in the US as a Double DVD on http://www.amazon.com/Utopia-Ludwig-Brake/dp/B00RXY9Z5W

Like the Society from 1834, a research team makes its way from Hesse to Bremen, via an emergency stop on the island of Harriersand, finishing in Missouri in the USA. The team is composed of archivist Ludwig Brake from Giessen, Bremen-based author Rolf Schmidt, historian Dorris Keeven-Franke from Missouri, filmmaker Peter Roloff and others. They are united by the search for the causes, history, and effects of one of Germany’s most unique political projects – an unknown chapter in the history of German democracy.

The team follows the lives of Muench and Follenius. Surprisingly, they come across a  multitude of original sites and scenes:  the farms of Friedrich Muench and Paul Follenius, heartrending documents in archives, knowledgeable descendants, and passionate experts in the field – such as hundred-year-old historian Ralph Gregory. Here we discover the driving forces behind Muench and Follenius and how the utopian project has continued in Missouri, albeit in a different form.

Written & directed by Peter Roloff | Photography: Peter Roloff | Editor: Manfred Hielscher | Music: André Feldhaus | Produced by maxim film | Funded by nordmedia Film- und Mediengesellschaft Lower Saxony/Bremen

US Premiere: St. Louis International Film Festival, 23 November 2014

Reviews: Weser-Kurier

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