Terra Mater Factual Studios GmbH
Wambachergasse 2
1130 Vienna

T +43 1 870030 / F +43 1 87003 27609 / E office@terramater.at

Founded January 1st, 2011, Terra Mater Factual Studios is the new home of the internationally acclaimed former production team of UNIVERSUM, ORF’s Natural History Unit, and is based in Vienna.

The company is a subsidiary company of Red Bull and specialises in factual production and distribution for cinema, TV and multimedia platforms.

Walter Köhler CEO comments, “We will invest a lot of our energy in strengthening the output in our core genres – wildlife, science and history, but will move on to create top-end productions for the big screen and develop new and innovative factual formats for every media platform. Together with our worldwide partners we want to make Terra Mater Factual Studios a brand which is recognised throughout the world for its unmatched quality: for visual excellence and storytelling of the highest level.”

Latest News

‘Sea of Shadows’ to premiere at Sundance Festival 2019
December 2018

November 2018: Following the award-winning Netflix original ‘The Ivory Game’, Terra Mater Factual Studios’ latest feature production ‘Sea of Shadows’ will be celebrating its world premiere in the World Cinema Documentary competition at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival in Utah, USA. From more than 14.000 submissions, only 112 films were chosen. The festival is known for its prime selection of high quality independent films and the film team is proud to premiere at this outstanding festival.

Utah/Vienna. Just after Thanksgiving, good news arrived in Vienna: the Sundance Film Festival announced the official selection of ‘Sea of Shadows’. The feature doc, produced by Austria’s Terra Mater Factual Studios, will have its world premiere on Sunday, 27th of January 2019. The Viennese production house is thrilled, as chances of being accepted there are very slim.

After the tremendous success of 2016’s ‘The Ivory Game’, which depicted the illegal ivory trade and imminent extinction of elephants, founder and CEO of Terra Mater Factual Studios, Walter Köhler, has taken on yet another pressing issue that will have audiences on the edge of their seats:

A looming disaster in one of the most spectacular environments on Earth sparks a rescue mission unlike any other. When Mexican drug cartels and Chinese traffickers join forces to poach the rare totoaba fish in the Sea of Cortez, their deadly methods threaten to destroy virtually all marine life in the region, including the elusive and mysterious whale species known as the vaquita porpoise. But a team of brilliant scientists, high-tech conservationists, investigative journalists and courageous undercover agents put their lives on the line to save the last remaining vaquita and bring the vicious international crime syndicate to justice.

Directed by ‘The Ivory Game’ award-winning director Richard Ladkani, and executive produced by Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio, Walter Köhler and Wolfgang Knöpfler from Terra Mater once again partnered with high-level international conservation champions. Köhler is convinced that films like ‘Sea of Shadows’ have the power to ignite change: “When it’s about saving an entire species from imminent extinction, it is our moral obligation as filmmakers, to send out a clear message.”

‘Sea of Shadows’ was filmed entirely on location in Mexico and China. It is a Terra Mater Factual Studios production, in association with Appian Way, Malaika Pictures, and The Wild Lens Collective. Worldwide sales are with Submarine’s Josh Braun, Dan Braun, Ben Braun, Matt Burke, and Ben Schwartz.


Wildscreen 2018 Nominations
July 2018

Terra Mater Factual Studios are delighted to receive the news of three nominations at the 2018 Wildscreen Festival edition. The world’s leading international festival celebrating and advancing storytelling about the national world has honoured two TMFS productions with three nominations in the categories “Best Animal Behaviour”, “Best Series” and “Best Cinematography”.

Wildscreen Festival takes place biannually and receives hundreds of entries of the highest standards from all around the globe in 20 categories. Those films that make it through the pre-judging rounds – three in each category – will battle for the respective Panda awards handed out during a festive ceremony in October 2018 in Bristol.

The Terra Mater Factual Studios production “Attenborough’s Ant Mountain” has been nominated for its outstanding achievements in the category “Best Cinematography”. Decades of research went into the high-end cinematography developed by Martin Dohrn and his production company Ammonite, allowing an unprecedented sense of immersion in the world of the Swiss wood ants.
Attenborough’s Ant Mountain” is a production of TMFS in association with BBC and ABC Australia produced by Ammonite Ltd.

The TMFS production “The Lions Rule”, a three-part natural saga playing out in Ruaha National Park in Tanzania, has been nominated in the categories “Best Series” and “Best Animal Behaviour”.

Depicting never before-seen animal behaviour – the interplay and battles of powerful, different prides of lions amongst each other; the first ever recorded full sequence of lions stalking to taking-down a fully-grown giraffe and the subsequent mourning behaviour; baboons picking sides; emotionally strong, grasping and suspenseful minutes fill each of the three episodes of the series, making it a splendid candidate for the “Best Series” award as well.

The intriguing three-parter “The Lions Rule” was produced by Terra Mater Factual Studios in co-production with National Geographic Channel and Doclights/NDR Naturfilm in association with ARTE France / Unité Découverte et Connaissance and Shibumi Films.

Congratulations go out to all involved parties on the nominations.

The highly anticipated award ceremony of Wildscreen Festival will take place on October 19th, 2018 in Bristol, UK.

Terra Mater Factual Studios’ (TMFS) commitment to the highest production values results in premium factual programming for TV and theatrical release. Our core genres are wildlife and nature, science and history presented in blue-chip primetime series and specials. We also bring together a wide array of genres and styles to create exciting new factual and entertainment formats. And in our large cinematic projects the borders between fiction and fact become seamless and sometimes dissolve at all resulting in a different take on feature film production. TMFS collaborates with the best producers, cameramen and directors worldwide and uses the latest cutting-edge equipment to realise its cinematic dreams.

There are three key ingredients which make TMFS productions a unique viewing experience:

  • Visual Excellence: Images are more powerful than words in conveying powerful emotions and surprising insights. Fascinating camera shots and unconventional editing set us apart.
  • Innovative Technology: TMFS embraces state-of-the art recording technologies, from super-slow motion to super-time-lapse, to reveal nano-second events and processes so slow their evolution is invisible to the naked eye. Images generated by electron microscopes and computer animation give insight into the microcosm. Special cameras turn night into day. Endoscopes and medical scanners provide an inside view of living organisms. And HDTV is enhanced by a new dimension – 4K at its best.
  • Amazing Storytelling: TMFS uses the dramatic narration dynamics of the feature film to represent reality while upholding the principles of factuality. TERRA MATER presents people who understand our world and tells us stories written by real life.

Management Team

Dinah Czezik-Müller



Walter Köhler



Sabine Holzer

Head of Specialist Factual



It’s February already!
28 February 2018

This month has brought us as many as 17 nominations for ten productions at four different film festivals all over the globe. And it’s predominantly lions that steal the show: while last year’s epic three-part production ‘The Lions’ Rule’ has already gathered five nominations in 2018, we’re currently keeping our fingers crossed for the TMFS and Wildlife Films production ‘Tribe versus Pride’, nominated twice at the upcoming International Big Cats Film Festival in NYC this weekend. Go, lions!

September 2017

Five Awards for TMFS at the US-Nature Film Oscars

Jackson Hole/Vienna. For the 15th time, awards have been handed out by the prestigious Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. All in all, a total of 25 awards were presented in a glamorous gala on the evening of Sept 28th, 2017. And a fifth of these 25 awards went to Vienna-based Terra Mater Factual Studios.

[IvoryGame©TMFS_photographer_Richard Ladkaniw] ‘The Ivory Game’, an already multi-awarded thrilling feature documentary about the worldwide illegal ivory trade, was honoured with three awards in Jackson Hole.
The film has already convinced many juries at film festivals around the globe not only in aesthetic and dramaturgical terms, but most of all with its political and societal message; a combination which put the film on the shortlist for the 2017 Academy Awards.
At the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival 2017, ‘The Ivory Game’ was honoured with the Best of Festival-award, the “Grand Teton Award”. Furthermore, it won in the categories “Best Writing” as well as “Best Theatrical Program”.
Walter Köhler, CEO of Terra Mater Factual Studios, is highly delighted about these awards: “‘The Ivory Game’ is one of the most important films I have ever produced. It is wonderful to see it getting attention at various film festivals all around the globe. And all these honours help draw attention to the problem, so governments are pressured into banning the ongoing illegal ivory trade. We believe that each single award contributes to the elephants’ survival – and that’s what’s at stake here.”

‘The Ivory Game’, which has been shot in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Hong Kong, China and Vietnam, is a production of Terra Mater Film Studios with Vulcan Productions, a company of Microsoft-Co-Founder Paul Allen, and in association with Appian Way, production company of Leonardo DiCaprio. Allen as well as DiCaprio act as Executive Producers for the movie.
Award-winning director Richard Ladkani and Academy Award®–nominated director Kief Davidson filmed undercover for 16 months with a crack team of intelligence operatives, undercover activists, passionate frontline rangers and tough-as-nails conservationists, to infiltrate the corrupt global network of ivory trafficking.

Another of the prestigious 25 awards handed out yesterday evening went to the multi-awarded TMFS production ‘David Attenborough’s Light on Earth’. Natural History legend Sir David Attenborough’s performance as presenter led to the JHWFF 2017 award in the category “Best Host/Presenter Led-Program”. This science/nature documentary reveals never-before-seen behaviour of living creatures producing their own light with the help of specially-developed, extremely light sensitive cameras.
‘David Attenborough’s Light on Earth’ was produced by Terra Mater Factual Studios and Ammonite Films, in co-production with the American SVOD service CuriosityStream, and in association with BBC, UKTV and ABC Australia.

A very special honour was bestowed on the TMFS production ‘Tribe versus Pride’, as it was awarded the “Special Jury Award”of the festival. Directed by renowned wildlife filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert, this production closely follows how Kenya’s Maasai people celebrate their relationship with African lions; and how, to protect the latter, the Maasai people have gone as far as to change century-old rituals of their tribe. ‘Tribe versus Pride’ was produced by Terra Mater Factual Studios in co-production with Wildlife Films.

The 25 prestigious awards were handed out during an award gala at the Center for the Arts in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on the evening of September 28th, 2017. The winning films – 25 out of 600 – were screened and chosen by preliminary judges before the ceremony. Ahead of the festive event, a week-long media market took place in Jackson Hole, where filmmakers, journalists, scientists and conservationists were able to share contact details and ideas.

Delighted winners: f.l.t.r.: Wolfgang Knöpfler (Producer Terra Mater Factual Studios), Carole Tomko (Managing Director Vulcan Productions), Richard Ladkani (Director “The Ivory Game“), Sarah Edelson (Head of Development Vulcan Productions), Walter Köhler (CEO Terra Mater Factual Studios)


The Ivory Game


The Ivory Game - Title Sequence from Kaiserlicht on Vimeo.