Nikolaus Geyrhalter

Homo sapiens

Nikolaus Geyrhalter
Screening time  
03.03. / Friday, 21:00 - 23:00 Theatre 2  
"Homo Sapiens" is a film about the finiteness and fragility of human existence at the end of industrial age and about what it means to be a human being and what will remain of our lives after we’re gone.

Although entitled Homo Sapiens, the film completely leaves out human beings from the picture, placing the focus on long static frames of once-grand but now abandoned and decaying buildings, overgrown with vegetation, and projecting a dystopian future of mankind.


Nikolaus Geyrhalter

Nikolaus Geyrhalter is director, producer, writer and cinematographer, born in Vienna, Austria in 1972. Geyrhalter’s static-camera, well-paced observational films tackle their subjects head-on, whether it’s exploring the terrain in Chernobyl, Ukraine (Pripyat), tracing the route of the Dakar Rally (7915 Km), or investigating the production of processed foods (Our Daily Bread).At the age of 22, Geyrhalter started his own production company, Nikolaus Geyrhalter Filmproduktion (NGF). He made his first film, Eisenerz, in 1992. Two years later, Geyrhalter shot his first documentary, Washed Ashore (Angeschwemmt). Audiences, jurors, and critics took notice of Geyrhalter with Pripyat (1999), which won the SCAM Award at the Cinéma du Réel Festival and the Grand Prize at Diagonale Graz. He followed Pripyat with the epic four-hour globe-hopping documentary, Elsewhere (2001). The film screened at Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, the Jihlava Film Festival, and won a Special Jury Award at the IDFA. His next feature, Our Daily Bread (2005), won a Special Jury Award at IDFA as well. In the following decade, Geyrhalter examined night labor in Europe with Abendland (2011) and landscapes of urban decay across the world in Homo Sapiens (2016). The latter film played at the Berlinale Forum, the Hong Kong International Film Festival, the Cinéma du Réel Festival, the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, and the Viennale. In 2015, Berlin’s Arsenal Cinema programmed a retrospective dedicated to his work. The 38th Cinéma du Réel Festival programmed a sidebar on his documentaries. ZagrebDox is following Geyrhalter’s work by screening almost all of his films he made in the last decade, e.g. Our Daily Bread, Allentsteig, Danube Hospital and Abendland, as well as screening a special retrospective program in 2017.

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Homo Sapiens

2016, 94'

Directed by:
Nikolaus Geyrhalter

Screenplay by:
Nikolaus Geyrhalter

Nikolaus Geyrhalter

Edited by:
Michael Palm

Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Michael Kitzberger, Wolfgang Widerhofer, Markus Glaser

Produced by:
Nikolaus Geyrhalter Filmproduktion

Festivals & Awards:

Subversive Film Festival Zagreb 2016 – Wild Dreamer Award for Best Documentary; IDFA 2016; Berlin International Film Festival 2016; Cinéma du Réel 2016; Hong Kong International Film Festival 2016; Buenos Aires International Independent Film Festival 2016; International Documentary Film Festival 2016; DOK.fest München 2016; Docs Against Gravity Film Festival 2016; Docaviv 2016; European Film Festival Palić 2016; Edinburgh International Film Festival 2016; Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 2016; International Cinematographers’ Film Festival Manaki Brothers 2016; Aichi Triennale Nagoya 2016; Milano Film Festival 2016; Message to Man International Film Festival 2016; Cambridge Film Festival 2016; Film Festival Cologne 2016; International Contemporary Science Film Festival 360° 2016; Leeds International Film Festival 2016; Montreal International Documentary Festival 2016; Festival dei Popoli 2016; Viennale 2016