The Making of the Iron Curtain

// nominated for "Deutscher Fernsehpreis" 2011

Juergen Ast | Christoph Weinert

Christoph Weinert | Juergen Ast

in cooperation with:
Karsten Laske

Commissioning Editors:
Rolf Bergmann | Jens Stubenrauch | Dagmar Mielke | Dr. Ulrich Brochhagen


LOOKS Film & TV Produktionen GmbH | astfilm productions | RBB | ARTE | MDR | La Station Animation | MDM | Medienboard Berlin Brandenburg // ARD | ARTE

Germany in the summer of 1961 - the "Iron Curtain" divides the country. Only in Berlin the borders are not totally sealed off. West-Berlin is like an open wound for the German Democratic Republic, ... till August 13th 1961. On this sunny Sunday, the world will be divided in before and after.

From a new and unusual perspective, the docu-drama "Operation Wall" tells the story of the frontline in the Cold War, the inner German border and the Berlin Wall. The film recalls the story of those who made the plans, constructed and guarded the Wall. It also is a "look behind the mirror" at the ones responsible and in charge of the secret plans to perfect the deadly border.

But how did the guard on duty really feel? What did it mean to him to protect and defend the GDR from the Imperialists? How was it to live in the shadow of the Wall, and to overcome it? A former GDR border guard tell his story about the moment when he opened fire at someone trying to escape. A former Commanding Officer of the border troops talks in detail about the applied strategy and the secret meetings of the Border Command. Refugees trying to overcome the Wall, they recall the moment when they risked their life for their freedom.

The exclusive interviews, combined with reenacted scenes, grants an in-depth look at the protagonists and the events within the command center of the border troops, constantly only one step away from the Third World War. With the help of computer animation, material from the archives is transferred and presented in a virtual room. Historic sites are reconstructed and unknown details are revealed, they show how the Wall and the security-zone really worked. Newly discovered color footage and secret documents are most impressive: Secret documents about the fortification of the Wall, plans to make the Wall system more safe and more effective. Nothing less than perfection had to be achieved - the secret plans for the 21st Century were already drawn.