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Alfred Proksch (photo © Jan Tenhaven)

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 01/2010

HERBSTGOLD (WT: “Harvest Gold – Fighting Time and Age”) tells the life-affirming stories of five senior athletes across the world who all have one goal – to take part in the track and field section of the World Masters Championships 2009 in Finland. The biggest challenge they face is their age: all five athletes are between 82 and 100-years-old.

“These five individuals are in a defiant race against time,” says HERBSTGOLD’s writer-director Jan Tenhaven, “and throw a very 'YES-to-life' light on growing old in various countries. How do these senior citizens deal with everyday life? Alone or with a partner? What roles do love and sexuality play? What does society think of them? Why is sport so important to them? How do they deal with their bodies becoming increasingly frail and their performance worse?

“These,” Tenhaven continues, “are the questions the film poses and, hopefully, answers. This is a story about losers and winners, of setbacks and small triumphs. HERBSTGOLD is a film about life and maybe about death. Who will mount the podium at the end? Who will make a dignified withdrawal? Who will fight bitterly to the end – in the contest of life?”

Jan Tenhaven and Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion developed HERBSTGOLD over a period of two years, marking his first feature length documentary for theatrical release. Tenhaven himself is a freelance writer and director for German public television and also a lecturer at the Electronic Media School in Potsdam-Babelsberg.

From 1998 to 2001, Tenhaven was a television correspondent and bureau chief of APM Media in London and a director for London International Television (LITV). Before that he worked as a reporter and on the editorial staff of various German broadcasters. He started his journalistic career as a freelance writer for the daily newspaper WAZ and the weekly paper DIE ZEIT.

Jan Tenhaven’s many filming and research trips have given him extensive international experience, such as in Singapore and the USA, and he was also an official participant in the Discovery Campus Masterschool 2007 (now known as the Documentary Campus).

Genre Society, Sports, Drama
Category Documentary
Year of Production 2010
Director Jan Tenhaven
Screenplay Jan Tenhaven
Cinematography Marcus Winterbauer
Juergen Winkelblech
Andy Baum
Producers Christian Beetz, Johannes Rosenberger
Production Company gebrueder beetz filmproduktion, in co-production with Navigator Film
 German, English, Italian, Czech
Shooting Dates Kiel, Foehr, Brescia, Vienna, Stockholm, Hradec Kralove, Lahti, June – August 2009
Festivals Hot Docs 2010, RIDM Montreal 2010, IDFA Amsterdam 2010, Guangzhou International Documentary Festival 2010, Palm Springs 2011, Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival 2011, One World Prague 2011 (Opening Film), DOKU ART Croatia 2011, Cleveland 2011, Planete Doc Warsaw 2011
Awards Filmmakers Award Hot Docs 2010, Doc U Award IDFA Amsterdam 2010, Grand Prize of the Jury Guangzhou 2010, Vsem Audience Award One World Prague 2011
With backing from Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, Oesterreichisches Filminstitut
German Distributor Neue Visionen Filmverleih

gebrueder beetz filmproduktion