Off the western coast of Papua New Guinea lies a mysterious archipelago: Raja Ampat. It is home to a few island people and to rare tree-kangaroos and colourful birds of paradise. Here, in the middle of what is called the "Coral Triangle", the South Seas hold a treasure which was discovered only recently. It appears that nowhere else in the expanses of the oceans is there such a rich variety of marine species as in the waters of Raja Ampat. Many of these species are still completely unknown.
It was not until 2001 that some renowned scientists from Conservation International ventured into the coral reefs of the archipelago - and made some sensational discoveries. Here, in an area not much bigger than Denmark, they came across more species of fish and corals than there are in the entire Caribbean. Raja Ampat - which means "Realm of the Four Kings" - houses types of fish not to be found anywhere else in the world. These endemic species include, for instance, the walking shark, a small creature that uses its fins to move along the sea floor. Following its discovery in 2006, the walking shark made Raja Ampat the focus of attention from the international media.
Rolf Möltgen set out on an adventure: for four months, he and his camera accompanied marine biologists, nature conservationists and fishermen through the island world of Raja Ampat. His quest was to find out just why such a wealth of different species have gathered here and so many new ones have evolved in this particular spot.
Director: Rolf J. Möltgen
Rolf Möltgen (age 60) became a trained electronic technician after attending the university of applied sciences in Bonn. 1964 he obtained an apprenticeship as cameraman at Studio-Rheinfilm in Bonn. In the same year he made his first underwater movie depicting the life of Greek fisherman and sponge divers.
His later topics range from action features to protection of endangered species, from behavioural sciences to pure adventure. Many of his interesting titles were featured on WDR, Arte, ZDF and SAT1, and partly adopted by BBC and National Geographic. Der Berg der Haie was featured on last year's festival program and was nominated for the award of Best Marine Film 2009.