Tracking in ruins – the steel mill of Maxhütte

A 45-minute documentary for MDR broadcasting

These are the first impressions of the shooting at the Maxhütte Unterwellenborn. In the old centre for gas machines, the so-called "Gasmaschinenzentrale" – a hall 111 metres long, 27 metres high and 32 metres wide – there are humongous gas machine turbines. In the past they let the air vibrate at a noise of 110 decibel. With a crane the cameraman Jörg Junge and his assistant Christian Klar floated through the hall. It was an impressive scene for interviews and atmospheric pictures – all this at an average temperature of 10 degrees Celsius. It seems almost unbelievable, that during our shootings in October we had to go outside in order to warm up. On the other hand: When we shooted at the today's steel mill, we were hit by the high temperature of 40 degrees Celsius. Glowing steel, dreadful noise and incredible pictures of long liquid steel girders. Moving stories of people who spent their life at the Maxhütte; of women who, after the war, worked as hard as men; of frozen ore trains from India that had to be chipped free during winter times; of forbidden songs and theatre plays in the former "Kulturpalast", whose luxurious hall fit over 800 people. Old 16-mm-films from the former film studio of the factory from 1951 up to the early 1980s. A story about the rise and fall of the GDR, about a pictorial landscape influenced by steel and the life of the people working in the steel mill "Maxhütte".

Editorial Department: Geschichte und Gesellschaft (MDR)
A film by Anna Schmidt
Authors: Anna Schmidt, Dirk Schneider
Camera: Jörg Junge, Matthias Müller
Sound: Kai Jüttner,Christian Carl, Dominik Sroka
Cutting: Mario Biehl