German Dynasties: The Furtwänglers

ARD/WDR, 2015, 43 min.

Maria Furtwängler’s surname has sometimes been a burden to her. After all, the Furtwänglers have produced an outstanding archaeologist and a brilliant musician, as well as actors, architects and film directors. Today, she considers it a responsibility and a challenge to be a part of this dynasty. The family motto seems to be “Ever more and ever better”. The Furtwänglers have been a dazzling German dynasty of poets, philosophers and artists for more than four generations. Maria’s family tree is impressive and complicated. Her mother, Katrin Ackermann, is the step-daughter, Maria’s father, Bernhard Furtwängler, a direct nephew of the famous conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler.

The documentary accompanies the family through two exciting centuries; among others, the musician Daniel Barenboim reminisces about his great role model Wilhelm Furtwängler, whom he met in person just before his death. Most of all, however, Elisabeth and Wilhelm Furtwängler’s children Andreas Furtwängler, Kathrin Ackermann and Christoph Ackermann offer an exclusive glimpse of family life in this German dynasty. We accompany Maria Furtwängler during her everyday life between acting, charity work and political activism. The screenwriter Jobst Knigge reports on one of the most exciting dynasties in Germany.

Written and directed by: Jobst Knigge
Camera: Stefan Paul, Jan Kerhart
Editor: Robert Bohrer
Production: Sandra Šamec
Producer: Nadja Frenz
Editorial: Christiane Hinz (WDR)
Executive producers: Sandra Maischberger, Matthias Martens