In 2017, a documentary film ‘Monaco: Back To The Future’ was aired on Ushuaïa TV, a channel dedicated to the environment which is part of France TV media giant TF1. Directed by Christine Oberdorff, a passionate journalist, presenter and special investigations envoy for Ushuaïa TV around the world, the film pays tribute to Monaco’s Princes long lasting personal engagement for ground breaking technologies and human adventures.
From the launching of a blimp from Monaco’s shores to a prototype helicopter lifted off the ground in Monaco in the early 20th century, the film also recounts modern saga like the Solar Impulse adventure, and the development of Venturi electric vehicles and the hydrogen ship ‘Energy Observer’ set to complete its tour of France in Monaco.
The documentary saw a resounding success in Monaco and in France, as it showed how the Principality of Monaco is one of the world’s epicentres for technological innovation. The film was part of the line up at the first-ever Monaco Film Festival in Singapore, graced by Christine herself, who presented her movie at the festival’s Gala Evening.
We caught up with Christine during her sojourn in Singapore to find out about her experiences learning about the great technological adventures initiated or supported by Monaco in the last 100 years, including her up-close and personal interview with HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco.
OUT OF SO MANY OTHER SUITABLE COUNTRIES FOR YOUR DOCUMENTARY, WHY MONACO IN PARTICULAR?
I was actually visiting the Centre for Automotive Research of the University of Ohio in USA, where the Venturi Buckeye Bullet electric car was built. I was impressed by this ambitious and ground-breaking program, but more so that it came from Monaco – I wondered how a 700-year-old country with traditional and royal institutions was involved in this. I learned that Venturi is an electric automobile and motor manufacturer based in Monaco, and is also a close environmental ally of the Prince who sponsored the research that led to the car’s development.
Thus, it gave me the idea to research and better understand the reason behind Monaco’s attraction for new technologies since the reign of Prince Albert I, who was one of the founders of Oceanography in the 1900s. This film is special to me because it is based on scientific facts of the past, on current developments and projections into the future.
WHAT MAKES MONACO SO SPECIAL FOR YOU?
This goes back to 2010 when I did my first film on the preservation of the oceans, a subject which the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation had been addressing for more than 4 years then. I went back again later to research about Jacques Cousteau, famous French filmmaker and oceanographer who was also the Director General of Monaco’s Oceanographic Museum for 3 decades. Then, I went back to cover the Venturi inventions and later again to shoot for “Monaco: Back to the Future” …
Along the way I was really captivated by Monaco. I got rid of my own prejudices about the Principality which sadly, too many – who have never visited – also have. Indeed, Monaco is a country with high-level services, high standard of living, enviable security and a country producing aggressive efforts towards sustainable development, right across the board.
Moreover, I discovered that Prince Albert II’s voice on the international scene – in the international conferences on climate change or through His dialogues with other heads of States – is way more audible than the smallness of Monaco would suggest. In fact, Monaco has a relatively powerful voice on the international scene and I found that quite fascinating. All in all, the relationship between Monaco and myself is now made of affection, respect and fascination.
WHAT IS YOUR NEXT PROJECT, CHRISTINE?
I have finished working on the film ‘Le Prince et La Mer’ (The Prince and The Sea) for Ushuaïa TV. (The film has premiered in Monaco and the TV network in December 2017) For this film, I followed the first stage of the world voyage of “The Yersin”, Monaco’s Oceanographic ship which set off in July 2017 to Macaronesia in the Atlantic Ocean.
The focus was to study biodiversity and mega fauna, marking for data collection, extracting environmental DNA, and developing a deeper understanding of the chemical and biological effects of global warming. HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco agreed to “co-enact”, alongside me, this first memorial trip in the footsteps of his great-great-grandfather the Oceanographer Prince Albert I. I am very excited to present another side of Monaco to audiences worldwide.