ORF “Universum” History offers an exceptional line-up of blue-chip documentaries exploring the thrilling tales of piracy on the high seas to the intricate stories of the Austrian monarchy. 

LA ROCHELLE / VIENNA – At the 35th edition of Sunny Side of the Doc ORF-Enterprise held another edition of the ORF Apéro and showcased their latest “Universum” History highlights. The presentation captivated the attention and received widespread acclaim from the international specialist audience.

ORF-Enterprise’s international content sales team, led by Armin Luttenberger, successfully piqued the interest of industry experts with new ORF “Universum” History highlights at the popular aperitif. This year, the much anticipated documentaries, which have been presenting and explaining historical events and personalities in an informative and entertaining way for over ten years, garnered significant attention. 


“Our history does not stop at national borders; it is intertwined with major global events. We collaborate with international partners to explore a diverse array of topics and themes. Through this approach, we not only bring Austrian history to the forefront for international viewers but also delve into broader, global historical phenomena. By examining these subjects from multiple perspectives, we aim to provide our audience with a comprehensive understanding of the major historical turning points that have shaped our world”, says Caroline Haidacher, Head of ORF “Universum” History.


“With ‘Universum’, Austria has made a name for itself in the world of TV documentaries for over 30 years. The demand from broadcasters and streaming providers worldwide for these high-gloss productions remains high. ORF and ORF-Enterprise are a sought-after partner for co-productions and a reliable supplier of content in the highest quality segment. Especially in turbulent times marked by multiple crises, ORF ‘Universum’ History makes an important contribution to understanding and learning from human history”, adds Armin Luttenberger, Head of Content Sales International, ORF-Enterprise.


“Universum” History put this year’s focus on two brand-new documentaries exploring the forgotten and adventurous lives of pirates. In “Pirates of the Mediterranean – A Game of Greed and Power”, viewers are transported back to the 16th century, following the journey of Balthasar Stürmer, a German merchant’s son turned Christian corsair. The documentary takes on a modern twist when marine archaeologist Timmy Gambin and his team from the University of Malta discover a 16th-century shipwreck, shedding light on the largely unknown history of piracy and slavery in the Mediterranean, a time when human trafficking was governed by law for power and personal gain.

The history of the often-overlooked female pirates is explored in “Women Pirates – Rebels of the Seas” where the lives of four extraordinary 18th-century pirate women are brought to the forefront. These women defied the patriarchal and colonial Western powers to lead adventurous lives in the Caribbean. The documentary reveals the secret lives of Frenchwoman Marie-Anne Dieu-Le-Veut, the Queen of the Freebooters of Santo Domingo, Englishwoman Mary Read, the fierce Ann Bonny, and Louise Antonini.


In addition to tales of piracy, “Universum” History also highlights the stories of women and the LGBTQIA+ community in their documentaries “Rebellion in the Brothel – Trafficking Women Around 1900” and “Pride and Persecution”. Both documentaries offer a fresh perspective on the past and seek to bring marginalized voices to the forefront.

“Universum” History also covers the darker aspects of European history with two thought-provoking documentaries, “European Downfall – The Tragedy of Emperor Franz Joseph” and “Maria Theresa’s Dark Side – The Expulsion of the Jews from Prague”. The former investigates the political turmoil and personal struggles of Franz Joseph’s reign while the latter recounts the religious persecution and expulsion of Jews under Maria Theresa’s rule.

About ORF-Enterprise

ORF-Enterprise's Content Sales International serves as preferred partner for broadcasters and platforms around the world as a one-stop-shop for high quality content offering a wide range of titles from all genres: Blue-Chip Documentaries, TV-Series and Movies, Children's Programs, Music as well as scripted and non-scripted Formats.

ORF-Enterprise is the Austrian Public Broadcaster’s exclusive marketer for advertising in all ORF media.

The portfolio comprises four national television stations, three national radio stations, Austria’s leading website ORF.at and the On-Demand Service ORF ON as well as the magazine ORF nachlese and ORF TELETEXT.

ORF-Enterprise’s activities also include a music library and publishing house.

The program catalog targets the international television and media industry, comprising TV, VOD, DVD and ancillary rights of ORF's documentaries, TV series and movies, children's shows and music programs.

A powerful presence at the annual well-known fairs MIPTV, MIPCOM, Sunny Side of the Doc, NATPE Budapest and Avant Première is part of our daily routine.

The whole selection of the programs distributed by ORF-Enterprise can be found easily on our website. Here you get detailed information such as cast, synopsis, awards as well as important technical details at any time.

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Mail: contentsales@orf.at