ORF-Enterprise is thrilled to announce that the documentary film, "The Dark Secret of Mr. Paganini," has been honored with the “Czech Television Prize” award at the 60th Edition of the Golden Prague Festival.

Prague/Vienna – On September 20th, 2023, the annual festival opened its doors for the 60th time. The Golden Prague Festival has been a fixture in the world of television and theater for decades, showcasing the best in dance, drama, music documentaries, concert recordings, and stage productions.

The Awards Ceremony Gala took place at the New Stage of the National Theatre and was broadcasted by the Czech Television. A five-member jury had chosen the best works from films submitted by producers and television companies from around the whole world.


One of them being “The Dark Secret of Mr. Paganini”, which has won the Czech Television Prize. Representing ORF-Enterprise, Marion Camus-Oberdorfer, Director of Acquisitions & Distribution Investment, accepted the prize on behalf of ORF, ARTE and Felix Breisach Medienwerkstatt together with ORF TV’s Head of Culture, Martin Traxl.


The jury's statement: "The film represents an exciting, revelatory, but also hugely entertaining journey in search of what makes the sound of old violins and other string instruments unique – a secret ultimately hidden not so much in their wood but, rather surprisingly, in the material used for their strings, which comes from animals, and the method by which these strings are manufactured. For centuries, this was an anxiously guarded secret; the makers of this film have found a captivating way how to let their audience peek behind the curtain.”

Martin Traxl, Head of Culture TV, ORF: "Herbert Eisenschenk has managed to distil an exciting thriller from a music-historical detail: a story about money and the thirst for recognition and the passionate search for the perfect sound. An example of how universal music documentaries can be. A fine success - at the anniversary edition of the Golden Prague Festival, of all places. Congratulations to the director, producer Felix Breisach and our music editors!"


Producer Felix Breisach: "What a pleasure to win a prize for a cultural documentary at such an important festival as 'Golden Prague'! The recognition for the direction of Herbert Eisenschenk, is at the same time recognition for the great performance of the whole team!"


Oliver Böhm, Managing Director, ORF-Enterprise: “Our mission is to showcase the diversity of filmmaking worldwide. This well-deserved award encourages us in our work and commitment to high quality factual content and I would like to congratulate the involved creatives, broadcasters and funding partners.”


Armin Luttenberger, Head of Department Content Sales International, ORF-Enterprise: "We congratulate the filmmakers and all co-production partners who participated in this thrilling documentary. We are honored to serve as the worldwide distributor and invite viewers all over the world to explore the secrets behind the perfect sound of string instruments."


Marion Camus-Oberdorfer, Director Acquisitions & Distribution Investment, ORF-Enterprise: “Our success as distributor significantly relies on the quality of productions we are able to curate for our rich catalog. I would like to congratulate the awarded creators and co-production partners and express my thanks for the trusting cooperation.”

About  “The Dark Secret of Mr. Paganini”


The film delves into the enigmatic world of the renowned composer and violin virtuoso Niccolò Paganini, whose performances in the early 19th century left an indelible mark on music history. Paganini's fame and wealth were attributed not only to his unparalleled musical talent but also to a hidden wooden box that accompanied him on his European travels. Within this box lay a secret that would forever change the course of music.

During the 19th century, the "Italian strings," known as "Quelli con il suono divino - those with the divine sound," were revered for their unique vibration and sonic qualities. The Vatican maintained strict control over the production of these strings in remote Abruzzo mountain villages, determining which musicians were "worthy" of using them. Protestant artists were blacklisted, forcing them to rely on Paganini's clandestine supply.

The documentary culminated in a profound realization: the allure of this string sound lies in the interplay of human imperfection and the completeness of nature, where perfection became undesirable.


"The Dark Secret of Mr. Paganini" is a co-production by ORF, ARTE and Felix Breisach Medienwerkstatt funded by Austrian Television Fund and VAM, distributed worldwide by ORF-Enterprise.

About ORF-Enterprise


As a marketing subsidiary of ORF, ORF-Enterprise is exclusively responsible for marketing the leading Austrian media group’s entire national media output. The portfolio includes four television stations (ORF 1, ORF 2, ORF III Kultur und Information, ORF SPORT +), three national radio stations (Ö1, Hitradio Ö3, radio FM4), the print magazine ORF nachlese, the entire digital output on ORF.at, ORF-TVthek and ORF-Radiothek as well as ORF TELETEXT. The Content Sales International and Licensing and Media Cooperations division licences ORF content and brands worldwide. ORF-Enterprise operates its own music publishing house ORF-Enterprise Musikverlag as well as its own record label. The company is the national representative of leading international creative festivals such as Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity and organiser of national advertising prizes such as ORF-TOP SPOT, ORF-WERBEHAHN and ORF-ONWARD. The management consists of Oliver Böhm (CEO, advertising marketing, content exploitation) and Heinz Mosser (finance and administration, music publishing & label, sound & vision, ORF nachlese). ORF-Enterprise is a 100 percent subsidiary of the ORF media group. More information at https://enterprise.ORF.at, https://contentsales.ORF.at and https://musikverlag.ORF.at


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