Return to Europe. Croatia, Moldova

Directors: Fritz Ofner, Gerald Knaus
Publisher: NGF Geyrhalterfilm/ORF, Vienna
Content: 1 DVD (104 min.)
ISBN: 9-006472-022923
Year: 2012

In 2008, around four million viewers followed the TV documentary series Return to Europe (German title: Balkan Express) on ten countries of Southern Europe on ORF and 3Sat. Now, the documentary series, which was initiated by ERSTE Foundation in cooperation with the European Stability Initiative (ESI), continues with two new episodes.

Croatia, Europe and the Twilight of Heroes focuses on the dramatic developments of the young republic since the death of its first president, Franjo Tudjman, in December 1999. Based on the rise and fall of their (war) heroes – from Tudjman to Gotovina – the film illustrates the frantic process of change in a country. The episode Moldova – Lost in Transition portrays a country that is considered to be the poorest in Europe, and struggles for an identity between Europe and Russia. The film gives a fascinating insight into a rich and traditional culture that is little known outside its borders.

Return to Europe is one of the most ambitious TV projects on South Eastern Europe produced in recent years. It gives people who have contributed to the region’s progress since the mid-1990s the opportunity to comment on their present situation: artists, lawyers, journalists, activists, mayors and football players tell their version of the story. With powerful images, these ten 52-minute episodes provide a new perspective on the present and possible future of the region.

This publication is available at ERSTE Foundation Library.

Florian Bauer

Director Social Finance, Sustainability and Innovation
Since 2023, Florian Bauer has been responsible for social finance, sustainability and social innovation at ERSTE Foundation. Prior to this role, Florian worked in the NGO & Social Entrepreneurship sector for more than 13 years. He led the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), an international multilateral NGO that works to accelerate market-based deployment of renewable energy and energy efficient systems in developing countries, and was Managing Director & COO of the Impact Hub Vienna. From 2020-2023, Florian established strategic alliances with key partners and helped to create innovative semantic technology solutions at Semantic Web Company (SWC), a leading IT company in semantic AI solutions.