1968 – The Awakening

An emotional journey to the year that changed our history and set the ground for today’s globalization and modern society

• A multi-layered, global perspective on the period of 1968 – Western and Eastern Europe, USA, South America, Asia, Middle East, Africa
• Covering the relevant topics from civil rights and student protests, Cold War, economy and technology, to pop culture, free love and religion
• Covering the major historical events of the period 1967 to 1969
• Told in a subjective, emotional way through eye witnesses, and iconic family stories
• Told from today’s perspective, questioning whether the 1968 generation really changed the world


  • 06/2016 - 1968 - The Awakening

    “1968 – The Awakening” just won the Archive Award by Sonuma – Les archives audiovisuelles at Sunny Side of the Doc History Pitch! On [...]

    "1968 - The Awakening" just won the Archive Award by Sonuma - Les archives audiovisuelles at Sunny Side of the Doc History Pitch! On stage our producer Zora Nessl together with our coproducers Olivier Mille, Kristian Mosvold and Fernando De Souza Dias.

1968 – The Awakening

In 2018 we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of the most discussed historical events of the 20th century: the cultural and political revolution of 1968. It was a revolution that was not merely taking place in Western Europe or the U.S., but almost simultaneously in Eastern Europe, Asia, South America, and to a minor extent also in the Middle East and in Africa.

Today it is a common notion that the ‘68 revolution has changed the world and the societies we live in. The ’68 generation overcame borders and limits in many ways: they gained civil rights for minorities, ended wars and changed the way we live, love, and raise our children.

Their “march through the institutions” brought them to leading positions in politics, culture, and economy. But what became of their ideals?

Today, 50 years later, soldiers still die in proxy wars in exotic countries – not in Vietnam, but in Syria or Afghanistan. Race discrimination in the US has reached a new level: in 2015 almost 300 black Americans died from police bullets – an all time high. Women are still paid less and are underrepresented in high positions. Underground culture got commercialized, and hacker culture developed to be the New Economy. Inequality continues its relentless rise across the globe: today 1% of the world population owns more than the other 99%, a sad record and unfortunately not the only one: due to the continuing climate change, 2015 was the hottest year ever on record.

What went wrong? Did the members of the ‘68 generation actually change the world, or did they fail? And how do their children and grandchildren deal with their legacy?

The series explores the actual influence of the year 1968 on the present by looking back on the major historic events of that time: the bloody invasion by Warsaw pact troops of Prague; the Tet offensive during the Vietnam war, the six-day-war in the middle East and the death of Che Guevara; the assassination of Martin Luther King, and Malcom X; the feminist protest at the Miss America beauty contest; the release of the Beatles’ legendary “White Album”; bloody student riots in Japan; the highly politicized Summer Olympics in Mexico City with the Tlatelolco Square massacre with 300 students killed in Mexico, and the legendary Black Power salute by two black American athletes at the medal awarding; the start of the Apollo 8 moon mission, and the maiden flight of the first 747 “Jumbo Jet”. The first ever heart transplantation, and the launch of the ARPANET that should later become the internet. The Summer of Love, Woodstock, and the premiere of the rock musical “Hair”. Star Trek airs American television’s first interracial kiss, and the first sex scene comes to the big screen in Vietnam. And, of course, students and workers protest all over the globe on May Day.

Archive footage from public and private sources, photos, Super-8 material, and the music of the time we will revive the spirit of the time. Interviews with eye witnesses, well-known personalities, and ordinary people with extraordinary stories bring these historical events back to live, while we avoid any collective hero-worship as much as collective bashing.

The stories of extraordinary families are the emotional vehicle for the TV series “1968 – The Awakening” to travel back in time to the year 1968, reflecting its influence from the standpoint of three generations: the eye-witnesses and iconic characters of ‘68, their children born around 1968, and their grandchildren, representing the youth of today. Some of them follow the ideals of their parents; some of them are critical of their legacy.

From his high-school sweetheart Chris Anne Brennan and their daughter Lisa we learn of Steve Jobs’ link to ‘68, his hippie lifestyle, and his love story with Joan Baez. The accounts of his granddaughter Marcia let us discover the extraordinary family story of Chilean president Salvador Allende. What are the thoughts on free love and drugs of financial journalist Nick Dunbar, whose mother Marianne Faithfull lost custody due to her drug addiction? Family stories of Steve Biko, South African leader of the Black Consciousness Movement, of the glamorous Vietnamese actress Than Thuy Hang, face of the Vietnamese cultural revolution of 1968, or Nazi hunter Beate Klarsfeld make the series a global, contemporary account of the legacy of the whole generation.

An extensive web project, and a book will act as additional channels to help reach a large audience.


ZDF arte


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