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Documentary, 90 min. (in post-production)

Until recently, charcoal burning was a widespread practice in Europe. In Switzerland, the production of charcoal supplied an important source of income for people in the woodland regions of the Jura, the Ticino, and around Mount Napf. Today, Western European charcoal burning is practiced almost exclusively in a museum setting – except in one region: in the woods around Bramboden, in Switzerland’s Entlebuch valley, charcoal burning is still practiced commercially. In 2011, the UNESCO has recognized “charcoal burning in the Entlebuch valley” as an important element of Switzerland’s intangible cultural heritage.

Wearing heavy rubber boots, Fränz Röösli climbs atop his charcoal pile and starts poking holes into what he calls the “Grind” – the “head” or dome of the pile, which reaches four meters above ground. White smoke rises from the holes, curling around the charcoal burner to the whims of the wind before it is carried off into the dark of night. In calm, stunning images, the documentary “Köhlernächte” by Robert Müller draws the viewer into the archaic world of commercial charcoal burning in Switzerland’s Napf region.


Script & Direction                                 Robert Müller
Camera                                                Pio Corradi, Robert Müller
2nd Camera                                         Luzius Wespe
Music                                                   Fritz Hauser
Cut                                                       Kathrin Plüss, Mirella Nüesch
Sound                                                  Thomas Gassmann, Simon Graf, Salome Wüllner
Soundmix                                             Guido Keller
Sounddesign                                        Guido Keller, Thomas Gassmann
Color Grading                                      Ueli Nüesch
Producer                                              Carola Kutzner
Co-Producer                                        SRF Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen, Urs Augstburger