High-tech on Humps

High-tech on Humps

High-tech on Humps Camel Stories from Qatar

Dokumentation // ZDF / ARTE 2006, 43 min., Digibeta

In Qatar there are no children on dromedary backs anymore but robotic riders. The little Emirate on the Persian Golf has pushed forward the development of the robots on a professional basis for years. Millions of dollars were invested and more and more advanced models were tested. Now the final solution appears to have been found; a mere 4 kg heavy robot whose whip is remotely controlled and whose vocal encouragements come from speakers. This is a revolution for the traditional camel races and a step into the future.

The government subsidizes the races and promotes them as part of the national heritage and for the cultural identity. Slowly the uneasiness grows that old values could be lost in the state's break-neck speed to modernity. The racing camels of today are unrecognizable from the undemanding desert animals of old. These new camels are long-legged, skinny as greyhounds, racing with 40 kph (25 mph) along the track - 10 km within minutes, bred to win.

The documentary shows, besides many faces around the often-quoted desert strip, an emerging Arabic state. The races are an example for a society that is about to overtake itself with its own speed.

Nominated for: NaturVision - International Nature and Wildlife Film Festival

Writer and Director: Antje Christ
Camera: Martin Christ
Sound: Joachim Köhler
Editing: Jens Gronheid
Music: Karl-Heinz Blomann · Claas Hanson
Production: Antje Christ
Commissioning editor: Linde Dehner

Photos © Antje Christ

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