In 1952, the recently state-owned Film studio of the German Democratic Republic, DEFA (Deutsche Film-Aktiengesellschaft) commissioned silhouette filmmaker Bruno J. Böttge to create a short animation experiment based on the comics of Zacharias by Harri Parschau. This experiment initiated production of animation film in the GDR. The animation was used for internal use and not broadcast outside of studio in Halle, East Germany. The animation is one of only a few missing from the DEFA archive, the entry listed on the DEFA website notes:
Böttge not only directed, but also wrote the book and stood at the camera. The film was one of the early anti-West propaganda films; “Anton listens to the radio. He turns on the RIAS transmitter*, listens and is amazed. In the process, his dog’s ears grow.”
*Rundfunk im amerikanischen Sektor was a popular radio station transmitting pro-West and pro-US into East Berlin.
ZachaRIAS is an attempt to remake the lost film and was produced in the artists’ home during the first month of Covid lockdown in spring 2020.
Soundstripes, Yorkshire Silent Film Festival, Sheffield. August 2021