Ora et labora – The Pöppelmann Enterprise

punktfilm Anna Ditges, 2011

Poster Image


Small and medium-sized enterprises are generally regarded as the most important providers for economic stability and sustainability. However, the businesses themselves are present neither at the stock market nor in the media, and they tend to keep their business conduct within a small circle of insiders. “ORA ET LABORA – The Pöppelmann Enterprise“ is a portrait of one of the many middle-market companies in Germany. Offering both a representative example and a uniquely personal account, the film recounts the great achievements and bitter set-backs that have shaped the Pöppelmann enterprise; it tells of the founders’ tireless efforts during the years of economic boom, and of the faith in God that determines the everyday life in the company to this day. Holy water on injection molding machines, universal remedies from “God’s Pharmacy”, fasting cures and the Lord’s Prayer for the executives… “ORA ET LABORA – The Pöppelmann Enterprise” is an extraordinary documentary about an extraordinary family business. In carefully observant images and interviews, Anna Ditges provides an insight into the everyday life and the self-conception of people who have dedicated their lives to the Pöppelmann enterprise. It soon turns out that the founding family has paid a high price for the company’s success...


„As a film-maker, I was attracted to the idea of making a documentary film about a complex system like a company, a system entirely unfamiliar to me. The challenge consisted, first of all, in finding an approach to it – emotionally, thematically, and artistically. During my first research trips to Pöppelmann I asked everybody there the same question: What makes this company, of all companies, something really special? Time and again, I got the same answer: the Pöppelmann spirit. Indeed, it turned out that the late founders, Josef and Gertrud Pöppelmann, have remained very much alive in the company. To me, their presence was still perceptible all over the place: in the offices, in the corridors, in the halls, even in every machine. That’s why I began to look into Mr and Mrs Pöppelmann’s life story. Fairly soon, however, I came across a sore spot: the suicide of Josef Pöppelmann. It is a sad chapter of the family history, and I tried to deal with it in a discreet and respectful way. In the process, Maria Apel – the family spokeswoman – was a great help to me, as she continued to stick up for the project’s artistic freedom. I am very glad to say that the outcome of these one and a half years of intense debate and combined efforts is a film that both members of the family and of the company can relate to.” (Anna Ditges)


Screenwriter and Director:
Anna Ditges
Stefanie Gartmann
Film Editor:
Anna Ditges
Assistant Editor:
Caroline Cochius
2nd Assistant Editor:
Isabelle Wilhelm
Sound Design and Mixing:
Roland Platz
Graphic Design:
Eva Weissenberg
Colour Correction:
Ulrich Esser
Unit Manager:
Doris Böckmann
Editorial Assistant:
Tanja Weber
Gunar Wardenbach and Bernd Pick
Bonus Film:
“AUF NACH ROM” | music: Heiko Mlodystach, spektralfabrik
Thanks to:
All staff members of the Pöppelmann Group, the Pöppelmann family

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