Always close to the action: Sibylle Tiessen and cameraman Agusti Torres during filming in Palma, in front of the Art Nouveau bakery in Carrer Unió. | Patricia Lozano

Nature and the people. These are the two things that have mostly captivated the German television journalist Sibylle Tiessen in Mallorca. Since the 1990s, Munich-born Sibylle has been spending longer and longer periods of time on the island several times a year. She has her husband to thank for her love of Mallorca. “We spent our holidays in his family’s holiday home in Canyamel. You can’t grasp exactly what magic the island has. But the spark definitely was lit,” she explains.

Over the years, she got to know the island not only as a tourist but also more and more from the perspective of the local people. “Mallorca is so much more than sun and beach. Also, the people are creative and authentic. The locals here have so many good ideas and projects.”

For more than 30 years, Sibylle Tiessen has been tackling socially relevant topics and portraying people. Over the years, the Munich-based filmmaker has made two 30-minute documentaries about Mallorca for Swiss television SRF and 3sat. These are films that depict the islanders’ point of view and the reality of life. The first documentary “Mallorca and Mass Tourism: An Island at the Limit” was released in 2017. At that time, Sibylle addressed the issue of mass tourism, which has been steadily growing since the 1960s. She let residents have their say and showed the problems of the inhabitants. She later filmed her second documentary “Mysterious Underworld: The Cave Explorers of Mallorca” together with them. The documentary accompanies the cave divers and sheds light on their surprising finds in the undersea world.

Over the past few years, in conversations with people, it came up again and again how unfortunate it was that far too little was really known about the real Mallorca and the local people. So the idea was born to present the Mallorcans and their projects in the form of video portraits. In order to do this, Sibylle brought cameraman Agustí Torres on board, she having met him during the filming of her first island documentary. In total, the Mallorcan has worked as a cameraman, director and producer on more than 300 documentaries for television. Torres is also responsible for the cinematography for numerous short feature films, some of which, such as “La mano invisible” (The Invisible Hand) by Marco Antonio Robledo and Roda de Mirades by Joan Mallarach, have won international awards.

A well-rehearsed team: TV journalist Sibylle Tiessen and cameraman Agustí Torres have been working together for several years.
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Together, Agustí and Sibylle Tiessen are also working closely together on the current film project. “My goal is to build a bridge between Mallorcans and holidaymakers. The viewer should get a better understanding of the mentality and the special character of the locals, their current situation and their cultural characteristics. The everyday problems on the island should also be brought closer to the viewer,” says Sibylle.

Every two weeks, different personalities from different sectors of the economy are portrayed. The first is Juana Verger, an entrepreneur who is committed to the production and distribution of the “super fruit carob”. Other main characters in the first season include Marcial Bardolet, who campaigns for seaweed off the Balearic coast; Amador Bernat, train driver of the Soller Train tourist attraction; Catalina Aguiló from the aid organisation Mallorca Sense Fam (Mallorca without Hunger); and Marina Planas, director of the cultural centre Casa Planas in Palma. The film project is supported by the German tourism group Tui and the Tui Care Foundation (see below).

Last but not least, the series is intended to help replace the image of the pure tourist island with a different image of Mallorca and its residents that takes in social, artistic, ecological, scientific and political aspects.

Cooperation with TUI

Support from the tourism industry: The project is sponsored by Europe’s leading tourism group Tui and its Tui Care Foundation. The initiative was founded in 2016 with the aim of supporting sustainable projects in destinations. The foundation focuses on the potential of the tourism sector as a driver for social development, education and prosperity. The group promotes sustainable tourism in cooperation with local people.