Private Project

Moonwatcher: A Personal Odyssey

The 81-minutes documentary Moonwatcher: A Personal Odyssey describes the transformative life story of Dan Richter and the impact he and his peers had on generations to come. He worked with the most creative and influential minds of his time such as Stanley Kubrick, John Lennon, Yoko Ono and Allen Ginsberg. Stanley Kubrick gave him the job of choreographer for the opening scene of 2001: A Space Odyssey, which catapulted him into respectable fame in the international art scene in the late 60s. Together with each of his collaborators, their actions were not just about art, but mainly about the transformation of society and self. They passionately set out to break all chains of the old and move into uncharted territory of the philosophical unknown. The most striking example was the transformation of John Lennon from the most famous rock star into a serious peace activist thanks to his lover Yoko Ono, who surrounded herself with old friends like Dan Richter, his wife Jill and the Avant-garde and intellectual elite of New York and London to facilitate the cause. The film features their efforts through intimate interviews and a variety of materials and relevant documents. But the movement was endangered and ultimately stopped by the dark forces of their souls. As the hippie movement began as a feast of love and peace, Dan and his peers moved deeper and deeper into the radical drug underground and political divide. The film describes his personal alienation from everything, pivoting in a desolate decade living in the infamous Chelsea Hotel in New York City and his constant search for a meaning in life. Many of his companions are dead, and a whole Hippie generation is shattered. But he overcame his addiction through connecting to nature, cultivating new passions like teaching rock- climbing and opting for the road to recovery and conciliation with friends and family.

  • Hans Pfleiderer
  • Hans Pfleiderer
  • Daniel Richter
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 21 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    December 3, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    125,000 EUR
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
    Germany, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom, United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
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  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Hans Pfleiderer

Hans Pfleiderer holds a degree in architecture from the Technical University of Berlin and has worked prior to film as an award-winning architect in Germany. This was followed by a degree in production design from the American Film Institute, assisting the legendary Oscar-honoree Robert F. Boyle and his work in Hollywood as a production designer, visual effects supervisor, producer and director. Highlights included his collaboration on Oscar-nominated Man On Lincoln's Nose, David Fincher's Panic Room, Steven Spielberg's Minority Report and James Cameron’s deep sea exploration Ghosts of the Abyss. He won the LA WEEKLY Theater Award for stage design, worked extensively as technical director in Live Entertainment and produced a number of documentaries for cinema and German National Television, including the epic work Moonwatcher: A Personal Odyssey, which was completed this year. In the role of project manager he worked for many years for ARRI - Arnold Richter Cine Technik implementing new technologies on international entertainment projects. He is most proud of the Astana Media Center in the capital of Kazakhstan, which was the first television studio in the world to use LED lighting and ACN-networking technology. Other accomplishments included Broadcast systems for ABS-CBN Manila Philippines, Ashgabat Olympic Complex and Kuwait TV. His recent Filmmaking Masterclass Tour led to Chennai/India, Bukarest/Romania, Abuja/Nigeria, Astana-Almaty/Kazakhstan and Baghdad/Iraq. In 2021 he founded the innovation consulting firm IndEx - Independent Experts fostering new technologies in the entertainment industry.

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Director Statement

I went on a similarly adventurous odyssey to produce this documentary. At the beginning of this catastrophic year in 2001 (9/11), I met Dan Richter for the first time in Hollywood and we had lunch. Intrigued by his charm and amused by his anecdotes, I had no idea what to expect: I set out on an arduous journey that would take two decade through the unpredictable lulls and storms of the creative process, the desert of an empty purse, and lead along the subterranean streams of human destiny. Driven by an insatiable thirst for reality, my protagonists transported me to a truth that would cathartically change Dan Richter, his family and, ultimately, me. It is my wish that the public should be equally touched by these sincere confessions and honest dealings with an epoch that upset the whole world.