Carl Djerassi – father of the pill

Director: Eberhard Büssem
Running time: 42’ - Austria, Germany, 2008

Director’s Bio

Eberhard Büssem was born in 1941. In 1962 he studied Modern History and Political Sciences in Freiburg, Wien, Istanbul, Köln and München. In 1972 he started his PHD with the thesis Die Karlsbader Beschlüsse von 1819. (The resolutions taken at Carlsbad 1819). He works as a television director.

Contact Director
Wormser Str. 3 80797 München Germany
T. +49 89 1235265 Mobile: +49 160 97796967

2006 The children of Chernobyl
2003 Hydrogen – The future of oil

The end of the fast breeder


Sun and Hydrogen – the beautiful new world of Louis Bolkow

1084 Focus: the planet consumed

Director: Eberhard Büssem


Camera: Michael Bailey, Fritz Erjautz, Sascha Köllnreitner, Krassimir Mihaylov


Edited: Mikhail Stojkovski


Sound: Ralph P. Bienzeisler


Final cutting: Brigitte Armbrüster


Producers: Heinz Eigner, Monika Pribyl



World famous chemist Carl Djerassi, “father of the birth control pill”, art collector and author, calls himself an “intellectual polygamist”. The film takes him through his life and works, from Vienna via Sofia, San Francisco and London. The 86 year old Scientist, art collector and author tirelessly travels the whole world, giving scientific lectures, reading from his numerous books and visiting the performances of his plays. After 50 years of exceedingly successful scientific research, Djerassi then became a proliferous novel writer and dramatist. Over the past 20 years he has written 20 “Science in Fiction” plays, novels and so far four autobiographies whereby he describes the human side of scientists and their personal conflicts. He mainly deals with the motivation to become famous and achieve affirmation through scientific successes.

World sales
Monika Kossits
ORF Program Sales
Wuerzburggasse 30 1136 WIEN
+43 (1) 87878-14518

Director’s Statement

The time I was filming with Carl Djerassi was an important enrichment for my life. I learned to understand how a normal young boy who liked to play football and table tennis like all boys of his age was thrown out of his country because of the Nazi racism. He arrived in the states with 20 $ in his pocket and had to fight for his education and become one of the leading chemists of the 20th Century. The tragedies of his life – the exile, the suicide of his daughter, the outbreak of cancer and the death of his third wife – did he overcome by work and work and more work. But his success didn’t make him blind for his responsibility for his family and the society. At last he had overcome the bitterness of his expulsion from Austria. 70 years after his repudiation Carl Djerassi is at peace with Vienna. He hasn’t forgotten what happened but he is reconciled and decided to live in Vienna, London and San Francisco.