Producer
Director
Marika Liebsch
Producer
16:9 HD
Genre
Culture
Broadcaster
WDR
Length
1 x 45'
Editor
Year
2016
Titus Dittmann
The skateboard pioneer

Even as a child he doesn't fit the norm: "If you don't want to become anything, become like Titus," a teacher warns the classmates of the boy who just can't sit still. Perhaps with such a back story it is only logical that Titus Dittmann hangs up his safe job as a teacher in the mid-eighties to sell boards on four wheels out of his living room. Skateboards - back then, few people had even heard of the new trend.

In the beginning, there is euphoria and entrepreneurial spirit. Titus Dittmann imports axles and boards from California and organises local skate events. But it's not long before the tranquil town of Münster, from where Titus builds his empire, becomes an international household name. Dittmann is not the first to enter the German skateboard market, but he is the most successful: TITUS becomes a trend brand with sales in the millions. And Dittmann becomes the "figurehead of a scene that doesn't like figureheads", as an article about him later puts it. At the beginning of 2000, the company slides into a serious crisis. The planned IPO falls through. But Titus Dittmann's life is just as true as skateboarding: If you fall down, you have to get up again and try the trick again.

At first, Titus Dittmann pawned all his possessions except for his classic cars and then bought himself free from banks and investors to be able to call the shots in his own company again. Hard years followed, but since 2007 the company has been in the black again. In the meantime, Titus GmbH, Europe's largest supplier of skateboards and streetwear, is firmly in the hands of son Julius. Brigitta Dittmann is one of three managing directors and responsible for finances. For Titus Dittmann himself, however, at the age of 67 it is not yet time for retirement: he is still on a skateboard, teaches as a lecturer at the University of Münster and is active on four continents with his aid organisation skate-aid. Children learn to skate in areas of crisis, war and development. Freely according to Titus Dittmann's motto: Fall down, get up, keep going!

The documentary "Titus Dittmann - The Skateboard Pioneer" tells of the entrepreneur's courage and assertiveness, of rough edges, but also of the people he has relied on for decades. We accompany the non-conformist back to his roots, to the small town of Kirchen an der Sieg. This is also where Titus Dittmann met his future wife Brigitta, who has run the company with him from the very beginning.

First broadcast: Friday, 13.05.2016 at 20:15 on WDR.

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