Right after taking office in 2013, Academy President Anton Zeilinger developed the idea of a film project on the connection between academic excellence and emigration/exile.

For the creation of the film, the renowned Austrian-British filmmaker Frederick Baker (deceased 2020) was recruited. Between May 2015 and July 2016, interviews were conducted with 16 outstanding scientists with a common background of persecution, displacement, escape and exile. As children or adolescents, they experienced the National Socialist reign of terror in Vienna after the "Anschluss" in 1938. As Jews, they had to leave Austria and found refuge in Israel, England and the USA.

The choice of language and location was left to the interviewees. The interviews took place in Boston and Cambridge (MA), London, New York, Oxford, Santa Barbara, Strasbourg and Vienna, in offices, libraries, private homes, apartments and gardens, as well as in the festive hall of the Academy. The interviews were conducted by Frederick Baker together with the project managers. For the filming, camera crews were commissioned on location. Birgit Obkircher / LEISS Postproduction, Vienna, edited the film.

The portrayed scientists were individually interviewed in a conceptual setting. They are featured in this film as a related group – The Class of '38 (Frederick Baker) – with regards to the link between Exile & Excellence.