Fortschritt im Tal der Ahnungslosen

Progress in the Valley of the People Who Don’t Know
During the GDR era, the “Valley of the Clueless” in Saxony was too far from both Berlin and the former West Germany to receive TV broadcasts from there. Back then, life was simpler, recalls one resident in Florian Kunert’s film – in stark contrast to today, where the region has become the focus of much negative media attention for its widespread xenophobia. Born in 1989, Kunert grew up here. In his film, he conducts an experiment: Among the ruins of the former state-owned farming equipment factory “Fortschritt” (Progress), he stages cinematic recollection both in front of the camera and via editing. He has the young Syrian refugees living here today meet with former factory workers. Songs of the Free German Youth movement, East German Trabant cars and even a horse initiate reenactments whereby the protagonists become performers of their own stories. Archive material from when the friendship between Syria and the GDR was celebrated is contrasted with contemporary footage of gatherings of the far-right Pegida movement. Kunert’s work as a director resembles that of a therapist, one who seeks to understand a complicated present by engaging with a past that resists any simple retelling.
by Florian Kunert Germany 2019 German, Arabic 67’ Colour Documentary form


Written and Directed by Florian Kunert
Cinematography Joanna Piechotta
Editing Ian Purnell, Florian Kunert
Music Stefan Galler, Franziska Henke
Sound Design Stefan Voglsinger
Sound Stefan Voglsinger, Christian Bläsche
Producers Stefan Gieren The StoryBay UG, Florian Kunert, Dr. Sabine Schulz KHM, Frank Döhmann KHM, Sarah Scheier

Produced by

The StoryBay UG

Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln (KHM)

Florian Kunert

Born in Sebnitz, East Germany in 1989. He studied Documentary Film Directing in Cuba and completed his postgraduate studies at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne. Florian Kunert works as an author and director. Fortschritt im Tal der Ahnungslosen is his first feature-length film.

Filmography (documentaries)

2017 Oh Brother Octopus; 27 min., Berlinale Shorts 2017 2019 Fortschritt im Tal der Ahnungslosen

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2019