Staff Only

‘You can’t get to the beach this way!’ yells the toothless old hotel security guard at 17-year-old Marta. Actually, all this tourist from Barcelona wants to do in Senegal is get off the beaten track, wishing her travelling companions - her younger brother and her embarrassing father – would just go to hell. She befriends Aissatou, a hotel chambermaid of her own age, and Khouma, a young filmmaker who offers his services as a videographer at hotel events. Marta leaves behind the holidaymakers burning themselves to a crisp by the pool or standing in line at the buffet, to explore the world beyond the ‘staff only’ sign with her new friends. But then Marta does something reckless – and this has serious consequences.
Spanish director Neus Ballús depicts the complex relationships that exist between tourists and the locals whose lives are dependent on them in her detailed, brilliant portrait that addresses topics such as package tours, sex tourism and cultural appropriation. The fact that Marta seems to need Khouma’s camera viewfinder to really see her surroundings would also appear to epitomise an entire generation.
by Neus Ballús
with Elena Andrada, Sergi López, Diomaye A. Ngom, Ian Samsó, Madeleine C. Ndong, Margi Andújar
Spain / France 2019 Catalan, French, Wolof 85’ Colour


  • Elena Andrada (Marta)
  • Sergi López (Manel)
  • Diomaye A. Ngom (Khouma)
  • Ian Samsó (Bruno)
  • Madeleine C. Ndong (Aissatou)
  • Margi Andújar (Anne Marie)


Director Neus Ballús
Screenplay Neus Ballús, Pau Subirós
Cinematography Diego Dussuel
Editing Neus Ballús
Music Isabel Latorre
Sound Design Albert Manera
Sound Amanda Villavieja
Production Design Uxua Castelló
Costumes Giovanna Ribes
Make-Up Michel Vautier
Casting Mireia Salgado, Gora Seck, Déborah Borque, Anna González
Assistant Director Tigrane Avédikian
Production Manager Sergio Gil
Executive Producer Edmon Roch
Producers Edmon Roch, Pau Subirós, Cristóbal García, Javier Ugarte, Lina Badenes
Co-Producer Michel Klein
Co-Production Les Films Hatari Paris

Neus Ballús

Born in Mollet del Vallès, Spain in 1980, she studied audiovisual communication and documentary filmmaking at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona. After directing several short films, she made her feature-length debut in 2013 with La plaga (The Plague). The film screened at the Berlinale Forum and won four Gaudí Awards.


2005 L'avi de la càmera (The Grandad with a Movie Camera); short film 2006 La Gabi; short film 2007 Xip xap; short film 2008 Pepitu Ricu; short film 2009 Immersió (Immersion); short film 2013 La plaga (The Plague); Forum

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2019