System Crasher
Bernadette, or Benni as she prefers to be known, is a delicate-looking girl with unbridled energy. She is a ‘system crasher’. This term is used to describe children who break every single rule; children who refuse to accept any kind of structure and who gradually fall through the cracks in Germany’s child and welfare services. No matter where this nine-year-old is taken in, she is booted out again after a short time. And that is exactly what she is after, because all she wants is to be able to live with her mother again: a woman who is totally unable to cope with her daughter’s incalculable behaviour.
Made from her own multi-award-winning script, Nora Fingscheidt has created an intense drama about one child’s overwhelming need for love and security and the potential for violence that this engenders. At the same time, the film depicts the tireless attempts of educators and psychologists who use respect, trust and confidence to create a way forward for children who threaten to destroy others and themselves as a result of their unpredictable outbursts.
by Nora Fingscheidt
with Helena Zengel, Albrecht Schuch, Gabriela Maria Schmeide, Lisa Hagmeister, Melanie Straub, Victoria Trauttmansdorff, Maryam Zaree, Tedros Teclebrhan
Germany 2019 German 118’ Colour World premiere


  • Helena Zengel (Benni)
  • Albrecht Schuch (Michael Heller)
  • Gabriela Maria Schmeide (Mrs. Bafané)
  • Lisa Hagmeister (Bianca Klaaß)
  • Melanie Straub (Dr. Schönemann)
  • Victoria Trauttmansdorff (Silvia)
  • Maryam Zaree (Elli Heller)
  • Tedros Teclebrhan (Robert)


Written and Directed by Nora Fingscheidt
Cinematography Yunus Roy Imer
Editing Stephan Bechinger, Julia Kovalenko
Music John Gürtler
Sound Design Dominik Leube, Oscar Stiebitz
Sound Corinna Zink, Jonathan Schorr
Production Design Marie-Luise Balzer
Costumes Ulé Barcelos
Make-Up Kitty Kratschke
Assistant Directors Tina Rexilius, Shirin Hartmann
Casting Lisa Stutzky, Jacqueline Rietz
Production Manager Jana Lotze
Producers Peter Hartwig, Jonas Weydemann, Jakob D. Weydemann
Co-Producer Frauke Kolbmüller
Commissioning Editor Burkhard Althoff
Co-Production Oma Inge Film Hamburg
ZDF Das kleine Fernsehspiel Mainz

World sales

Beta Cinema

Produced by

Kineo Filmproduktion

Nora Fingscheidt

Born in Braunschweig, Germany in 1983, she spent her school years in Germany and Argentina. She was involved in setting up the self-organised film school, filmArche, in Berlin while also training as an acting coach. From 2008 to 2017, she studied fiction directing at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg. Her graduation film, the documentary Ohne diese Welt, won awards including the 2017 Max Ophüls Prize. Her debut feature System Crasher participated in the Berlinale Competition in 2019 and won the Alfred Bauer Award. The film was a national box-office success and received eight German Film Awards and several international prizes. In 2020, she made her first English-language feature, The Unforgivable, with Sandra Bullock in the main role.


2010 Synkope; short film 2011 Zwischen den Zeilen; short film 2013 Brüderlein; medium-length film 2014 Boulevard’s End; short documentary 2016 Die Lizenz; short film 2017 Ohne diese Welt; documentary 2019 Systemsprenger (System Crasher) 2021 The Unforgivable 2024 The Outrun

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2024