Eine Prämie für Irene

A Bonus for Irene
“Allein machen sie dich ein” (They’ll get you if you’re alone) sang German rock group Ton Steine Scherben and the line would make a good title for both Helke Sander’s first medium-length film Eine Prämie für Irene and the documentary The Woman’s Film by the San Francisco-based Newsreel collective. Sander portrays Irene, a single mother who works in a washing machine factory. She doesn’t suffer fools gladly, whether in relation to unequal treatment at work or sexual harassment from men. But it’s clear she doesn’t stand a chance without solidarity from other women. The women in The Woman’s Film are already one step further: they have come together to form a women’s rights group and talk there about discrimination, racism and violent relationships. This slice of unfiltered oral history brings the militancy of the early 70s back to life.
by Helke Sander
with Gundula Schroeder, Sarah Schumann, Helga Foster, Hanne Herkommer, Käte Jaenicke, Dörte Haack, Ingo Busche, Christian Ziewer, E. Berty, G. Schettling, H. Müller, M. Arndt, A. Becker, R. Minow, C. Görna, A. Bzik, E. Reichelt, G. Grundmann
Federal Republic of Germany 1971 German 50’ Black/White


  • Gundula Schroeder (Irene)
  • Sarah Schumann
  • Helga Foster
  • Hanne Herkommer
  • Käte Jaenicke
  • Dörte Haack
  • Ingo Busche
  • Christian Ziewer
  • E. Berty
  • G. Schettling
  • H. Müller
  • M. Arndt
  • A. Becker
  • R. Minow
  • C. Görna
  • A. Bzik
  • E. Reichelt
  • G. Grundmann


Written and Directed by Helke Sander
Cinematography Christoph Roth
Music Ton, Steine, Scherben
Sound Günther Hoffmann, Frank Glaubrecht, Dörte Völz
Art Director Petra Hinze
Assistant Director Iris Wagner
Production Manager Olaf I. Gibbins, René Verdan
Producer Friedrich Kramer

Produced by

Friedrich Kramer

Helke Sander

Born in Berlin in 1937. She first attended an acting school in Hamburg before moving to Helsinki in 1959, where she studied German Studies and Psychology and worked as a director for theatre and television. After returning to Berlin, Sander enrolled at the German Film and Television Academy Berlin (DFFB), and simultaneously made her first short films. In 1968, she was one of the founders of the "Aktionsrat zur Befreiung der Frauen” (Action Council for the Liberation of Women). Helke Sander taught Film at the Hamburg Academy of Fine Arts and is also an author alongside her filmmaking work.


1966 Subjektitüde (Subjectitude); 4 min., Special 2005, Retrospective 2016 1971 Eine Prämie für Irene; 50 min. 1977 Redupers – Die allseitig reduzierte Persönlichkeit (The All-Around Reduced Personality – Outtakes); 98 min., Retrospective 1990, Forum 2010, Retrospective 2019 1981 Der subjektive Faktor; 138 min. 1984 Der Beginn aller Schrecken ist Liebe; 117 min. 1985 Nr. 1 – Aus Berichten der Wach- und Patrouillendienste (From The Reports Of Security Guards & Patrol Services Part 1); 10 min., Competition 1985, Retrospective 2010 1991 BeFreier und Befreite (Liberators Take Liberties); 180 min., Panorama 1992 1997 Dazlak; 89 min. 2001 Dorf; 90 min. 2005 Mitten im Malestream; 92 min.

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2020