Wer wir waren

Who We Were
The cry for help that Marc Bauder initiates on behalf of our planet echoes in the film’s title, as does Roger Willemsen’s posthumously published 2016 essay that inspired the entire project. For it is not “who we are” – the question a civilisation might ask if it could read the present and still imagine its own future – but rather “who we were” that is the nostalgic and powerless question being posed here by a lost community looking back on its past. However, before the present inevitably becomes the past, we still have the precious time afforded by this documentary to listen to the testimony of those who insist, here and now, in thinking and acting as though the earth were a corrupted but not yet fully compromised system, and in viewing humanity as a solution to the crisis and not just the cause of the disaster. Astronaut Alexander Gerst and marine biologist Sylvia Earle do this from opposite ends of our biosphere, delivering breathtaking images; economist Dennis Snower and Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard blend activism with scientific and spiritual research while, with their humanistic and political musings, cybernetics and feminism scholar Janina Loh and social scientist Felwine Sarr search for answers in unusual yet decisive areas.
by Marc Bauder
with Alexander Gerst, Sylvia Earle, Dennis Snower, Matthieu Ricard, Felwine Sarr, Janina Loh
Germany 2021 German, English, French 114’ Colour Documentary form


  • Alexander Gerst
  • Sylvia Earle
  • Dennis Snower
  • Matthieu Ricard
  • Felwine Sarr
  • Janina Loh


Written and Directed by Marc Bauder
Cinematography Börres Weiffenbach
Editing Stefan Stabenow
Music Thomas Kürstner, Sebastian Vogel
Sound Design Oliver Achatz
Sound Michel Klöfkorn, Johannes Schmelzer-Zieringer, Helge Haack
Assistant Director Eva Hausberger, Evelyne Faye-Horak
Production Manager Bettina Morlock
Producer Marc Bauder
Executive Producer Marc Bauder
Co-Producers Gunter Hanfgarn, Andrea Ufer
Co-Production Hanfgarn & Ufer Filmproduktion Berlin

Marc Bauder

Born in 1974, he studied business administration in Cologne, St. Gallen and New York before, in 1999, co-founding the bauderfilm production company with Dörte Franke. He collaborated with her on several documentaries as well as on his debut feature film, The System. His documentary Master of the Universe won the European Film Award. On the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, he and his brother Christoph created the “Lichtgrenze” installation for which they received an Order of Merit from the Federal State of Berlin. His second feature film, Dead Man Working, won a Grimme Award.

Filmography (documentaries)

2003 Grow or go 2006 Der Kommunist (The Kommunist) · Jeder schweigt von etwas anderem (Last to Know); co-director: Dörte Franke 2010 Nach der Revolution (After the Revolution); co-director: Dörte Franke 2011 Das System (The System) 2013 Master of the Universe 2016 Dead Man Working 2021 Wer wir waren (Who We Were)

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2021