Jan 14, 2022
Let‘s Dance

Mark Eidelshtein, Maria Matsel in Strana Sascha (The Land of Sasha) by Julia Trofimova

The focus of the overall Generation selection is on young people: how they perceive the world, how they appropriate it or how they oppose it. The films tell of the power to move mountains that is inherent in them. A boulder is blocking the community space? The only child in the village befriends the rock and lures it back to its mountain (Luce and the Rock). A father can't cope with the death of his wife? His daughter decides to become a stand-up comic in Comedy Queen, to make him smile again.

In times of social isolation, the interpersonal moments in the films strike a particularly strong note: tragic and complicated, but also loving relationships with others, with places, with one's own roots and ultimately with oneself. In Moja Vesna, the mother's death has torn a hole in the family life, and Moja has to take matters into her own hands. In Rooz-e sib, an Iranian family holds together lovingly and imaginatively, despite all adversities and giving each other space to grow at the same time. In Stay Awake, two brothers strive to maintain an everyday life with their mother, who is addicted to prescription drugs. The Land of Sasha and La Fièvre explore the fluid realm between friendship and love.

The cinematic forms and imageries are as creative, free and unconventional as the protagonists themselves. In addition to numerous fictional works, eight documentary forms enrich this year's feature film competitions. By virtue of animation or staging, the filmmakers experiment with the concept of hybridity and thereby focus on questions of framing and the ethics of their work processes. In Alis, young traumatised Colombian women work with the directing duo to invent a fictional character, a mechanism which opens a safe space for them to reflect upon their wounds and intimate inner worlds. Shabu accompanies a cheeky, Caribbean-Dutch boy through his life in the Rotterdam suburb of Peperklip. In Terykony, children and young people roam around in the war-torn backdrop of eastern Ukraine, thereby giving viewers a glimpse into their tender souls.

The return of the Generation short films has paid off. Each of the selected short films reveals itself as a precious jewel that inspires, makes one thoughtful, sharpens the senses, stimulates the imagination and provokes emotions. Moreover, each of the five curated short film programmes is a collection of works of art, a poem full of syntax and rhythm, prose and metaphor, with a constantly changing rhythm, full of surprises in terms of style and content. And here too the contradicting feelings of growing up, their absoluteness and uncompromisingness. Everything is in flux, and there is always reconciliation, with oneself or with each other, sometimes concrete, sometimes abstract, sometimes playful, and sometimes dancing. In the end, there is a loving hug.

Maryanne Redpath, long-time head of the Generation section says goodbye with this programme. She says: “To never underestimate the young audience, that growing up can be beautiful as well as dangerous, that this is no time for ordinary cinema – are lessons learnt at Berlinale Generation. Festival work has played a major role in my life for almost 30 years and over that time I have – amongst other things - been called ‘a game changer’ or ‘the godmother of edgy cinema for young audiences’. I like to think there is some truth in that. As I prepare my departure, the title of a subtly subversive Australian short film comes to mind: We don’t say goodbye, we say see you soon.”

“We would like to thank Maryanne Redpath, who has shaped and developed the festival's programme for young people for almost three decades: from the former Kinderfilmfest to Generation Kplus and Generation 14plus. We hope that Maryanne will continue to contribute her commitment and her great, global enthusiasm for films and young people in the future”, commented Carlo Chatrian, Artistic Director and Mariette Rissenbeek, Managing Director of the Berlin International Film Festival.

The long and short films of the programme can be found below.

The films that were already announced can be found in the press release from December 15, 2021.

Feature-length Films

Generation Kplus

Bimileui eondeok (The Hill of Secrets)
South Korea
by Lee Ji-eun
with Moon Seung-a, Jang Sun, Lim Sun-woo
World premiere / debut film

The 12-year-old Myung-eun can't really comprehend the word “family”. She wishes to keep it a secret because she is so different from what she would like to be. When it comes to writing, on the other hand, she does not allow herself to be restricted by reality. An almost Dostoevsky-like story told in the complexity of human emotions about how to find a place in the world.

Juunt Pastaza entsari (Waters of Pastaza)
by Inês T. Alves
World premiere / documentary form / debut film

A group of Indigenous Achuar children that moves self-determined through the endless green. Along the course of the Pastaza river, on the border between Ecuador and Peru, they catch fish, hunt and cook, play with lianas and watch videos on their smartphones. Director Inês T. Alves respectfully follows the everyday life of this young collective living in deep connection with one another and with the environment.

Moja Vesna
Slovenia / Australia
by Sara Kern
with Loti Kovačič, Mackenzie Mazur, Gregor Bakovič, Claudia Karvan
World premiere / debut film

While the older sister throws out her feelings in poetry slams, the 10-year-old Moja attempts in her own way to hold things together and repair the hole that her mother's death has torn in her family. Sara Kern tells of a childlike process of grief and closure which does not shut its eyes to the cracks in the world, but also admires the light that shimmers through them.

My Small Land
by Emma Kawawada
with Lina Arashi, Daiken Okudaira
World premiere

Sarya lives between three worlds: Having fled from Turkey to Japan, her small family tries to maintain their Kurdish traditions. On the other hand, Sarya, who arrived when she was five, feels at home in Japan. But then, the family loses its refugee-status. Life becomes unpredictable and their days in Japan seem numbered. A haunting story about the balancing act of finding your place in the world.

El reino de dios (The Realm of God)
by Claudia Sainte-Luce
with Diego Armando Lara Lagunes, Lizbeth Gabriela Nolasco Hernández, Margarita Guevara González
World premiere

Neimar, who is currently preparing for his first communion, asks his grandmother how you can feel God. Claudia Sainte-Luce's film does not yield simple answers. Instead, it follows with a shrewd and bright view the world perception of a child in which - between the thundering of the ten commandments and horse racing - the profane and the transcendent are rearranged.

Rooz-e sib (The Apple Day)
by Mahmoud Ghaffari
with Mahdi Pourmoosa, Arian Rastkar, Zhila Shahi, Khodadad Bakhshizadeh
World premiere

When the truck is stolen from his father and with him his livelihood as a mobile apple seller, his son Saeed cannot meet the demand of supplying a basket of apples to school. A razor-sharp look at the age-old city versus countryside discrepancy the film follows Saeed through the alleys and streets of a Tehran suburb in search of a solution.

by Shamira Raphaëla
International Premiere / documentary form / debut film

Shabu has done it again. The 14-year-old has wrecked his beloved grandmother's car. Instead of enjoying summer vacation fun and street music, the charming slacker needs to raise money for repairs. A cheerful portrait of a Caribbean-Dutch teenager in Rotterdam between responsibility and bling-bling, between neighbourhood support and culture clash.

Terykony (Boney Piles)
by Taras Tomenko
World premiere / documentary form

Terykony accompanies Nastia and her friends as they roam around in their war-torn country. The places where they play, hang out, or listen to music are wounded landscapes. Director, Taras Tomenko (The Shooting Gallery, Panorama 2001) tells of growing up in present-day eastern Ukraine, utilising densely crafted images and tableaus and with a truly lyrical eye for the depiction of an unbroken childlike resilience when faced by the hardships of war.

Generation 14plus

Colombia / Chile / Romania
by Clare Weiskopf, Nicolas van Hemelryck
World premiere / documentary form

Ten young women reside in a home for girls from the streets of Bogotá. They talk about their roommate, Alis. Alis is the sum of their experiences, their longings, their struggles. Alis is a collective invention and at the same time a protected space that makes it possible to express painful truths in this sensitively reflected documentary.

by Tetsurō Araki
with Jun Shison, Mamoru Miyano, Yuki Kaji, Tasuku Hatanaka
World premiere / animation

For Hibiki, the world has been turned upside down. Bubbles that override gravity, competitions for scarce resources, a momentous encounter with a mysterious girl. In his modern anime fairy tale, director Tetsurō Araki creates a dazzling universe, which becomes a playground for fundamental questions about becoming and decaying, with creative ingenuity.

Kalle Kosmonaut
by Günther Kurth, Tine Kugler
World premiere / documentary form

The long-term documentary about Kalle, a boy from the prefabricated housing projects along the Allee of the Cosmonauts, paints a different picture of Berlin: “Poor” is not “sexy” here, it means: bad opportunities. The directing duo respectfully accompanies Kalle and leaves the charismatic boy to speak, supplementing scenes with animated sequences where background knowledge is meaningful.

Skhema (Scheme)
by Farkhat Sharipov
with Victoriya Romanova, Tair Svintsov
World premiere

The focus is on Masha, a teenager who, through a friend, gets caught in an opaque web of dependency and exploitation. In complex images that capture Masha's lack of anchors and connections, as well as her search for support, the film creates the multi-layered portrait of coming of age in new-rich Almaty, precise, vivid, dramatic and of universal relevance.

Stay Awake
by Jamie Sisley
with Wyatt Oleff, Fin Argus, Chrissy Metz
World premiere / debut film

Night after night, the brothers Ethan and Derek take their mother, who is addicted to prescription drugs to the emergency room. When Ethan receives an acceptance from the university, the chance arises to break out of the complicated co-dependent relationship. In his feature film debut, a further development of his short film of the same name (Generation 2015), Jamie Sisley vividly explores the heart-wrenching effects the prescription drug and opioid crisis in the USA has on individuals.

Strana Sascha (The Land of Sasha)
Russian Federation
by Julia Trofimova
with Mark Eidelstein, Maria Matsel, Evgenia Gromova, Dmitry Endaltsev
World premiere

Sasha doesn't have a father, but an earring - reason enough for his teenage mother to worry. When he is supposed to paint the waiting room of a psychiatric hospital, he meets his future love there: Zhenya. Deep voice, creative like he is, many problems. Carried by the light of summer in Kaliningrad, two idiosyncratic characters explore their feelings, talents and fears together.

Short Films

Generation Kplus

Die allerlangweiligste Oma auf der ganzen Welt (The Most Boring Granny in the Whole World)
by Damaris Zielke
with Charlotte Boon, Luise Lunow
World premiere / animation

Greta is bored with her grandmother, because anything that is fun is not allowed there - and because everything that is boring is among granny’s hobbies: hoarding souvenirs and looking at photos of the deceased. When granny sleeps, Greta plays her funeral. Lovingly stop-trick animated, and told through the hot-headed Greta’s perspective, the film initiates a sensitive conversation about death and memory.

Alma y Paz (Alma and Paz)
Mexico / USA
by Cris Gris
with Elisa Garza T. Gonzales, Cris Gris, Maria Isabel Garcia Mora
International Premiere

After the death of their mother, sisters Alma and Paz have to consider parting with their childhood home. For Paz, who arrives back from the city to make arrangements for selling the property, it seems clearer. For the younger Alma, the plantation in the Mexican countryside is full of memories. A story told in warm pictures about parting, origins and growing up.

Čuči čuči (Hush Hush Little Bear)
by Māra Liniņa
with Kristīne Zadovska, Andris Keišs
World premiere / animation

Counting sheep with a difference: A little bedtime story in which a bear family plays the main role - while the sheep who knit clouds play the supporting role. In a world made entirely of wool, two smart-alec, rebellious bear cubs tustle between comforting tiredness and parental care in a film artfully staged with engaging fantasy and love.

New Zealand
by Mark Albiston
with Mickey Reddish, Billy R. McCarthy, Tate Harrow, Ashley Harnett
International premiere

One last tour with his late father's Datsun - the car is due to be sold tomorrow. With a friend and little brother in the back seat, 14-year-old Matt goes to a party. The sudden appearance of the police, however, acts like an incendiary device to his charged mood. Mark Albiston, already a guest at Generation several times, is once again a master of youthful escalation.

Gong ji (Rooster)
Myanmar / Taiwan
by Myo Aung
with Hung Hsia Hsu, Lin-Chi Lee
International premiere

A very young girl from Myanmar is supposed to marry a man from China whom she has never seen before, and to follow him to a country she has never set foot in. However, the man who is supposed to bring her and her family a better life is prevented from arriving, and a rooster is supposed to replace him at the ceremony. Gong ji gently and mysteriously tells of a serious topic in suspiciously beautiful Images.

Louis I., König der Schafe (Louis I., King of the Sheep)
Germany / USA
by Markus Wulf
with Mark Waschke
World premiere / animation

When a crown rolled in front of his hooves, Louis, a sheep among other sheep, grabs it, puts it on and becomes king. From then on, he plays through everything that kings do to banish boredom and to demonstrate power. With a lot of humour, historical borrowings and a profound sense, the detailed stop-motion animation drives abuse of power to extremes in order to expose it.

Luce and the Rock
Belgium / France / Netherlands
by Britt Raes
with Fien Raes, Karolien Raes, Caspar Raes
World premiere / animation

Colourfully composed, geometric images tell the magical story of Luce, the only child in a small village, and of the friendship with a boulder. One day, it rolls off the mountain into the middle of the village's community square. While the adults are at a loss, Luce discovers the child in a rock. Cinematic art off the beaten track, challenging and smart.

La reine des renards (The Queen of the Foxes)
by Marina Rosset
with Marina Rosset, Mélia Roger
World premiere / animation

The queen of the foxes is the saddest of them all. In order to make her happy, her worried gang swarms out at night to lay at her feet the secretly written, but ultimately unsent love letters retrieved from the city's rubbish. With its beautifully painted and animated images, La Reine des Renards is an ode to love.

To Vancouver
by Artemis Anastasiadou
with Margianna Karvouniari, Vassilis Koutsogiannis
International premiere

Tomorrow, Vicky’s big brother will go away and leave the Greek village. Here at home, in the abandoned industrial landscape by the sea, there is no work. But Vicky definitely doesn't want to let Yorgos go. In order to avoid the unstoppable, she practices an old spell that people tell about the forest and an abandoned mine.

Le variabili dipendenti (The Dependent Variables)
by Lorenzo Tardella
with Simone Evangelista, Mattia Rega
World premiere

In a dark, velvety theatre there is a first kiss between Pietro and Tommaso. When the lights come back on, however, the two students have different expectations of what might follow. The chaos of awakening desire in its complexity and sensuality is told and made almost physically tangible through looks and gestures, approach and retreat, hope and fear.

Wheels on the Bus
by Surya Shahi
with Man Bahadur Tamata, Hari Budha, Chandra Rawal
World premiere

At school, they preach that all evil will return in the next life. But nobody looks when Bhyal's classmates blackmail him to make wheels for their toy bus. Bhyal, who lives with his mother on the outskirts of the village and works as an iron smith at night is an ‘Untouchable’. A cinematic examination of the caste system in a small mountain village in Nepal.

Zuza v zahradách (Suzie in the Garden)
Czech Republic / Slovakia
by Lucie Sunková
with Hannah McDonnell, Zuzana Kronerová, Michal Domonkoš, Soňa Spišiaková
World premiere / animation

With the allotment garden in which her parents have a small house, Zuza enjoys a wonder world of her own. She is curious about the secrets of the other gardens. A black dog and a blue key eventually lead her to a hidden, overgrown garden. A magical world that only child’s eyes can see unfolds by virtue of strong oil painting on glass.

Generation 14plus

Aos dezasseis (At Sixteen)
by Carlos Lobo
with Ana Ribeiro
World premiere

What do you do with the desire that is just awakening? At dance performances, in concerts, during sports, while skating, eyes are searching and bodies are exposed. Each space possesses its own choreography, its own music. Almost without words desire and rejection, hope and disappointment become tangible.

Born in Damascus
United Kingdom by Laura Wadha
International Premiere / documentary form

In her documentary, the Scottish-Syrian director tries to reconcile the two worlds in her head: her fond memories of visiting relatives in Damascus and what has happened in Syria since then. She confronts her cousin, who fled from there, with her recordings from then - and thus calls back memories that were buried under trauma.

La fièvre (Fever)
by Matias Carlier
with David Evora, Marie Pons, Vincent Aubert
International premiere

Aleister and Joana spend their days together in the skate park. Tomorrow, Joana will go away. Tonight, they want to have fun together again. But all day long Aleister has been seeing visions of an old man walking the streets with a bow and arrow. A flowing film, told in large pictures, which explores the realm between friendship and love.

by Nicole Jachmann
with Claire Porro, Julia Olsthoorn, Jesse Meisters, Jonas Coppus
International premiere

Merel and Robin are best friends. They wander around, have fun, talking about everything, including sex. When boys join them, the balance of their friendship shifts. Merel attracts the boys and Robin sees them as competition. Through secret glances, groping gestures and carefully observed moments, Funkele tells of the awakening of desire and of female solidarity.

Lay Me by the Shore
by David Findlay
with Isla Pouliot, Kai Smith
World premiere

The last exams at school, everyone is in a celebratory mood. The teenager Noah is one of them - but he’s often thrown out of this happy mood and overtaken by tormenting memories. In dazzling snapshots cut against each other, the trauma of the death of a friend is vividly experienced.

Memoir of a Veering Storm
by Sofia Georgovassili
with Daphne Peel, Konstantinos Sideris, Stefania Sotiropoulou, Maria Kallimani
World premiere

Anna secretly sneaks out of school with her boyfriend to carry out her decision for an abortion. Bluntly factual and yet with tender sympathy, the camera accompanies Anna's path, approaches and contrasts with images of a nature in which some things seem simpler and some things unfathomable.

Meneath: The Hidden Island of Ethics
by Terril Calder
with Lake Delisle, Gail Maurice, Kent McQuaid, Terril Calder
International Premiere / animation

Torn between two cultures: The one voice in the Métis girl's head is Jesus, who implants self-doubt in her with the seven deadly sins. The other voice is the legendary Anishinabek figure Nokomis, who teaches the girl to accept herself for who she is. In a dark, beautiful stop-motion animation, the film casts light on colonial trauma.

by Tig Terera
with Negassa Sarka, Raji Olana, Trinna Talasaia
International Premiere

Thrown out of his home by his own mother, the smart title hero moves in with his best friend. With a captivating soundtrack and stylish images, Tinashé tells the universal story of the transition to adult life, the search for identity and escapades, first love and real friendship - and it is also a respectful portrait of a young Australian from an ancient culture.

West by God
by Scott Lazer
with Aphrodite Armstrong, Kyle Riggs, Michael Washington
World premiere

America, a suburban dealer, a blonde teenage girl. After they've checked each other out at the swimming pool, he picks her up in his tuned car for a joyride. Up until this point, it's a well-known story. But then, layer by layer, everything becomes completely different. He can talk to her about the fact that it might not be so cool after all when your own life itself has become a rap song.

Press Release
January 14, 2022