The World Beyond Silence

THE STORY

Spring 2020 – suddenly the world stands still. On every continent, people find themselves in a lockdown. The world as we know it is past. What will come is uncertain. An invisible virus is challenging societies. People are thrown back on themselves.

Twelve intimate portraits from twelve places in a fragile world.

During the lockdown a mother sees her baby taking its first steps and longs for her family. A geriatric nurse buries an old woman in a foreign country. A blind man hears a whole other world. A homeless pizza delivery man knows that he is important and that he lacks the most important thing: an apartment. A married couple has to face a relationship crisis that has lasted for years. A DJ writes songs about the apocalypse and is more creative than ever. A young woman returns to the world of her ultra-orthodox childhood. A clinic employee goes through a separation out of love and takes care of others. A single shoe shiner worries about the safety of her daughter. A Martial Arts trainer from China is looking for social integration in a foreign world. The residents of an indigenous village seal themselves and construct a building for the infected as a precaution. And on the outskirts of a city shepherds drive their flocks undeterred to a spring like every day.

Twelve stories about the power of the human beyond silence.

TRAILER

DIRECTOR’S NOTE

In March 2020, when Germany faced its first lockdown, the producers of Sundayfilm and I had the idea to shoot a documentary about the pandemic from a broad, global perspective. At that time many were shocked but also fascinated about what a virus is able to reveal and unleash in this world. We wanted to create a cinematic testimony to this unique phenomenon – aside from numbers, facts and experts’ opinions that the media was already flooded with. We wanted to know: How does the pandemic affect people and their lives? How do humans deal with a life-threatening and unknown situation, what consequences do they draw from it? All in all, we were interested in how a global crisis affects people on a very personal level.

What followed, was a great cinematic adventure for all of us – and ultimately an experiment. Our team, including fellow directors Michele Cinque, Andreas Pichler and editor Antonia Fenn, quickly found twelve directors from all over the world who were willing to join our project. After receiving the raw material, we started to realize what the appeal and challenge of the editing process would be, because these twelve narratives could not have been more different in terms of content and style. It was though our ambition to tell a coherent story out of 160 hours of diverse raw material from six months of filming.

First and foremost, our appreciation goes out to the protagonists. They allowed a camera to follow them around in a state of emergency, they shared their thoughts and gave us intimate insights into their lives. The pandemic made them face their vulnerability, but also their ability to deal with it. Despite their differences, all of the protagonists were suddenly forced to live a simple life with constraints and sacrifice – a bitter pill for anyone living in a globalized, efficienc

I hope we succeeded in creating a touching and authentic picture of the pandemic’s first year. The people in it do not lack strength nor will to heal the wounds that the pandemic caused and to take something positive from this crisis. Who knows, maybe our movie is able to keep conveying optimism, despite never-ending hardships and personal tragedies that we continuously face.

PRESS QUOTES

“An emotional but above all deeply human film.”

Mitteldeutsche Zeitung

“In a word: Despite the contemporary tendency for escapism,
this film is a blessing!”

artechock film magazine

“An impressive document of this period. It does not tell the facets of the disease,
it portrays how people manage not to give up in the most difficult situations.”
“Those little stories, opulently brought into the picture,
make up a highly appealing film.”

MDR Artour

“World Beyond Silence evokes a feeling of solidarity.
Its stories are deeply touching but even inspire a deep feeling
of confidence and optimism.”

Kino-zeit.de

“A film that preserves this strangely enraptured time,
but you should watch it very closely.”

Berliner Morgenpost

“Perhaps the most interesting film about Covid-19,
as it shows what silence conceals rather than narrating it.”

DOK.fest Munich, Catalogue

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CREW

WRITTEN & DIRECTED BY
MANUEL FENN

EDITED BY
ANTONIA FENN, BFS

MUSIC
JAN KEHLCHEN & ECKART GADOW

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
RENÉ FROTSCHER & THOMAS JESCHNER

CREATIVE CONSULTANTS
MICHELE CINQUE & ANDREAS PICHLER

COMMISSIONING EDITOR ZDF/3SAT
UDO BREMER

WORLD UNITS DIRECTORS

ALTO XINGU
TAKUMA KUIKURO

HAIFA
GUNDULA BECKMANN

KUALA LUMPUR
YIHWEN CHEN

MOSCOW
DIMITRII PERVUSHIN

NAIROBI
JOSEPH MJUCHERU

RIO DE JANEIRO
VICTOR MAGRATH

COCHAMBAMBA
JULIA WEISS

BERLIN
MANUEL FENN & SOPHIA FENN

LONDON
AGOSTINA GUALÁ

NADSCHFABAD
ALI MOHAMMAD GHASEMI

NEW YORK
VALERIO CIRIACI

ROME
MICHELE CINQUE

TWELVE NUTSHELLS AROUND THE WORLD

ALTO XINGU, BRAZIL

The Kuikuro are an indigenous tribe in the Amazon. When the news about the virus hit their village, they try to cope with the new situation and tey do all they can to keep out the virus of their little settlement.

Director: Takuma Kuikuro
Takuma Kuikuro is a filmmaker and member of the indigenous Kuikuro tribe in the Amazon region. Trained by the Brazilian NGO program “Video in the Villages”/Video nas Aldeias, he has received international attention and recognition for his films such as “The Day The Moon Menstruated,” “The Hyperwomen” and “Kariokas.”

COCHAMBAMBA, BOLIVIA

Carmen and Julio have been together for nine years, when trouble started brewing in their marriage. Now the pandemic forces them in a “family lock up” together with their two lovely children.

Director: Julio Weis Julio
Julio Weiss works as a filmmaker, producer and media artist. He was a screenwriter and director for the award-winning documentary “Lithium Revolution”. He currently lives in Bolivia.

HAIFA, ISRAEL

In order to live as an artist Dasi broke up with her ultra-orthodox family, but the pandemic made her go back.

BERLIN, GERMANY

Master Li teaches Kung-Fu in Berlin. He lives up when training with his students. Far away from home this gives him a hold. This connection suddenly breaks up, when the world is orderd to stay away from each other.

Director: Manuel Fenn, Sophia Fenn
Manuel Fenn is a German director and cinematographer. His work has been shown successfully at many festivals and he has won several awards. His short documentary “Stark! – The Summer Club” received the Grimme Award in 2014.

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

Rollen has been blind from birth. He works in a hospital in Kuala Lumpur. To experience the world around him so quietly fascinates and scares him at the same time.

Director: Yihwen Chen
Yihwen Chen is a Malaysian documentary filmmaker. She shot and produced many international documentaries for History Channel, Crime & Investigation Network and CNA. Her films such as “Eye on the Ball”, “Like Toy Dolls” and “Memoria” have been screened and awarded in many international festivals.

LONDON, GREAT BRITAIN

When the world stood still, her son learned to walk. Agostina is an Argentine filmmaker who lives with her family in London. She is experiencing the pandemic through the eyes of her son Dante, who was ten months old at the beginning of the lockdown.

Director: Agostina Guála
Agostina Guála is an Argentine director and actress. She lives in London. With her short film “Los dias felices” she was nominated for Best Short Film at the International Film Festival in Freiburg.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA

Feel is a DJ and lives in Moscow. Corona forced him to perform digitally. However, he is not alone, together with his best friend Mascha he is working on new projects.

Director: Dimitrii Petruvshin
Dimitrii Pervushkin is a Russian director, producer and script consultant. He worked for series such as “Chernobyl”, “War & Piece “and “Outliers”.

NADSCHFABAD, IRAN

Mohammad & Gholam are shepherds in Najafabad, in central Iran. Each time they carry their flock of sheep to a shady spring.

Director: Ali Mohammed Ghasemi
Ali Mohammad Ghasemi is an Iranian filmmaker. In addition to his numerous projects as a cinematographer, including films such as “From Tehran to London” (by Mania Akbari, 2012), he also works as a director, such as “Dogs and Fools” (2017).

NAIROBI, KENYA

Felister works as a shoe shine in the center of Nairobi. Money is tight and her 14-year-old daughter sits at home, who cannot go to school because of Corona.

Director: Joseph Mucheru
Joseph Mucheru works as a filmmaker in Nairobi, mainly for international broadcasters.

NEW YORK, USA

Jorge works as a pizza delivery boy in New York. Because of his fondness for soft drinks he is called “Coca Cola”. He is currently homeless and looking for an apartment.

Director: Valerio Ciriaco
Valerio Ciriaci is an Italian filmmaker and cinematographer. He has been living in New York since 2011. He works for news channels such as Rai, Sky and Mediaset. His first feature film, If Only I Were That Warrior, won the 2016 Italy Golden Globe.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL

Saullo works at a hospital in a favela in Rio. He and his partner have temporarily gone into isolation separately. The distance to his great love hurts him.

Director: Victor Magrath
Victor Magrath is a Brazilian filmmaker. He founded “A Bolha Films” in 2009. He started his career in cinema as an editor for the renowned filmmakers Domingos Oliveira and Sergio Ricardo.

ROME, ITALY

94-year-old Ida dies of a fall during the pandemic. Her Polish nurse Sofia remains in her apartment.

Director: Michele Cinque
Michele Cinque is an Italian filmmaker. He directed the award-winning documentaries “Lavoro Liquido” and “Mr. Jazz”. He received attention in Europe for his documentary “Iuventa”.

A SUNDAYFILM PRODUCTION in coproduction with ZDF/3SAT supported by MITTELDEUTSCHE MEDIENFÖRDERUNG
written and directed by MANUEL FENN, edited by ANTONIA FENN BFS, creative consultants MICHELE CINQUE & ANDREAS PICHLER, Music JAN KEHLCHEN & ECKART GADOW, re-recording mixer OLAF MEHL, commissioning editor zdf/3sat UDO BREMER,
Executive Producer RENÉ FROTSCHER & THOMAS JESCHNER, Line Producer VOLKER ZOBELT, world units directors: ALTO XINGU TAKUMA KUIKURO, cochabamba JULIO WEISS, haifa GUNDULA BECKMANN, berlin MANUEL FENN & SOPHIA FENN, kuala lumpur YIHWEN CHEN,
london AGOSTINA GUALÁ, moscow DIMITRII PERVUSHIN, Nadschafabad ALI MOHAMMAD GHASEMI, nairobi JOSEPH MUCHERU, new york VALERIO CIRIACI, rio de janeiro VICTOR MAGRATH, rome MICHELE CINQUE
www.theworldbeyondsilence.com