On the closing night of Perspektive Deutsches Kino program of the 2018 Berlin International film festival, the Compass-Perspektive-Award 2018 for the best film was presented to Überall wo wir sind (Everywhere We Are) by Veronika Kaserer. Endowed with 5,000 euro, this year is the second time the prize has been awarded. The filmmaker received a compass as trophy, symbolically it should serve to provide orientation and direction.
During the festival, the jury members watched all 14 entries in the competition of the Perspektive Deutsches Kino section and, after deliberating intensively, picked their favourite. As the jury members stated: “The prize goes to a film that divided our jury and sparked heated debates. But we decided to honour precisely this film, rather than settle on a compromise, as we firmly believe that consensus films are not where the future of German cinema lies.”
Jury Statement – Überall wo wir sind (Everywhere We Are): Veronika Kaserer has made a film about grief, which at the same reminds us that life is worth living. With an astonishing closeness, unconventional montage, and many surprising moments, she portrays the last weeks and days of Heiko Lekutat, a 29-year-old Berlin dance instructor, and, most notably, his wonderful, big-hearted family. Does the film cause us pain because the family’s sorrow distresses us so, or do we suffer because we feel that the great intimacy to those grieving oversteps a line and in doing so impinges on our own sense of well-being? The editing constantly flashes back and forth between “before” and “after” Heiko’s death. Is it legitimate to disrupt the process of dying in this way in order to arouse, on an abstract level, empathy for the psychological and emotional process of grieving? The fact that a film triggers fierce sentiments and debates is a fine quality. We congratulate director, producer, and camerawoman Veronika Kaserer.
Image/credit: © Daniel Seiffert / Berlinale 2018