Her films center on people from all walks of life: she takes to the road with dustmen as well as homeless people in Germany. She has entered the world of the mentally ill, reconstructed the stories of former forced laborers, and tried to understand our general sympathy for gangsters and other scoundrels. She portraits women in a small village in the Ukraine (“Babske Radio”), searches for the leftovers of the Berlin wall (“Where is the wall”) or documents “One day in worldwide Berlin”.
In #MyEscape she reconstructed escape journeys from Syria, Afghanistan and Eritrea to Europe with user-generated content. The film won several prizes and was screened on festivals worldwide.
“Working on #MyEscape I discovered the power of non-professional videos. It’s not important if a camera isn’t stable if it gives you the chance to get inside an empty gas tank in a bus, the chance to understand what it means to escape from a country searching for freedom in Europe. In a way ‘The war on my phone’ is the second part of the film: A lot of people who could escape are still partly inside the war zone. And again, the material they receive on their phones is very special. It’s not anonymous news, it’s from people with names and faces.”
Camera: Jakob Stark, Kenjami Melina Huppertz, Dieter Stürmer, Oliver Gurr, Marcus Zahn
Jakob graduated from ZeLIG Film School (Italy) in 2010. His films won several prizes and toured on festivals worldwide. He is still excited about his passion for craft ship and finesse of cinematography.
We couldn’t influence the quality of the videos, friends and relatives of our protagonists sent to Europe. But we discussed how to film the refugees torn between their safe places in Lausanne or Münster and the news from the war zone, that did pop up on their phones every day. How to portray them being in Europe and Syria in the same time?
“Doing the camera work for the documentary film “The War On My Phone” by Elke Sasse will stay deep in my inner world. Some of our protagonists became friends. Their stories are impossible to catch in real. The film took me much closer to the painful meaning of war than news could do. One of my most interesting films, which I realised with lots of respect.”
Janine Dauterich studied film editing at the University of Film and Television „Konrad Wold“ Potsdam Babelsberg. She works on documentaries, fiction movies, music and art films.
„Editing films always gives an intense insight into other peoples lives and experiences. Like binoculars enhance your sight, a film broadens your horizon. Working on ‚#MyEscape‘ as well as on ‘The war on my phone’, and especially meeting the protagonists in person, has really changed my life.”
Pascal Capitolin & Karsten Höfer
The French filmmaker and sound operator Pascal Capitolin has worked on several documentaries, like „Paragraph 175“, from Oscar-winning Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedmann.
Together with Karsten Höfer he is responsible for the sound design – which is an important part of the story telling: the situation of the protagonists torn between the two worlds.
“The War on my Phone was from the very beginning the film, for which I was hoping to create its soundtrack. The protagonists of Elke Sasse are forced to face difficult situations and live in a constant inequality every day.This situation gave me a great possibility to use the sound as a complete design element to reflect their lives, hopes and fates.
Through sounds, music, atmospheres and noises as well as through the absolut absence of sound, me and my colleague Karsten Höfer wanted to make the viewer feel the emotional turmoil of the protagonists and take them in this journey with us, make them feel empathy about these people and share their emotions. With the constant reception of messages from their homeland, the sound of the war opens up a window to the european reality.”
Producers: Holger Preusse, Kristian Kähler
Holger Preusse is director and producer of numerous award-winning films and documentaries. He has developed new formats for public and private TV-Channels in particular “The Philosophy Quartet” for ZDF. His work is focused on high-grade films about culture, science, music and history. He is producer of documentaries for cinema “Kinshasa Symphony”, „’Fassbinder’s been everything for me!’ – The happy victims of Rainer Werner F.” and creative producer for “Hannah Arendt – On the Duty of Civil Disobedience” (nominated for Grimme Award 2017). He is partner in the berlin producers Gmbh and sounding images Gmbh, and CEO of the heidefilm GmbH. He is a member of the German Film Academy.
“When director Elke Sasse asked me if I wanted to produce her new film, I knew that this would be a big challenge. Their responsible and highly sensitive handling of the video material of the protagonists over many months in the editing room, the intensive discussions with Elke and the editor Janine about the stories of the people from Syria have moved me deeply and touch me again and again when I watch the film.”
studies cinematography at ZeLIG film school.
He didn’t study music, he doesn’t play an instrument and can’t read notes. But he creates sound and music with his computer. He composed the music for The War on my Phone as well as for #MyEscape. We wanted a very cautious music, no melodies to sing-along, no orchestra sound.
“While working closely on the project #MyEscape, we came into editing stage and needed music for the film. Since I enjoyed doing some electronical music for myself in spare time, Elke gave me the chance to compose something for her film. It worked. I just start playing randomly – until I find something that fits. It has been an incredible adventure and I discovered a new passion: reflecting the lives and emotions of the protagonists into sounds, rhythms and atmosphere.”
Research and Translation: Amloud Alamir, Yazan Al Yaseen, Sophie Elmenthaler and Mohamed Sami Habal
Through their networks they found refugees still in contact with their families and friends inside Syria and accompanied them over more than one year. Together we witnessed the developments. Every morning we got an update: Cities had been bombed, family members had tried to escape and had failed, someone could not reach his friend. The war on the phones became part of our daily life. Amloud and Sophie collected the material and Yazan translated many hours of messages and interviews.
The Syrian journalist works for Arabic and German Media and Amal Berlin. While being part of the team, her phone constantly got messages that our protagonists forwarded to her. With them she hoped for family members to get out of the war zone or houses not to be bombed.
“In media Syrian refugees often are only numbers. But everyone has a hard story which is not finished when they come to Europe.”
Yazan Al Yaseen
Yazan Al Yaseen, a graduate of the University of Damascus, Faculty of English Language and Literature, worked as a translator and interpreter for a number of Arab and European publications, media, and news outlets.
“Rather than translating well-written texts that belong in print, I was translating private conversations going between friends and family members with a very blunt and colloquial language. I had the chance to translate every word uttered in these conversations, and to take from them lessons for life. Taking part in making The War on my Phone enriched my life, I hope watching it would have a similar effect on yours.”