Blue Sky White Clouds

2022 | 91 Min | Documentary Feature | Freischwimmer Film   |  PG-6 Years

After her grandfather passes away, a granddaughter takes her Grandmother on a canoe trip to find out how to take care of the 86-year-old who suffers from dementia.

Funded by nordmedia – Film- und Mediengesellschaft Niedersachsen/Bremen mbH, MOIN Film Fund Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein & Filmbüro Bremen

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Synopsis

“Take care of grandma when I'm gone" says the grandfather to his 30-year-old granddaughter, Astrid. After he passes, grandma Carmen who is suffering from dementia moves into a retirement home. Here, despite regular visits, she feels abandoned by her family. Astrid realizes that she has not fulfilled her promise to her grandfather, so she decides to take her grandmother on a ten-day canoe trip to find out if and how she might be able to take better care of her in the future. The journey is mapped out, an itinerary is planned, and equipment is gathered. 

Soon the filmmaker sets off on a canoe trip together with her younger brother, Hendric, and their grandmother, Carmen. Full of confidence, the 86-year-old climbs into the canoe with her grandchildren every day. It bobs and gurgles, the sun shines. The uncertain future recedes into the distance. While grandma Carmen obviously enjoys the company of her grandchildren during the day, the nights become increasingly difficult for all three of them. The daily changes of location take their toll on Carmen. Despite patient repetition, she can no longer remember anything new. The trip comes to a head until one night Carmen decides to walk home.

Review

"A film that takes us on a very special journey. With great empathy and cinematic sovereignty, the director tells of her search for a dignified way of dealing with a loved one suffering from dementia. A journey in a canoe on small northern German rivers becomes an existential adventure that demands a lot from all the protagonists and at the same time tells of great affection and love. With dramaturgical precision, a film is created from an immense amount of material,  that is visually and narratively convincing. In BLUE SKY WHITE CLOUDS by Astrid Menzel we experience a touching and inspiring approach to dementia as we have never seen it before." (Martin Rehbock, Stefanie Reis, Hans-Peter Schweger in their laudatio for the "Special Mention" of the Gesa-Rautenberg-Preis" at the Filmfest Schleswig Holstein)

Festivals

65. International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film (World premiere), Germany
44. Filmfestival Max Ophüls Preis, Saarbrücken, Germany
27. Filmfest Schleswig-Holstein 2023, Kiel, Germany
8. International Filmfest Bremen, Germany
38. Husumer Filmdays, Germany
20. RIFF - Reykjavík International Film Festival, Iceland
31. Rendezvous with Madness Arts Festival, Canada
40. Kasseler Dok Fest, Germany
4. Florence International Film Festival, Italy

Theatrical  Release / Video on Demand

For international distribution inquiries please contact me: contact@astridmenzel.com

Further information about the distribution in the German speaking areas on the webpage of the German distributor Across Nations.

Awards

Young Eyes Film Award @ DOK Leipzig
Especial Mention Gesa-Rautenberg-Prize @ Filmfest Schleswig-Holstein
Especial Mention @ Florence International Film Festival

The film was awarded the rating "extremely valuable" by the Wiesbaden Film and Media Rating Board.

Credits

cinematography Astrid Menzel, Eike Köhler sound Astrid Menzel editor Justin Koch composer André Feldhaus, Anders Wasserfall Sound Design & MIxing Anders Wasserfall Color correction Andreas Hellmanzik Post-Production Cine Complete GmbH GraPhiC design Team Nawrot Producers Mike Beilfuß, Urs Krüger director Astrid Menzel A production by Freischwimmer Film GmbH DISTRIBUTOR Across Nations

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Unlike Today

2018 | 21 min | fiction | Kinescope Film  |  PG-6 Years

An elderly couple fights for dignity while balancing on the edge of the existence of their former lives. Both resist saying goodbye to the reality they once knew to accept a new life, now dominated by illness and nursing.

Funded by nordmedia – Film- und Mediengesellschaft Niedersachsen/Bremen mbH & Filmbüro Bremen

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Synopsis

The film relates the story of an elderly couple which refuses to accept their own physical and mental deterioration. Dementia and everyday lethargy transform Paul and Elisabeth into helpless marionettes of themselves. Night becomes day and everyday life becomes a nightmare. In the symbiotic relationship between Paul’s still sharp mind and Elisabeth’s physical sprightliness, they try to manage up their own lives without any help from the outside. But despair and other signs of fatigue have been gnawing at them for a while. Both know that they can no longer lead their lives without outside help anymore. But they still don’t want to accept the reality of the situation.

Review

„In a realistic portrayal, we experience scenes that are part of life and affect us all, either sooner or later, directly or indirectly. Adapted gently, with great care and maturity, and with its courageous and credible acting, the film also convinces through its precise editing and classical visual language. It introduces us to the protagonists in an almost tender manner and permits us to intensively empathize with them.”(Konrad Hirsch, Sigrid Limprecht, Jon Frickey on awarding „Unlike Today“ with the Minister of Fine Arts Promotion Prize at the 31. Filmfest Dresden 2019)

Festivals

52. Hof International Film Festival (world premiere)
59. Short Film Collection, Bremen

9. Medienforum Niedersachsen, Lüneburg

Zeise Shortfilm Slam, Hamburg

Short-O-Rama, Bremen

10. Kirchliches Film Festival, Recklinghausen

Und Bitte! Takes 2019, Hannover 

31. International Shortfilm Festival Dresden 2019
7. Schrobenhausener Shortfilm Festival
26. OpenEyes Filmfest, Marburg

Indie Short Fest Los Angeles, USA 

Blende Eins, Wilhelmshaven

1. Cinema Talks, Graz, Austria
4. International Film Festival Slemani, Iraq
15. International Film Festival Reykjavík, Iceland
4. Minikino Bali, Indonesia

9. micro μ Festival, Greece
34. Independent Film Festival Osnabrück 

3. International Film Festival Cardiff, UK
2. International Shortfilm Festival Linz, Austria
4. International Shortfilm Festival Court en Scène, France

19. Flensburger Kurzfilmtage

27. Blicke Film Festival, Bochum 

7. Eat My Shorts Film Festival, Hagen
6. International Film Festival Filmstrip, Romania

5. Euregion Film Festival, Netherlands
8. look&roll Film Festival, Switzerland

DVD Release / Video on Demand

For international inquiries, please contact me: contact@astridmenzel.com

Further information about the distribution in the German speaking areas on the webpage of the German distributor Methode Film.

Awards



Minister of Fine Arts Promotion Prize – National Competition @ 31.
International Shortfilm Festival Dresden


Jury Award @ 59. Short Film Collection, Bremen
Audience Award @ Short Film Collection, Bremen
Best Foreign-Language Short @ Indie Short Fest Los Angeles, USA
Best Actor @ Indie Short Fest Los Angeles, USA
Best (Female) Director @ Indie Short Fest Los Angeles, USA
Audience Award @ Short Film Festival Blende Eins, Wilhelmshaven
Best International Shortfilm @ 4. International Film Festival Slemani, Iraq
RIFF Talent Lab @ 15. International Film Festival Reykjavík, Iceland
Audience Award @ UND BITTE! Takes 2019, Hannover
Audience Award @ 34. Independent Film Festival Osnabrück 

Best Script Award @ 2. International Shortfilm Festival Linz, Austria
Best Actor @ 2. International Shortfilm Festival Linz, Austria 

Best Director @ 4. International Shortfilm Festival Court en Scène, France
Audience Award @ 27. Blicke Film Festival, Bochum
3. Jury Award @ 7. Eat My Shorts Film Festival, Hagen
Best Film @ 5. Euregion Film Festival, Netherlands

The film was awarded the rating "extremely valuable" by the Wiesbaden Film and Media Rating Board.

Credits

cast Ulrich Voß, Monika Lennartz, Kirsten Sprick Screenplay & director Astrid Menzel cinematography Lukas Eylandt Producers Mike Beilfuß, Matthias Greving, Astrid Menzel editor Astrid Menzel, Christian Dubuisson assistant director Aline Adam costumes Catrin Menzel composer Oliver Pauls sound Urs Krüger sound design & mixing Anders Wasserfall color correction Andreas Hellmanzik Title design Janine Pusch graphic design Benjamin Weisheit a production by Kinescope Film GmbH DISTRIBUTOR Methode Film 

ASTRID MENZEL

Director and Screenwriter

Alexanderstr. 1, 28203 Bremen
contact@astridmenzel.com
+49 (0)162 697 83 44

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