Cinema Documentary by Philip Scheffner   

D 2016 | 93 min | DCP | 5.1 | English, French, Arabic, Spanish, Filipino with English subtitles

World Premiere: Berlinale Forum 2016

Awards:  Award of the German Film Critics Association as Best Experimental Film | Arte-Award Duisburg Film Week | Best International Feature Film L’Alternativa Barcelona | Best Editing in an International Feature RIDM Montreal | Special Mention Prix Georges de Beauregard International FID Marseille

Directors of Photography: Terry Diamond, Bernd Meiners
Sound Recordists: Pascal Capitolin, Volker Zeigermann
Sound Design: Volker Zeigermann, Philip Scheffner
Sound Mix: Florian Marquardt
Colour Grading: Matthias Behrens

Produced by Merle Kröger and Caroline Kirberg for pong film
Co-produced by Meike Martens / Blinker Filmproduktion
Co-produced by ZDF / Arte
Commissioning Editor: Doris Hepp

Research funded by Robert Bosch Stiftung
Development funded by FFA

Production funded by MBB, BKM, DFFF, FFHSH, MDM, FiSti NRW


The coordinates 37°28.6'N and 0°3.8'E mark a point in the Mediterranean – 38 nautical miles from the port city Cartagena in Spain or 100 nautical miles from the Algerian port city Oran – depending on the narrator’s perspective. Observing the sea from this point, the whole world is water, sky and boundless horizon. A “sea of possibilities”, charged with the hopes, fears and dreams of the voyagers.

On 14th September 2012 at 2:56pm, using these coordinates, the cruise liner „Adventure of the Seas” reports to the Spanish Maritime Rescue Centre the sighting of a dinghy adrift with 13 persons on board. Visual contact.
90 minutes.

The radio traffic between the cruise liner, the Cartagena port authorities, the rescue cruiser “Salvamar Mimosa” and the helicopter “Helimer 211” structures the soundscape of the film. Visually, the cinematic space contracts to a single, unedited sequence arching over the total duration of the film. It is a short YouTube clip which seems today as the very essence, the condensation of the situation in the Mediterranean. In single frames, the dinghy with 13 figures on board becomes an icon of the daily news images. We are forced to watch. From the recordings with tourists and officers of the cruise liner, with the crew of a container ship, with the Harraga, les bruleurs – “who burn their passports”, and their families, the biographic traces of the documentary material are extended into a cinematic imagination.
A choreography emerges reflecting the past, present and future of the voyagers: Will another, a new potential space become visible when they meet again – in a cinematic space?

photos © pong film 2018