Five people in their everyday surroundings tell stories that they have never experienced personally. They recount tales of people involved in trafficking in women. They tell of exploitation, violence and force. They tell of realities which have happened and which might have happened in the places shown.

Obsessed by Reality

by Nora Sternfeld
Five people in their everyday surroundings tell stories that they have never experienced personally. They recount tales of people involved in trafficking in women. The stories force their way into everyday life. They tell of false promises, debts and deception, force, violence and exploitation, of coercion, threats and slavery. Those are the mechanisms which define trafficking in women. Legal codes offer migrants no protection. Quite the contrary, they are usually criminalized.
The film places the narrative logics of filmic fiction “what could happen” and documentarism “what did happen” into a continuously changing relationship with each other: stylised images allow insight into the everyday life of a customs officer, a bar-keeper in a bordello, a neighbour, a woman consul and a taxi driver. The sequences are too constructed to be documentary, everyday life become filmically alienated. The people, places and situations are, however, real - we are not dealing with actors and actresses on a film set but with people in their everyday surroundings - although the stories being told do not coincide with their own “eye witness” experience. The surface of the images is punctured by the other stories which are recited as texts. All locations shown in the film are real and appear in the real stories of these women.
They tell of realities which have happened and which might have happened in the places shown. In that the documentarism, the constructed, the narrative, continuously and mutually undermine each other an effect of double alienation comes into being that prevents any attempt at identification with the protagonists. It is with that that the film is able to emphasise the moment of the intersection of everyday life with the stories of trafficking in women.
In its paradoxical confrontation and questioning of the apparent naturalness of rule and exception, the film employs the stylistic devices of the horror film. Everyday life is stylised into idyllic normality that is interrupted by something uncanny. A border control post, a cemetery, the villa of a woman consul, taxi journeys through Vienna… The characters are as if “possessed” by the other stories. But the horror and the uncanny that impacts on everyday life is nothing more than reality; a reality that is torn from its secret social (as well as everyday) invisibility. It is the reality of women who have been confronted with trafficking in women and who have to adapt to it and look for a way to defend themselves.
“We are among you” is one of the slogans of the German Society for Legalisation who counteracts the criminalisation of migrants with a self-assured political position for the right to legalisation. In this respect the film by Anja Salomonowitz takes the position of the majority Austrian: “They are among us!” and involves us in the uncanniness of a reality that has always been there and which generally plays no role in everyday life.



Script and Direction: Anja Salomonowitz
Assistant Director: November Wanderin, Thomas Reider

Conceptional Advisor: Nora Sternfeld, Radostina Patulova
Trafficking Stories Advisor: Verein Lefö

Photographer: Jo Molitorisz
Assistant Camera: Johannes Haidbüchel
Light: Vladimir Bilic
Grading: Kurt Hennrich

Art Director: Yindra Soukup
Assistant Art Director: Johanna Dworak

Sound: Eric Spitzer
Editing: Gregor Wille, Frederic Fichefet
Sound Design: Frederic Fichefet
Music: Florian Richling, David Salomonowitz

Line Producer: Karin Berghammer
Production Manager: Bernhard Klaffensteiner
Production Assistance: Elsa Okasaki, Johanna Dworak, Dagmar Simone Jenewein

Actors: Rainer Halbauer, Anna Sparer, Leopold Sobotka, Mag. Gertrud Tauchhammer, Otto Pikal

Producer: Alexander Dumreicher-Ivanceanu


Un Tour d'Europe du Doc, Paris, November 2008

Sguardi Altrove Film Festival, Mailand, September 2008

Festival Internacional de Cine Documental, Mexico, September 2008

International Film Festival Piestany 08, September 2008

Flying Broom - Ankara Women's Film Festival, Mai 2008

Exposed - European Filmfestival for Debuts, Mai 2008

Madrid Filmoteca, April 2008

Tiburon International Film Festival, März 2008

Chicago EU Film Festival, März 2008

Minneapolis Women with Vision, März 2008

Oslo Eurodok - Dokumentarfilmfestival, März 2008

Ambulante, Gira del Dokumentales Mexico, Februar bis April 2008

Film Forum on Human Trafficking Wien, Februar 2008

Zagreb Human Rights Film Festival, Februar 2008

Helsinki Docpoint - Dokumentarfilmfestival, Jänner 2008

Festival d'Angers, Jänner 2008

Warschau Int. Film Festival - Human Rights in Film, Dezember 2007

Berlin One World, November 2007

Copenhagen CPH:DOX, Int. Documentary Filmfestival, November 2007

Ljubljana International Filmfestival, November 2007

Leeds International Filmfestival, November 2007
Sheffield International Documentary Film Festival, November 2007

Duisburger Filmwoche, November 2007

Feminist Filmfestival, Paris, Oktober 2007

Leipzig Dokumentarfilmfestival, Oktober 2007

Jihlava International Documentary Filmfestival, Oktober 2007
Special Mention

Buenos Aires Documentary Filmfestival, Oktober 2007

Münster Internationales Filmfestival, Oktober 2007

FilmFest Osnabrück, Oktober 2007
Friedensfilmpreis der Stadt Osnabrück

Flanders International Film Festival, Ghent, Belgien, Oktober 2007

Vancouver Film Festival, Oktober 2007

Kopenhagen International Filmfestival, September 2007

Nancy Aye Aye Filmfestival, August 2007

Prizren Documentary Filmfestival, August 2007

Melbourne International Film Festival, Juli 2007

Motovun International Filmfestival, Juli 2007

Wroclaw 07 Cieszyn ERA NEW HORIZON, Polen, Juli 2007

Jerusalem International Film Festival, Israel, Juli 2007

FIDMarseille, International Documentary Film Festival of Marseille, Frankreich, Juli 2007

Festival Paris Cinema, Paris, Frankreich, Juli 2007
15th International Film Festival Artfilm Trencin/Trencianske Teplice, Slovak Republic, Juni 2007

Festival der Regionen, Oberösterreich, Juni 2007
Werkschau Anja Salomonowitz

Festival Internacional de Cinema Feminino, FEMINA 2007, Rio de Janeiro, Juni 2007

International Short Film Festival, Grimstad, Juni 2007

Deutschland Kinostart: Premiere an der Volksbühne in Berlin, 20.Mai 2007

Lund 2007 Human Film Festival, Mai 2007

Crossing Europe, Austrian Screenings, Linz, April 2007

IndieLisboa - Lisbon International Independent Film Festival, April 2007

Femme Totale Int. Frauenfilmfestival Dortmund|Köln, April 2007
Präsentation der Zeitschrift Filmdienst

Alba International Film Festival, Turin, April 2007
New Vision Best Director Award

Diagonale Festival des österreichischen Films, Graz, März 2007
Preis für die Beste Kamera

Festival Internacional de Cine de Mar del Plata, Buenos Aires, März 2007
Artistic Innovation Award

Cinema du Reél, Paris
Mention spéciale du jury des bibliothèques

Internationale Premiere
Berlinale, Sektion Forum des jungen Films, Berlin, Februar 2007
Caligari Filmpreis

Österreich Premiere
Viennale Vienna International Film Festival, Wien, Oktober 2006
Wiener Filmpreis
© Lukas Beck






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