The film picks up the biographical pieces of a family torn apart through the end of the 19th and into the 20th century. The used material is what remained of Thomas Heise’s family. It is about people who by chance found each other, only then to lose each other. Now it is their descendants, their children and grandchildren who are beginning to disappear. Fathers and mothers, sons and brothers, the affairs, the hurt and the joy in landscapes of transition – each bearing the intertwining, hallmarks of their times. A collage of images, sounds, letters, diaries, notes, voices, fragments of time and space.
2019 Winner of the Caligari Film Prize — 69th Berlinale / 49th FORUM 16 dokumentarfilmwoche hamburg Winner of Meilleur long métrage de la Compétition - Visions du Réel, Nyon Crossing Europe, Linz German Documentary Award 2019 - SWR DOKU FESTIVAL 44 TIFF - Toronto International Film Festival 57 New York Film Festival 43 Duisburger Filmwoche IDFA Masters, Focus: It Still Hurts
Cast and Crew
Director Thomas Heise
Producer Heino Deckert
Screenwriter Thomas Heise
Director of Photography Börres Weiffenbach, Stefan Neuberger, Peter Badel
1. Assistant of the director of photography Christoph Varga
Editor Chris Wright
Sound Johannes Schmelzer-Ziringer
Sound Design Martin Steyer, Markus Krohn
The material used in this film is what remains of my family. The remnants of those I knew, whose circumstances I had been part of or had otherwise experienced. Remnants that mirror history. A history that is just as much my own.
Born in 1955 in Berlin (GDR), Thomas Heise trained as a printer before he started to work as an assistant director at the DEFA Studio for Feature Films in Potsdam-Babelsberg in 1975. Parallel to his work at the studio he completed his secondary education, so that he could study at the Academy of Film & Television in Potsdam-Babelsberg (1978-1983). His first film, the documentary WHY A FILM ABOUT THESE PEOPLE - produced entirely with materials bought on the black market - was banned from public screening. Heise broke off his studies.
Since 1983 he has worked as a free-lance writer and director in the areas of theatre, audio drama and documentary. Until the end of the GDR all his documentary efforts were, however, either blocked, destroyed or confiscated. Heise found an artistic home at the theatre, where he co-operated closely with author and director Heiner Müller. Between 1987 and 1990 Heise acquired his MA at the Berlin Academy of Fine Art. He was a member of the Berlin Ensemble until 1997, where he acted as contributing director for a number of productions. He was teaching as a professor for Film and Media Art at Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design between 2007 and 2013.
Since 2013 he is working as a professor for Art and Film at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Austria. Since 2018 he is the director of the Film and Media Arts section at the Academy of Arts Berlin-Brandenburg, Germany.
Filmography 2019 HEIMAT IS A SPACE IN TIME, doc. 2014 STAEDTEBEWOHNER, doc. 2012 CONSEQUENCE (GEGENWART), doc. 2012 CONDITION (DIE LAGE), doc. 2011 SOLAR SYSTEM (SONNENSYSTEM), doc. 2009 MATERIAL, doc. 2007 CHILDREN. AS TIME FLIES (KINDER. WIE DIE ZEIT VERGEHT), doc. 2006 LUCKY (NIGGERS) / IM GLÜCK (NEGER), doc. 2005 MEIN BRUDER. WE’LL MEET AGAIN, doc. 2004 THE FOREIGNER (DER AUSLÄNDER), doc. 2002 FATHERLAND (VATERLAND), doc. 2000 MY LOCAL (MEINE KNEIPE), doc. 1999/2000 NEUSTADT (JAMMED – THE STATE OF THINGS / NEUSTADT (STAU – DER STAND DER DINGE), doc. 1997 BARLUSCHKE, doc. 1992 JAMMED – LET’S GET MOVING / STAU – JETZT GEHT’S LOS, doc. 1991 IRON AGE (EISENZEIT), doc. 1989 IMBISS SPEZIAL, doc. 1985 PEOPLE’S POLICE (VOLKSPOLIZEI/1985), doc. ; banned until 1990 1984 THE HOUSE (DAS HAUS/1984), doc. ; banned until 1990 1982 INVENTOR (ERFINDER 82), short doc. ; part of diploma studies, deemed as politically unacceptable by DEFA Studio for Documentary Films and destroyed, terminated studies at Institute for Film and Television Studies 1980 WHY A FILM ABOUT THESE PEOPLE (WOZU DENN ÜBER DIESE LEUTE EINEN FILM), short doc, banned until October 1989