by Mark Michel


Germany | 2017 | 84:00 min

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A film about the power of imagination. To lead her life, Veronika is completely dependent on the help of others, yet her exuberant interior world gives her strength.

Since her earliest childhood, Veronika Raila has been living with severe physical impairments and Asperger syndrome. She can neither speak, nor walk nor fulfill her everyday needs without assistance. When she was a child, her IQ tested zero. Today she studies at university, writes poetry and prose and can express herself with facilitated communication. Veronika possesses a keen mind and a heightened sensory perception. Within Veronika spaces open where reality appears as colors, sounds and abstract shapes. She processes these impressions in her poems and stories.

The documentary essay „Sand Girl“ takes us on a cinematic journey to the young author’s wondrous secret and captivating world. Through associative images, observations of everyday life and selected texts by Veronika Raila the film creates a space for touching encounters and moments of bonding. The focus is less on illness and impairment than the quest for the life force itself. A poetic meditation about what is often hard for humans to grasp, the nature of what we call mind and soul.

„Sandgirl“ was produced in close cooperation with Veronika Raila.
awarded bei the Young Jury Best Documentary - DOK Leipzig
Best of 2018- Cinemateca Natcional del Ecuador
Grand Prix Bosifest Belgrad
DRK MedienPrize
Filmfest Frauenwelten - Terre des Femmes
Festival Cinema Transcendencia Brasilia
35 Kassel Dokfest
Filmkusttage Sachsen-Anhalt
Sanfici Festival Int. de Cine Independiente, Columbia
NHRIFF - Nepal Human Rights IFF Kathmandu

Cast and Crew
  • Director Mark Michel
  • Screenwriter Mark Michel, Veronika Raila
  • Sound Christian Schunke
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