The Art of the Argument

a film by Gereon Wetzel

The Art of the Argument

Germany | 2018 | 97:00 min

Content Categories

Four young law students from the LMU München in Germany are participants in an international law competition, the legendary Jessup Moot Court. Celia, Mahja, Nina and Clemens are in their early twenties and have no previous knowledge of international law and have a few weeks to become experts in questions of mass-surveillance, cyber-attacks and whistle-blowing. Students from the world's best universities present their cases to top-class legal professionals. The students are supervised by three Coaches, who give them topical advice but also train them in rhetoric and public speaking. Only if the four protagonists work as a team can they become 'world champions of international law'.

Two nations take their matter to the International Court of Justice. They have a hard-fought argument over a mass surveillance program, terrorism, and a whistle-blower. What sounds like recent reality of the spying scandal concerning Edward Snowden is a fictional setting, grounding the most important competition in international law, the Jessup Moot Court. Four young students from LMU Munich, Germany embark on the challenge of tackling these pressing legal issues of our time and of defending their nation as lawyers in front of top-class legal professionals. They fight from round to round to reach the prestigious finals in Washington where the best universities from around the world meet.

Frederico Frost, a top agent of Riesland’s intelligence service, hands over gigabytes of data to neighbouring Amestonia’s press, which prove the mass surveillance of Amestonia and its citizens by Riesland. The subsequent diplomatic crisis brings the two nations directly before the International Court.
This fictional case, inspired by the Edward Snowden scandal, is the setting for the Jessup Moot Court, the world championship in international law. About 150 teams of the world’s best universities gather at this tournament to compete as lawyers for the two nations. In simulated trials, the teams have to find loopholes,
persuade top judges, and checkmate their competitors rhetorically in filled court rooms.
Four young students from Munich CELIA (22), MAHJA (20), NINA (21) and CLEMENS (20), have registered for this legendary competition. They have a few weeks to become experts on mass surveillance and cyber law to be able to convincingly represent a whole nation in court.
Will they be able to overcome sleep deprivation and blackouts to become a team that can beat the best universities of the world in this championships to reach the renowned finals in Washington?
CPH:DOX – Internationales Dokumentarfilmfestival Kopenhagen
DOK.fest Munich – Internationales Dokumentarfilmfestival München
Verzio 15 Budapest
This Human World Vienna
Cast and Crew
  • Director Gereon Wetzel
  • Producer Thomas Herberth, Florian Brüning, Alireza Golafshan
  • Director of Photography Gereon Wetzel
  • Assistant director Till Cöster
Original Languages



Production Company
Preysingstr. 24, 81667 München

Phone: +49 89 30783701
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