Touching Concrete

a film by Ilja Stahl

Touching Concrete

Germany | 2017 | 58:00 min

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16-year-old Tebogo and 15-year-old Karabo live in Johannesburg's central district Hillbrow. In underground car parks, on high rise roofs and in nocturnal streets they dawdle away the time, somewhere between boredom and energy to burn.
Writer and director Ilja Stahl's graduation film at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne was supported by the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW and shot entirely in Johannesburg/South Africa.
"Touching Concrete" celebrates its world premiere at the DOK Leipzig Filmfestival 2017 in the 'German competition'.
Nominated for ver.di Prize for Solidarity, Humanity and Fairness, DEFA Sponsoring Prize

DOK Leipzig catalogue, Ralph Eue:
An enriching encounter! Whether coincidental or stage-managed isn’t relevant for the further interactions between filmmaker and filmed subjects. Because that “feeling of being there” described by Richard Leacock as the essence of the documentary soon eclipses all doubts and reservations. Impressed by the sure sense of style with which Ilja Stahl establishes the “right” kind of intimacy with his youthful protagonists in an overpopulated neighbourhood of Johannesburg, one feels happy to be allowed to drift with 16-year-old Tebogo and 15-year-old Karabo through their turf as a spectator for one summer. Their turf, that’s underground car parks, high rise roofs, nocturnal streets, where they dawdle away the time, somewhere between boredom and energy to burn.
The conflicts with their single mothers, however, the violence and death in the streets are omnipresent. Karabo feels the pressure more and more while Tebogo sees it as a continuous supply of material for games. He lives by the “anyway” principle when he balances on the parapet of a high rise roof or dances into the path of moving cars with friends and defies everything with a provoking smile. It’s touching how the future looms over these kids’ presence. But they refuse to allow it to rule them. At least not yet.
Cast and Crew
  • Director Ilja Stahl
  • Producer Jonas Weydemann
  • Director of Photography Niclas Reed Middleton
  • Editor Florian Riegel
Original Languages



Production Company
Körners. 45, 50823 Köln

Phone: +49 30 67928270
Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln | KHM
Peter-Welter-Platz 2, 50676 Köln

Fax: +49 221 2018917

Phone: +49 221 201890
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