Press Release: 16th Edition of exground youth days Will Open with THE ORPHANAGE (PARWARESHGAH) by Shahrbanoo Sadat

exground filmfest – Youth Film Program I 16 - 21 November

The 16th edition of exground youth days, the youth film section of exground filmfest, will open on 16 November, 2019, at 17:30 with a screening of THE ORPHANAGE (PARWARESHGAH) by Shahrbanoo Sadat at Wiesbaden’s Caligari FilmBühne. Running from 16 to 21 November, the exground youth days will present an exciting program consisting of 16 short and feature-length films from 24 countries (including international co-productions) that provide insight into the diverse everyday experiences of young individuals. While the International Youth Film Competition features short and feature-length films from established and emerging directors from around the world, the Wiesbaden Youth Film Competition focuses on works by young filmmaking talents from Wiesbaden and the surrounding area. A total of 4,650 euros in cash and non-cash prizes will be awarded in the scope of the two competitions.

Opening film exground youth days: 


Directed by Shahrbanoo Sadat Afghanistan/Denmark/Germany/France/Qatar/Luxemburg 2019 / 96 min. / Farsi OV w/ German and English subtitles

Afghanistan 1989: cinema is 15-year-old Qodrat’s one true love. It’s not just that he daydreams himself into colourful Bollywood films as a protagonist. He even earns money in the film biz, by scalping cheap theatre tickets at marked-up prices. Alas, this eventually draws the attention of the police, who stick him in a Soviet-run orphanage. A new, exciting world begins to open up for Qodrat, while outside the mujahedeen draw ever nearer. 

As in her award-winning debut film WOLF AND SHEEP (2016), director Shahrbanoo Sadat once again places children in Afghanistan at the centre of the story in THE ORPHANAGE, while also once again casting bright young acting talent Quodratollah Qadiri in the lead role. Sadat has created a touching film about the dreams of a young individual whose life is marked by both internal and external upheaval.  

International Youth Film Competition: Revolution, Social Media Hype and the Clash between Tradition and Modernity

The British production BEATS by Brian Welsh also revolves around adolescents headed for adulthood in politically turbulent times. The scene is Scotland in the summer of 1994 and the political mood is heated: public assemblies have been banned in an attempt to prevent clashes between rebels and police. Best friends Spanner and Johnno have grown up next door to one another in a working-class part of town. On their way to an illegal rave, the two boys – destined to part ways soon as life sends them off on separate paths – become immersed in an anarchical underworld. Against this backdrop of 1990s rave culture, Brian Welsh has lovingly captured a bitter-sweet coming-of-age story in impressive black and white images.

From the ecstatic beats of the rave movement, the program pivots to the energetic protests of Brazil’s young population in Eliza Capai’s YOUR TURN (ESPERO TUA (RE)VOLTA). This award-winning documentary, which focuses on the experiences, passions and fears of a young generation protesting for the right to an education, develops a compelling sense of urgency as it proceeds. With YOUR TURN, Eliza Capai has managed to produce a contemporary study of the protest movements and their development up to the election of extreme right-wing politician Jair Bolsonaro to the Brazilian presidency.

In her documentary JAWLINE (USA, 2019), Liza Mandelup also provides a revealing look at a contemporary phenomenon. Mandelup follows 16-year-old Austyn Tester on his daily quest to increase his likes and followers in the hopes of leaving the constricting surroundings of his depressing hometown somewhere in Tennessee behind. The lure of potential success comes in the form of manager Michael Weist, whose Instagram boys receive millions of clicks, in spite of their dubious reputation. 

In her fiction feature debut FLESH OUT (Italy, 2019), Michela Occhipinti dives into a completely different world. According to a Mauritanian tradition, brides-to-be are supposed to put on weight, for only women with curvaceous figures correspond to the West African nation’s conception of ideal beauty. Verida’s wedding is only three months away, and she is supposed to put on 20 kilos in the interim, by torturing herself with an extreme reverse-diet regime (featuring six meals a day and couscous with milk at night) that takes its toll both physically and mentally. When another man shows interest in her, Verida finally falls headlong into an internal crisis, caught between tradition and modernity. Michela Occhipinti’s first feature-length outing is inspired by a true story.

Short Films at exground youth days

In the International Youth Film Competition, eight international short films, each of which will be screened prior to a feature-length film presentation, take a look at the experiential and emotional worlds of young protagonists. For the second time, the youth jury will be awarding a prize for best short film, worth 500 euros, sponsored by Wiesbadener Kinofestival e.V.

Among other highlights, the programme features the Israeli production GIRL ON A BIKE by Thekra Mekalde, in which a Muslim girl lives out her passion for cycling, even though it’s considered “inappropriate” for women. The group of adolescents portrayed in Martin A. Walther’s documentary TRAIN ROBBERS (TOGRǾVERE) (Norway) also flaunt social conventions and the pressure to conform with their frequent train robbery capers back in the 1990s. Finally, in SHADOW CUT by Lucy Suess (New Zealand, 2018), a young man tries to find a way to escape a stifling existence in rural New Zealand, while hesitating to confide his intentions to his best friend.

In the Wiesbaden Youth Film Competition, regional filmmaking talents have the opportunity to present their work for the first time on the big screen.

The full program for exground 23 will be available online at from October, 28th, 2019.

exground filmfest would like to thank all of its supporters and sponsors.


Press Contact

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Dagny Kleber
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