Press Release 11 October 2022 – 20 Short & Feature-Length Films Presented at 19th exground youth days 

This year, in the scope of the 19th edition of youth days, exground filmfest is showing 20 international short and feature-length films for a young film audience, focussing on the lived realities of young individuals. From12 to 16 November, young people from the ages of 12 and 16 can look forward to seven current film productions, each to be presented at Caligari FilmBühne and accompanied by a supporting film.

A GIRL RETURNED [L’ARMINUTA] (IT/CH 2021) by Giuseppe Bonito opens the youth film festival. Based on a novel, it tells the story of an adopted 13-year-old girl who is sent back to her unfamiliar birth family against her will. Not only does she have to come to terms with the mixed feelings that the new surroundings and ostensible reunion trigger in her – the social differences between her adoptive and original families also stand in the way of settling into her new everyday life.

Aysulu Onaran’s BALABAN (KAZ 2021) also portrays divergent circumstances: the Kazakh film revolves around two teenage girls (one from a wealthy family, the other growing up in an orphanage) who meet and fall in love. Both are living with a positive HIV diagnosis. Together, they soon hatch a plan to escape a life determined by the routine consumption of medications. 
PERFORMER (D 2022) focusses on Tim, who is about to graduate from high school and spends his last school days like a normal teenager, or at least so it seems from the outside. But at night, he’s busy shooting videos of himself, in which he performs masculinity, allows his misogyny to run free, speaks about his violent plans and yearns for revenge. Alas, the closer his self-declared judgement day comes, the harder it becomes for him to measure up to his archetypical image of masculinity.
The documentary film GIRL GANG (CH 2022)* shows the precipitous rise of young influencer Leonie. At the ripe age of 14, she is already a global star, delighting millions of followers every day, among other things by promoting products from large companies through her channels. When her parents recognise their daughter’s immense financial potential and begin to manage her, everyone is forced to realise the high toll that this business can take. 

International Youth Film Competition
Once again, this year the films in the competition will be vying for the title of best feature film at exground youth days. A youth jury will decide which director will get to take home prize money in the amount of 2,500 euros, sponsored by the State Capital of Wiesbaden. In addition, an audience award will be presented, endowed with a 1,000-euro prize by the State Capital of Wiesbaden.

Short Films at exground youth days 
A total of six short films, from Spain, Germany, The Netherlands, Tunisia and New Zealand, will be shown before the program’s feature films: XSMALL (ES 2022) tells of the consequences of beauty norms, and how young girls cope with them. Full of anticipation, Tania tries on a new pair of pants at home that she wants to wear for the first time to an upcoming party, where she’d like to make a splash. Horrified, she is forced to concede that they don’t fit her – alas, wearing something else is not an option for Tania.

In SPOTLESS [VLEKKELOOS] (NL 2021), 15-year-old Ruby finds herself faced with her family’s poor financial situation when she gets her period. Since she doesn’t want to bother her mom, who works a ton and solo parents Ruby and her little sister, by asking her for money for tampons or sanitary pads, she resolves to solve the problem on her own. The animated film EDICIUS (TUN 2021) treats bullying and exclusion, showing the multi-facetted events that ultimately lead teenaged Omar to take his own life. The above-mentioned youth jury will also be selecting the best short film in the scope of exground youth days – the accompanying award is endowed with 500 euros in prize money, sponsored by Wiesbadener Kinofestival e. V..

Wiesbaden Youth Film Competition
Wiesbaden-based directorial talents between the ages of 12 and 18 have the opportunity to present their own works on the big screen for the first time. The competition for the best Wiesbaden youth film, featuring seven productions, will open exground youth days this year at 3 p.m. on 12 November at Caligari FilmBühne. The competition is endowed with cash and non-cash prize packages valued at 650 euros. The event will be followed by a screening of Giuseppe Bonito’s A GIRL RETURNED [L’ARMINUTA].

The full festival program will be announced following the press conference (27 October, 11 a.m., Caligari FilmBühne) and will be available at

exground filmfest would like to thank all its supporters and co-operation partners!

* The screening of GIRL GANG on 16 November 2022 at 10:30 a.m. is exclusively intended for schools and students. If you are interested in more details, please contact Medienzentrum Wiesbaden e. V..


End of press release

Press contact:
Wiesbadener Kinofestival e. V.
exground filmfest
Marina Andrée