People from all over the world meet on a weekly basis at the Atelier de conversation of the Bibliothèque publique d’information located in the Centre Pompidou in Paris to practice their French. Refugees of war sit together with businessmen, easy-going students next to victims of political persecution. As diverse as its members might be, they have one goal in common that connects all of them: to learn the language and find companions while living abroad – if not to survive living abroad. At this hopeful place social and cultural borders dissolve. People, who otherwise would never be in touch, meet eye to eye.

Dans la Bibliothèque publique d‘information, au Centre Pompidou de Paris, des personnes venant des quatre coins du monde se rencontrent, chaque semaine, dans l‘Atelier de conversation pour parler français. Les réfugiés de guerre côtoient les hommes d‘affaire, les étudiants insouciants croisent les victimes de persécutions politiques. Malgré leurs différences, participantes et participants partagent des objectifs communs : apprendre la langue et trouver des alliés pour pouvoir (sur)vivre à l‘étranger. C‘est dans ce lieu rempli d‘espoir où les frontières sociales et culturelles s‘effacent que des individus, dont les routes ne se seraient jamais croisées, se rencontrent d‘égal à égal.

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Sales/Distribution international: SIXPACKFILM
Distribution France:  ASC DISTRIBUTION
Distribution Austria: POLYFILM


AT/FR/LI, 2017, 72 Min.
DCP, French OV, French with English or German subtitles


Opening Film, Cinéma du rèel 2017, Paris/France

Documentary Special Jury Prize, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 2017, Karlovy Vary/Czech Republic

ARTE Documentary Film Prize, Duisburger Filmwoche 2017, Duisburg/Germany


Author and director: Bernhard Braunstein

Camera: Adrien Lecouturier

Editing: Roland Stöttinger

Dramaturgical advice: Lucile Chaufour

Sound: Nicolas Joly, Clément Maléo, Alexandre Andrillon, Philippe Schillinger

Sound mix, sound editing: Nicolas Joly

Color correction: Dimitri Aschwanden

Music: Lucile Chaufour

Graphics: Matthias van Baaren

Producers: Bernhard Braunstein, Dominik Tschütscher

Production company: schaller08 (A), Supersonicglide (F)

Funding: Bundeskanzleramt Österreich – innovative film austria, BKA Startstipendium Film, Land Salzburg Kultur, Kulturstiftung Liechtenstein, Stadt Salzburg Kultur

In collaboration with: Bpi – Bibliothéque publique d’information, Centre Pompidou


Interview: Bernhard Braunstein and Raphael Casadesus, for FilmDoo, September 2017

Joachim Schätz for sixpackfilm 2017 / Martin Horyna for Karlovy Vary Film Festival 2017


“A benevolent dictator under these circumstances,” says Norbert Abeles, protagonist of the eponymous documentary, “is the best thing. He uses the reigning conditions for the benefit of the people.” What conditions are they? Conditions like those that prevail in Malawi, where Abeles has lived for more than thirty years: primarily a vicious circle of intense poverty and little opportunity for education. Conditions produced by colonialism, which persist as its legacy even after the country´s liberation.

What makes Abeles´ statement so remarkable is that it comes from someone who himself had to flee from a dictator. As the child of Jewish parents, he was brought to Great Britain by the so-called “Kindertransports” in 1938. He left his mother behind in Vienna (she was later deported by the Nazis and murdered), his father had already committed suicide one year earlier. In 1956 Abeles came to Africa as a colonial official in the British Colonial Service. He now resides in Nkhotakota on Lake Malawi, where he lives with his wife and a staff of ten.

Is Norbert Abeles the prototype of that benevolent dictator announced in the film´s title? He is, because he isn´t: he pays his staff the legal minimum wage, which he says is not enough for either school payments or daily bread. No wonder that his staff is dependent on him, owes him money. But in return, he treats them “in certain respects” like family members. Nonetheless: his action is not motivated by the welfare of the “people,” but his own advantage. The camera shows us what everyday life might look like under these neo-feudal conditions: Malawian men and women who tend to the garden, clear the table, care for chickens, guard the house, and in doing so, refrain mainly from one thing: speaking. (Vrääth Öhner)

Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt


A film by Albert Lichtblau, Bernhard Braunstein and Martin Hasenöhrl
AT/FR 2016, 35 min, DCP
Production: schaller08 und supersonicglide


Cinema du réel, Paris
Jihlava East Silver Market


Austro-American Youth is a film about the loss of home in one’s own country, about the recovery of happiness in a foreign country, and a new threat from scratch. In 1941, youthful refugees from Nazi Austria founded the club Austro-American Youth in New York. In a short time, the group becomes a sort of home for several hundred people. There are excursions to the greenery, dancing, singing, gossiping, and not a few find in the club the love for life. But behind the unshakable facade of the Austro-American Youth, there is also an explosive political dimension. The war is only a few years past, the freedom gained is still quite fresh, and fate hits a second time. America is in the cold war and Senator Joseph McCarthy blows to the communist chase. Two co-founders of the club are exposed as Communist spies, and the entire group is targeted by the FBI.


Idea and director: Albert Lichtblau
Camera: Bernhard Braunstein
Editing: Martin Hasenöhrl
Premiere 2017


From the first high mountain to the sea, that’s the plan. Along the main chain of the High Atlas, a five-headed Austro-Moroccan mountaineer group sets out to cross the highest mountain chain of North Africa in length. Along old mule trails, the route leads not only into breathtaking high mountain landscapes and across six 4000m summits, but also to the traditional clay villages of the Atlas Berbers. The encounters with the people in the valleys are just as part of the journey as the remote expanse of the snow-capped peaks and elevations of the Atlas Mountains.

* Chubz, (arab.) bread


A film by Andreas Hasenöhrl
Cast: David Falch, Andreas und Martin Hasenöhrl, Adnan Khzoum, Rupert Weber u.a.
Editing: Andreas und Martin Hasenöhrl
Music: Fritz Moßhammer und Youness Paco
Sounddesign: Wolfgang Spannberger
Austria/Morocco 2015, 63 min.


A poetic documentary about dreamers and the development of dream landscapes in the development process of Polaroids.

‘Those who are prevented from dreaming for a long time must inevitably go mad,’ says Michael Ende. There are people who believe that the world was created by dreaming hikers. From the glimmering nothingness of the primordial age, the structures of dreams formed, the tangible grew out of the incomprehensible. This mystical process is amazingly similar to the development process of a Polaroid photo. At first only white, then shadows and hunches, in the end the image of a world we have not yet seen. The dream film follows this unheard-of movement, which floats image material from the depths of the subconscious to the surface. The collective dream factories are turned to the back, the very individual journey into the realm of the double exposures is the focus.


Author and director: Bernhard Braunstein
Documentary, 27 min, HD
Camera: Martin Hasenöhrl
Production: schaller08, supersonicglide


Holy Waters is a film about people worshipping water. And a movie about my grandmother who abhors water. Starting point is a small spring in the Upper Austrian province, which becomes a great reflection of human longing. An associative journey into the realm of energized water, around the devotees, the butcher, the doctor from Lourdes, and the prominent water guru from Japan. A film about the substance of all life, and an approach to existential questions. Can water wonders work, and can liver cheese be sacred?



Title: Holy Waters
Documentary, 74 min., HDCAM
Author and director: David Gross
Camera: Daniel Samer
Editing: Bernhard Braunstein
Sound: Korbinian Blöckner


Crossing Europe 2012


A portrait of the author Gerhard Amanshauser, who died in the autumn of 2006, which is the starting point of his never-ending book project ‘Traveling in my own room’: his life and work are in dialogue with each other in the form of scenic and literary excursions and filmmaking trips into the past. Film-translated delirium and visions attempt to break the disease-related isolation.




ORIGINAL TITLE (german): Reisen im eigenen Zimmer – Der Schriftsteller Gerhard Amanshauser
DIRECTORS: Bernhard Braunstein/David Gross
SCRIPT: Braunstein/Groß
CAMERA: Bernhard Braunstein
EDITING: Braunstein/Groß
CAST: Gerhard Amanshauser
YEAR: 2007
LANGUAGE: deutsch
PRODUCTION: Braunstein/Gross
FUNDING: bm:ukk, Stadt und Land Salzburg, Stadt Wien, offscreen


Solothurner Filmtage


okto (oktoscop)


Special mention of the jury (Diagonale)


“Be the change you want to see in the world” – true to the motto of his great model Mahatma Gandhi, now 33-year-old Gregor Sieböck declined a job at the World Bank to walk around the world . He has traveled over 15,000 kilometers since then: on the Way of St. James, across Patagonia, on the old Inca-road through South America, through the USA, Japan and New Zealand. In the three years of his hike, he has gone further than many of us in their whole life – and this in a double sense, because ‘one has to let go to get ahead’. A portrait of the wanderer between the worlds Gregor Sieböck.




Idea, director, camera and editing: Martin Hasenöhrl
Sound: Heinrich Hasenöhrl
Production: schaller08
AT 2010, 61 min, HDV


Crossing Europe
Bergfilmfestival Salzburg
Filmfestival Radstadt


“Pharaoh Bipolar” is a cinematic experience in the field of art and disease – an encounter with the bipolar actor Werner Ludvig Buchmayer, who has suffered from the bipolar disorder (formerly manic depression) since his fifteenth birthday. We have witnessed the filming of his ‘Pharaoh film’, from the first casting to the premiere, high-altitude flights on the set and a deep fall into psychiatry, and went on a quest for the human being caught between two extreme Poles. The inner turmoil of the protagonist transfers to his family environment and is also reflected in the reactions of society, which raises the question: who is actually ‘crazy’ here and who ‘normal’?


Title: Pharao Bipolar
Directors: Bernhard Braunstein/David Gross
Idea: Braunstein/Gross
Camera: Braunstein/Gross
Editing: Dieter Pichler
Cast: Werner Ludvig Buchmayer
Documentary, DV-CAM, 60min
YEAR: 2008
LANGUAGE: german
PRDUCTION: mischief films, Braunstein/Gross
SUPPORT: Stadt und Land Salzburg, offscreen


Preis der Diözese Graz-Seckau/Diagonale 2006
Lobende Erwähnung der Jugend-Jury Diagonale 2006


In the Bavarian-Salzburg border region an ancient heathen tradition is still practiced with great enthusiasm: the so called ‘Aperschnalzen’. While the wicked winter spirits were to be expelled by the loud sounds of the whip, this now affects the opposing teams. One of these teams, the ‘Pass’ Gois IV, accompanies the director and Schnalzer Martin Hasenöhrl during their six-week training for the ‘Great Rupertigaupreisschnalzen’, where more than 1500 active ‘Schnalzer’ from Bavaria and Salzburg – there and here – meet each year. A film not only for ‘Schnalzer’, but also for those who want to slip into this role. A film also for all those who have always wanted to understand what these men are doing right there and not at least a portrait of a small village in the exceptional state.



Author, director, editing: Martin Hasenöhrl
Camera: Martin Hasenöhrl, Markus Schulze, Marcus Bartos, Peter Schreiner
Sound: Leonhard Schwärz
Production: Martin Hasenöhrl in collaboration with the Academy of Media Arts, Cologne
AT/DE 2007, 86 min. MiniDV, Colour 4:3 Letterbox, Stereo


offscreen – offenes film forum salzburg
Gemeinde Wals-Siezenheim


Max-Ophüls-Preis Saarbrücken Reihe Spektrum
Diagonale Graz
Stranger than fiction Köln
Filmfestival Radstadt
Salzburger Bergfilmfestival


OKTO TV Wien – Oktoskop


A residential complex in the vicinity of the station in Salzburg: the object of the offense – and the impetus for the filmmakers to penetrate unknown worlds of life. The journey through empty corridors, along karger walls into the interior of this microcosm, is characterized by the feedback between foreign and own voyeurism – and ultimately develops into a history of failure. Head station as a metaphor end station.




GERMAN TITLE: Kopfbahnhof
DIRECTORS: Bernhard Braunstein/Martin Hasenöhrl
SCRIPT: Braunstein/Hasenöhrl
CAMERA: Bernhard Braunstein
EDITING: Braunstein/Hasenöhrl


Documentary, DVCAM, 70 min.
YEAR: 2003
LANGUAGE: deutsch
PRODUCTION: Braunstein/Hasenöhrl
FUNDING: offscreen – offenes film forum salzburg, Stadt und Land Salzburg


Diagonale04 – special mention of the jury
Filmfestival Cork – Ireland


okto (oktoscop)