Prominent Cast: Macromedia Students shoot with Annette Frier

What an honour: Macromedia film students Alexander El Ksouri (director, co-author) and Jonas Wahlen (camera operator, producer) were able to cast prominent German actress Annette Frier for their short film Sahra. They shot their film in Lindlar near Cologne within a period of eight days. The result is an intensive chamber drama about prejudice and xenophobia in Germany. The film was produced as a graduation film in the Film and Television programme at Macromedia University and was supervised by Professor Oliver Held.

It is not an easy issue that Alexander El Ksouri, student of film direction at Macromedia, chose to address in his film. After the xenophobic attacks in the German city of Hanau, however, it has gained a grim momentum.

Macromedia Graduation Film critically addresses Attitudes towards Refugees

In his graduation film „Sahra“ El Ksouri powerfully illustrates how xenophobic prejudices and ascriptions still shape people’s attitudes towards refugees in Germany. The eponymous Sahra is a refugee from Syria working as a cleaner for the Ritter family. Sahra, however, is never actually seen in the film. The action is set in motion when mother Franka Ritter (played by Annette Frier) announces that she has invited Sahra to join the family’s dinner.

Intensive Chamber Drama: Carnage as Model

The ensuing discussion, revealing the latently xenophobic mindsets of most family members, is staged as an intensive chamber drama by director Alexander El Ksouri and camera operator Jonas Wahlen. As El Ksouri reports in an article about his film in local newspaper Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, Yasmina Reza’s play Carnage and Roman Polanski’s film adaptation served as an inspiration. They had demonstrated the psychological power of a relatively confined setting in their works.

Annette Frier: Prominent Stage, TV Actress and Comedian

With Annette Frier the film students were lucky to cast an excellent actress, capable of addressing the nuances and subtexts of the emotionally laden screenplay in her acting. Co-author Roland Griem connected them with the prominent Cologne stage and TV actress. Director Alexander El Ksouri still seems overwhelmed: "Words still fail me to adequately describe how impressive the entire shooting experience was." The cast also includes Ingo van Gulijk, Tobias Schäfer, Isabella Schmidtke and Lillian Tilgen.

Further information on the B.A. programme Film and Television at Macromedia

(IMH, translation by Dr. Sascha Klein)