The feature film “Survival in Brandenburg” by Zoltan Paul and Ben von Grafenstein celebrated its cinema premiere on 11 April 2024 at the traditional Berlin cinema Babylon in Berlin Mitte to an almost sold-out audience.

Jan Kerhart & Sandra Maischberger
Jan Kerhart & Sandra Maischberger

The highly topical comedy about the ageing filmmaker Laszló Kovacs(Zoltan Paul), who fights his way out of a personal crisis of meaning by running as a mayoral candidate against a right-wing populist, delighted the audience. Following the projection, which was moderated by filmmaker Ina Borrmann, director and editor Ben von Grafenstein introduced the production team around producers Clementina Hegewisch, Sandra Maischberger and Jan Kerhart as well as the cast around Adele Neuhauser, Joachim Paul Assböck, Ralph Herforth, Sabine Waibel, Laszlo I. Kish, Attila Borlan, André Fischer and many more, and shed light on the special features of the completion of this last feature film by Zoltan Paul.

Clementina Hegewisch & Ben von Grafenstein
Clementina Hegewisch & Ben von Grafenstein

Zoltan Paul (real name: Zoltan Paul Pajzs Freiherr von Rácalmás), born in Budapest in 1953, sadly died unexpectedly in 2022 shortly after the main shooting was completed and long before the film was finished.


Laszlo Kovac, auteur filmmaker, has the financing for his film project cancelled. Too old, white and heart problems! Conclusion: no longer employable. Didn’t the Hungarian from Lake Balaton once want to aim high? What now? Continue to be on his successful wife’s back? Laszlo slips into a real life crisis and initially finds solace in the fascinating attraction of a “crazy woman” from the neighbouring village. But when a right-wing populist stands as the only candidate for mayor in the village of 120 souls, Laszlo comes to his senses. In order to “prevent the right-wing idiot”, he puts himself forward as a liberal counter-candidate.

The only question that remains is whether Laszlo’s marriage and he himself will survive the village election campaign?

Director’s commentary by Ben von Grafenstein

“Survival in Brandenburg is a comedy about getting older, the trials and tribulations of the post-midlife crisis, a film with a highly topical reference to the political situation in Germany and Europe. ÜberLeben in Brandenburg addresses the dangerous rise of right-wing populism in rural areas. Despite the important social and political background, it was important to us, the makers, to give the story an entertaining and light touch with a feel-good rhythm. The film draws its comedic power primarily from Zoltan Paul’s self-ironic and unsparing portrayal and his honest and courageous approach to his own story.

Unfortunately, there is something very sad about the film’s genesis.

Zoltan and I lived on the same lake in Brandenburg, just a few rowing strokes away from each other. We spent almost every weekend there with friends. We drank, argued, had inspiring and less inspiring (film) conversations – a bit like in the film. A few years ago, Zoltan asked me if I would like to work with him on his last film before he retired. I was involved in film projects myself and had to cancel. Then Zoltan died suddenly and we were all shocked. The main shooting had been completed, but the unfinished, not yet functioning film lay idle. After a long struggle, I decided to take over the baton, the directing. With the support and trust of producer Tina Hegewisch, Vincent TV, Jan Kerhart and Sandra Maischberger, we edited, reshot a little and finally brought the film to life. Überleben in Brandenburg is a film about life and survival. A political, entertaining, feel-good film, a film about Zoltan Paul: a humorous bon vivant, a colleague – a loyal friend.”

Surviving Brandenburg | Trailer (German) ᴴᴰ

You are currently viewing a placeholder content from Youtube. To access the actual content, click the button below. Please note that doing so will share data with third-party providers.

More Information

More information about the movie: Surviving Brandenburg

More information about the film label: Darling Berlin