Dark Dreamers | Albträumer

Phillip Klinger‘s debut film “Dark Dreamers” (German title: “Albträumer“) celebrated its premiere at the Hofer Filmtage 2020 and since then has already had an impressive festival career (including in Braunschweig, Wiesbaden, Biberach). “Dark Dreamers” is a coming-of-age drama with mystery elements, told in intoxicating images and sensitively acted, in which a young woman’s painful search for answers collides with the mental and emotional confinement of her surroundings.


17 year-old Rebekka grows up sheltered in a secluded village in the Black Forest. She is popular with everyone, has had a boyfriend for a long time and supposedly leads a carefree life. But appearances are misleading: since her older brother Dennis jumped to his self-imposed death two years ago, the domestic idyll is only a façade. While her parents are mainly trying to suppress the trauma and to be perceived as a “normal” family by the outside world, the young woman has not yet found a way to deal with her brother’s suicide. Until one day Vincent, Dennis’ best friend, who jumped off the bridge with him and miraculously survived the fall, reappears after a long time.

Immediately, old wounds are reopened in the small village. The village community and Rebekka’s parents blame the eccentric loner for Dennis’ death, but for Rebekka he provides the chance to finally get answers to her pressing questions and to understand who her brother really was.

Despite the contempt they meet from all sides, and although her parents strictly forbid her to see him because they fear they will lose their daughter as well, Rebekka’s slightly morbid fascination with Vincent develops first into a cautious closeness, then into a stormy love. And finally it becomes something that she herself no longer knows whether it is healing or destructive. The more the two young people open up to each other, the further Vincent slips back into the old trauma, and Rebekka is drawn deeper and deeper into her brother’s emotional world. It becomes clear to her that she must dare the painful outbreak in order to escape the fatal maelstrom and find herself.

About director Philipp Klinger

Growing up in a conservative village in the Black Forest, Philipp Klinger found refuge and a home early on in theatre, the visual arts, creative writing and film. After graduating from high school with a Scheffel Prize award and training as a media designer, he worked as an editor and assistant director on feature films and commercials. With his first short film “Das Institut der verlorenen Dinge (2010), he managed to gain admission to the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg, where he studied scenic directing as a scholarship holder of the renowned “Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes”.

In 2014, at the height of the Gezi protests, he completed a semester abroad at Kadir Has University in Istanbul. There he realised a documentary social spot for the NGO Mavi Kalem, which campaigns for children with a refugee background and women’s rights. He has also been active in social institutions for years, with a focus on media education projects with children and young people. During his studies, he realised various short films that were screened and awarded at numerous national and international festivals. His last three short films, co-produced with SWR and arte, were also broadcast by BR and ARD. 

Filmography (selection)

2020 Albträumer (feature film, 93 Min), director & co-writer
2018 Feuertaufe (short film, 20 Min), director & co-writer
2015 Die Blaue Sophia (short film, 8 Min), director
2014 Mavi Kalem (social spot, 8 Min), director, cinematography, editing
2013 Am Ende Licht (short film, 45 Min), director & co-writer
2010 Das Institut der verlorenen Dinge (short film 15 Min), director, co-writer & producer

His debut film “Dark Dreamers“, also co-produced by SWR, premiered at the International Film Festival Hof, was nominated for various awards and won both the jury prize in the “International Youth Film Competition” and the audience award for the “best feature-length film” at the exground filmfest Wiesbaden. Philipp Klinger works as a freelance writer and director in Berlin.

Original title: Albträumer

Director: Philipp Klinger

Screenplay: Simon Thummet, Philipp Klinger (Book editing)

Actors: Sarah Mahita, Béla Gabor Lenz, Stephan Szasz, Birge Schade, Andreas Warmbrunn, Gustav Schmidt, Valerie Stoll, Julia Brendler

Producer: Christoph Holthof, Daniel Reich

Production manager: Sebastian Ebert

Production coordinator: Patricia Langenhan

Cinematography: Adrian Langenbach

Sound: Christoph Schilling

Editing: Bastian Epple

Visual effects: Marco Zanoni

Production design: Cosima Vellenzer

Costume design: Teresa Crosser

Make-up: Heidi Wick

Sound Design: Robin Harff

Music: Francesco Wilking, Patrick Reising


Production company: Kurhaus Production

Year of production: 2020

Genre: Drama

Country: Germany

Language: German

Subtitles: English


Length: 93 Min

Rating: FSK 12

Aspect ratio: 2.39 : 1

Sound: Surround 5.1, Stereo 2.0

Resolution: digital 2K

Other titles:

English: Dark Dreamers


2020 exground filmfest Wiesbaden: Jury Prize “Best International Youth Film” -> Albträumer

2020 exground filmfest Wiesbaden: audience award “best feature film” -> Albträumer

Filmlabel: Artkeim²

Distribution: UCM.ONE


Theatrical release: August 12, 2021

DVD-Start: tba

VoD-Start: tba

Director’s note by Philipp Klinger

„An unusually large number of suicides and murders occurred in the small village in the Black Forest where I grew up – my best friend was among the victims. But the abysses behind the white garden fences were hardly ever talked about, because the possible realisations were too painful and shocking. 

Suicide and mental illness are no longer a taboo subject in public, but are often repressed and stigmatised in the personal sphere. Relatives and loved ones often feel powerless and lost, as do the patients themselves. With “Dark Dreamers“, I want to give space to these feelings, raise understanding for the individual facets and create a resonance space in which the audience can empathise with the healing process of Rebekka, the main character, at close quarters. 

Just as she increasingly dares to change perspectives, the boundaries also become more fluid for the audience and simple, monocausal answers to the question of why become increasingly insufficient. 

Because Rebekka’s preoccupation with her brother’s suicide calls into question the village way of life, her mourning ultimately leads to emancipation and escape. This self-realisation has a unique energy: the radically subjective sensuality of youthful perception, of first love, of first loss. A force that shakes Rebekka’s world to its foundations, but in its truthfulness also finally makes real healing possible.

That is what I focus on in this film. I want to encourage people to see necessity, even grace and beauty in the destructive energy of change.”

About Sarah Mahita (Rebekka)

Sarah Mahita was born in Filderstadt in 1997. From 2005 to 20011 she was a member of the Junges Ensemble Stuttgart (JES) children’s and youth theatre, where she appeared on stage in productions including “Wir sind Kunst“, “Wo bist du Zuhause” and “Mein unmögliches Leben“. From 2014 to 2019 she appeared in the television series “Dr. Klein“. Several recurring and episodic roles in TV series followed, as well as the impressive TV drama “Atempause” directed by Aelrun Goette. In 2017 she then received her first major leading role in the web series “Technically Single“. In the acclaimed feature film “Bonnie & Bonnie” (2019) by Ali Hakim, she starred alongside Emma Drogunova in the lead role of Kiki. For her portrayal of Rebekka in the drama “Dark Dreamers“, she was nominated for the “Braunschweig Film Award” alongside Béla Gabor Lenz at the Braunschweig International Film Festival in 2020.

Filmography (selection)

2020 Beckenrand Sheriff (director: Marcus H. Rosenmüller) – feature film
2020 Albträumer (director: Philipp Klinger) – feature film
2019 Wir sind die Welle (directors: Anca Lazarescu & Mark Monheim) – Netflix series
2018 Bonnie und Bonnie (director: Ali Hakim) – feature film
2017 A Schicht über’d Lieb (director: Peter Evers) – feature film
2017 Atempause (director: Aelrun Goette) – feature film
2017 Technically Single (director: Sebastian Stojetz) – web series

About Béla Gabor Lenz (Vincent)

Béla Gabor Lenz was born in Duisburg in 1997. In 2007, at the age of nine, he was already acting in the musical “Vom Geist der Weihnacht” in Duisburg. At the age of twelve, he went to a boarding school for actors in Munich, where he was trained in singing and acting, before returning to his hometown of Viersen at the age of 15 to attend the Clara-Schumann-Gymnasium. In the summer of 2013, he appeared in front of the camera for the first time for the TV film “Die Auserwählten“. In the film, which deals with the cases of abuse at the Odenwald School, Lenz played alongside Ulrich Tukur, among others. Many other cinema and television roles followed starring alongside well-known actors such as Katja Riemann, Corinna Harfouch and Anton Rattinger.

At First Steps 2019, he was nominated for the “Götz George Young Actor Award” for the role of Leon in “Benzin“. In 2020, he received a nomination for “Best Young German-Language Actor” at the Braunschweig International Film Festival together with Sarah Mahita for the role of Vincent in “Dark Dreamers“.

Filmography (selection)

2020 Wild Republic (directors: Lennart Ruff & Markus Goller) – series
2020 Albträumer (director: Philipp Klinger) – feature film
2019 Dark III (director: Baran bo Odar) – series
2019 Wir sind die Welle (directors: Anca Lazarescu & Mark Monheim) – Netflix series
2018 Benzin (director: Oliver Mohr) – feature film
2016 1000 Arten Regen zum Beschreiben (director: Isabel Prahl) – feature film
2015 Der Körper des Astronauten (director: Alisa Berger) – feature film

Production company

kurhaus production is an independent film production company in Baden-Baden, which was founded in spring 2007 by Christoph Holthof and Daniel Reich. kurhaus production develops and produces feature and documentary films as well as documentary series for the German and international cinema and TV market.

With now twelve feature film productions as well as the production of documentary series and documentaries, it has been possible to set up the company broadly and versatile. In particular, thanks to the success of “Unter Nachbarn” (broadcast on the renowned ARD primetime slot “Filmmittwoch im Erste”, “Goldene Kamera” for Charly Hübner) and “Freier Fall” (Berlinale 2013, 100,000 moviegoers, various foreign sales) kurhaus production has made a name for itself in the film industry and is recognized by film funding institutions and television broadcasters alike. In the past three years, the production volume has increased significantly. The good cooperation with the SWR and the MFG Filmförderung Baden-Württemberg has proven itself. Further co-production partners such as arte, ARD Degeto, KIKA & ZDF were added.

Festivals (selection)

  • 54th Hof International Film Festival 2020: Competition, nomination Hofer Goldpreis & Förderpreis Neues Deutsches Kino
  • 42nd Biberach Film Festival 2020: Competition, nomination for the best debut feature film
  • 34th Braunschweig International Film Festival 2020: nomination for the jury award, audience award, youth award “KINEMA” and “Braunschweiger Filmpreis 2020” for both main actors
  • 33rd exground Filmfest Wiesbaden 2020: Prize of the Youth Jury, Audience Prize for the best feature film in the International Youth Film Competition
  • 26th Baden-Württemberg Film Show 2020: Competition
  • 47th International Film Weekend Würzburg: Competition

Trigger warning (the media handling of the subject of suicide)

The media have an important role in society in the public and individual perception of problems and events. They influence individual and social attitudes and opinions on suicidality and suicide. Sensitive media coverage can therefore have a preventive effect. The majority of people considering suicide are ambivalent about making that decision. Often the focus is not on the desire to die, but on the idea of not being able to go on living as before. The people affected are in an extreme crisis-ridden emotional and psychological state of emergency. In this situation, media reports about suicides can influence the decision or impulse to commit suicide on the one hand, but also to seek help on the other.

Source: National Suicide Prevention Program (NaSPro)

We try to keep this careful handling of the subject of suicide in the reporting on “Albträumer” and ask all media and multipliers to do the same. Further information on the subject of suicide prevention can be found here, among others: suicide prevention

Technical datas

DVD | Picture: 2.39:1 in 16:9 | Sound: German (Dolby Digital 5.1), German (Dolby Digital 2.0) | Subtitles: English | Rating: FSK 12

VoD | Picture: 2.39:1 in 16:9 | Sound: German (Dolby Digital 5.1), German (Dolby Digital 2.0) | Subtitles: German, English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Russian, Turkish, Arabic, Chinese (not all subtitles at all portals) | Rating: FSK 12

Dark Dreamers | Trailer (German with English subtitles) ᴴᴰ

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Press comments

“An impressive debut with perhaps the toughest soundtrack in German film history.” (Süddeutsche Zeitung)

“A radical, disturbingly intense film on the subject of suicide.” (Cinema)

“A tense mix of drama and thriller that takes its subject and characters seriously and benefits from its talented lead actress Sarah Mahita.” (Spielfilm.de)

“With its strong imagery, believable actors and a fitting sound design, Nightmare is, in its best moments, like a cross between Nightmare and The Samurai.”” (Deadline)


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