“Datsche” by Lara Hewitt is the name of the opening film of the first Darling, Berlin! Berlin, Sayang! Berlin, Teerak! online festival. The film is about the Valentine, an out-of-work New York actor, who travels across the Atlantic in order to discover his German roots and stay at the ‘datsche’ or summer cottage that he inherited…
For those looking for refuge from troubled times, the last safe haven might be…Germany. But Europe’s new superpower is a land of strange habits and rules that are not there to be broken.
The film “Datsche” by Lara Hewitt is “Great cinema in a small garden”: a summer, many barbecue sausages and open garden doors are sometimes all it takes to remember that much more connects us than separates us. A film for everyone who longs for home or has already found it. A declaration of love to Germany and the strength that lies in the community … and all this in a film for which a native Englishwoman is responsible for.
Valentine Hermann, an out-of-work New York actor has travelled to Berlin to the summer to discover his German roots and stay at the ‘datsche’ or summer cottage that his dead grandfather has left to him. Only the datsche isn’t actually in Berlin, it’s out in in former East Germany on a garden allotment colony that’s full of old people who seem to think the Berlin Wall never fell, and where not everybody is foreigner-friendly. Especially not Gregor, a neighbour with passions for hedge-trimming and nationalism. Which is a problem for Valentine, since he happens to have a refugee hiding in his datsche attic.
Adam blames the bad timing of his arrival in Germany as the reason why his application for asylum has been denied. But now he faces deportation – that is if he is found. Valentine allows Adam to stay at the datsche and promises not to tell anyone about him. But it’s not long before Valentine tires of the quiet allotment life and accidentally invites some random people from the internet to join him in his garden. Cue Maria, a beautiful and mysterious Greek woman; Zorro, a charming Argentinian drug dealer, and Stefan, a bumbling blond Bavarian who travels with his own tent and gun.
Adam is not happy about the new arrivals, and nor is Gregor….
About Lara Hewitt:
Lara Hewitt grew up in Lancastershire, England, and early on discovered her passion for all forms of artistic expression, from pantomime to theatre to singing, always with the aim of constructive exchange between young and old, disabled and non-disabled people, across all cultural boundaries. After completing her university degree in theatre and education, she worked internationally as an artist and settled in Berlin in 2012. Here she brought a punk adaptation of “Allice in Wonderland” to the stage, wrote and sang in a jazz musical and began “Datsche“, her first feature film project, shot in her allotment garden near Potsdam.
Back in England, in 2017 she took over the direction of the over 100-year-old cinema “The Palace” in her hometown, now a meeting place for artists of all styles.
From here she plans her new projects, for example her first documentary work “Love, Europe: The Goodbye Letters“, which accompanies her on the last stage of a relationship of more than twenty years… with Europe.
About the movie:
“Datsche” is an independent film made by an international group of film-lovers and film-makers. Datsche was filmed in English and German (with a smattering of Spanish) and with a cast of professional and non-professional actors on a garden allotment in Potsdam, Germany.
Original title: Datsche
Director: Lara Hewitt
Screenplay: Lara Hewitt
Actor & actresses: Zack Segel, Kunle Kuforiji, Marie Céline Yildirim, Luis Lüps, Juan Carlos Lo Sasso, Christian Harting, Tilo Bettmann, Peter Mettke, Karl-Heinz Schulze, Brigitte Schulzek, Günter Schulzek
Producer: Tony Doherty, Jules Gladys, Lara Hewitt, Silvia Schmidt
Cinematography: Stephan Bookas
Camera and electrical dept.: Spencer Dobbins, Sabrina Lohwasser, Marietheres Otto, Manuel Sa
Sound: Camilo Correa Costa, Kai Unger
Film editing: Federico Neri
Visual effects: Lucy Lawson-Duckett, Toffee Mushawasha, Robin Yoojin Rhee, Peter Rogers, Paul Vorsman
Costume design: Camila Maldonado Aparicio
Music: Macarena Solervicens
Production companies: Parkwood Theatre and Films, Rosemilk Productions
Year of production: 2018
Country: United Kingdom
Filming locations: Potsdam (Germany)
Language: English, German
Subtitles: German, English
Lenght: 93 Min
Youth protection: FSK 6
Aspect ratio: 2,35 : 1
Sound: Surround Sound 5.1
Premiere World: Oaxaca Filmfest (Mexico) 2018
Premiere USA: Anchorage International Film Festival 2018
Premiere Germany: Snowdance Filmfestival (Landsberg am Lech) 2019
Filmlabel: Darling Berlin
Theatrical release (Germany): 03.10.2019
DVD release: tba
VoD release: tba
Director’s commentary by Lara Hewitt:
“I was standing with a friend in the kitchen of my dream place. It was summer, but it rained and brown water rose around our ankles. We fell on our knees, grabbed dishcloths and beach towels and started to mop it up. An hour later the storm subsided and I managed to call a plumber to the dacha. I asked him if he could tell me the cause of the mysterious leak. He sighed and looked at me as if I was stupid. “Faecal water,” he said for explanation. I searched my head for examples of this piece of German vocabulary, but I couldn’t think of any, so he was forced to explain further: “Faeces – shit! Oh. Shit. So I was standing in shit, from an overflowing septic tank. It had been a romantic dream to own a dacha, a place outside my toast smelling of marijuana and burnt toast in Berlin Kreuzberg, where I could write and be in nature and peace with my German friend and his son.
But the relationship ended abruptly, so that I found myself alone in several hundred square meters of potato beds. One day after the incident with the shit water, my ex-boyfriend also sent me an SMS that the allotment garden association had put our garden on the black list because of its “unkempt condition” and that we had ten days to bring it back into good German order – “or else it’s all right. Friends advised me to sell the dachas. Some dreams just shouldn’t be. But the rescue seemed to me to put the dachshund on Craigslist: Accommodation in exchange for garden help? Of course the rules would never allow it, my expulsion would be guaranteed. What couldn’t be done in real life, however, relaxed into an idea for a wonderful story… I decided to let my ex-boyfriend weed the potato beds and set about finding out how to make a movie…”
International Trailer (English)
“Datsche” offers an outsider’s view on Germany, but it is also a film for anyone who has ever loved a place and had to leave it. It is also a swan song from a Brit to the beautiful dream of Europe, a thank you and a goodbye.