The youth film “Fish in the Fur” (Geman original title: “Fisch im Fell”) by director Dean Benzin, produced by the Protestant Ladenkirche in Braunschweig, is starting its fifth week of screenings. After successful screenings at the Protestant Church Congress in Nuremberg and in selected cinemas in Germany, the film continues to expand its presence. In…
A great adventure often begins with a secret. The youth group’s hut in the Harz Mountains burned down. Amidst the charred debris, the boys and girls find a mysterious hole in the ground containing a mysterious time capsule. The first track leads them from the Harz mountains almost a thousand kilometers to South Tyrol, in search of a secret cave in the Alps…
What is special about this adventure film? The young people had the idea for the film and with Frederick Lau and Dieter Hallervorden as guest stars and a professional film team around director Dean Benzin and screenwriter Christian Pasquariello filmed it in a large cinema format. Their film touches on all aspects and questions of their young lives, tells of personal everyday life and secret weirdness, of diversity and climate protection and, of course, of social media.
With the film “Fish in the Fur” (German title: “Fisch im Fell“) by Dean Benzin, UCM.ONE presents an extraordinary film and youth project of the Protestant Church on its film label Artkeim².
The not inconsiderable budget for the film was collected by the Protestant Regional Church of Braunschweig for the young people from the Harz region, who not only played the main roles but also produced the film together with the youth deacon, whose role in the film is played by Frederick Lau as the local pastor of the youth group supercool…
The mysterious content calls the group around Lydia to South Tyrol in the mountains. For Theo in his wheelchair, the tour is unthinkable. But he, of all people, is enthusiastic about the idea. He loves the mountains, for him the trip would be a dream. After initial scepticism, Sarah, Johanna, Finn and Luca agree. The journey begins. The destination is a cave near the summit.
Not only the encounter with the transgender punk Ninja causes tensions in the group, but also the hike with the experienced mountain guide Peter causes fears and self-doubt among the teenagers. The repercussions tug at the cohesion of the teens among themselves. Can they reach their goal despite the difficulties? And what will await them when they solve the riddle of the mysterious find from the silver capsule?
Original title: Fisch im Fell
Director: Dean Benzin
Screenplay: Christian Pasquariello
Actors: Lene Deike, Falco Heidzig, Phelan Brunk, Leabé, Amalia Teuber, Lukas Bake, Leonie Fries, Emanuel Fellmer, Kati Ruppert, Frederick Lau, Dieter Hallervorden
Producer: Michael Marintschak, Martin Widiger
Executive producer: Johann Subklew, Dean Benzin
Cinematography: Konstantin Freyer
Editing: Ina Tangermann, Claudio Demel
Sound: Johannes Doberenz, Jörg Weimann
Make-up: Jasmin Arnold
Costumes: Marie Rebscher
Production design: Hans-Dieter „Krolli“ Kroll
Property: Andrea Korb
Music: Max Wege
Sound Design: Marvin Keil
VFX: Lukas Schwabe
Production: Evangelische Jugend Bad Harzburg
Year of production: 2022
Genres: Abenteuer, Jugendfilm
Length: 84 Min
Aspect ratio: 1,85:1
Resolution: DCI 2K Flat
Sound: 5.1 Surround
Rating: FSK 12
Premiere on November 13, 2022 at the 36th Braunschweig International Film Festival
Theatrical start: May 25, 2023
About director Dean Benzin
Having grown up in Thuringia and Rhineland-Palatinate, Dean Benzin completed his studies in directing in Berlin. Since the age of 15, he has choreographed stage shows in the martial arts field and shot various short films and music videos. In addition to several image film and music video productions, he is also active as an author.
|2021||Fisch in the Fur (Director)|
|2017||Dive into Life (Director)|
As executive producer, Dean Benzin successfully brought the documentary film project “Menschsein” by Dennis Klein and Oliver Stritzke for people with disabilities to German cinemas in 2019.
After working with young people on the series “Dive into Life“, it was a new challenge to realise the feature film “Fish in the Fur“, which is also his feature film debut.
Director’s note by Dean Benzin
“Six young people live in Allerode, a small town in the Harz mountains. A rural area, a loving idyll with lots of nature. A place where tourists find peace and serenity. Allerode, a backwater in the middle of nowhere. No clubs or shopping miles, crap internet. That’s how Allerode looks in the eyes of the young people. With this attitude we meet the teenagers Lydia, Theo, Johanna, Luka, Sarah and Finn at the beginning of a special journey. Triggered by an event that touches them deeply, we follow them on their mission. During their common task to reach the set goal, they not only face external difficulties that have to be overcome. We quickly sense that a strong group dynamic pushes the young people to different limits.
We experience how everyday relationships we know or have experienced ourselves pull at the group’s cohesion. The ups and downs of interpersonal relationships bring one or the other character to personal limits. It took a lot of work and time to work out the relationships of the young characters with each other and with their environment. This allowed for natural emotions and feelings. The interaction through experience and lived experience was not merely predefined, but in part directly co-developed by the young people themselves.
The roles offer the actors, in addition to a natural and realistic manner, the possibility to show themselves sensitive and fragile; but also wordplay and humour, which makes the characters seem more authentic. We sympathise with their individualities and draw comparisons with our own experiences. This is what makes this ‘coming-of-age’ story so exciting and unique. FISH IN FUR inevitably confronts its characters, and by extension the audience, with a concentrated form of pervasive relational structures that people have to live through. It is a metaphor for the real and a parable for the everyday, which not only creates love, hope, fears and sadness, but also resolves them in the sense of a catharsis.
I have noticed that many young people have a lot of knowledge in a wide variety of areas through our multimedia networking. But this also made it clearer that young people were less concerned with more serious problems and issues that affect their environment and/or even themselves. This contributes to the fact that many of them feel left alone or misunderstood. The pandemic in particular has obviously reinforced this process. It turned out that the approach of involving them from the beginning, developing characters, roles and character traits, was all the more important. In addition, there was the teaching of basic and craft knowledge in the field of film, since media stimuli have a very strong impact on the young generation in the most varied forms. The aim of FISH IN FUR was and is to see the genesis more through the eyes of a younger audience so that they can find and recognise areas of identification so that they don’t have to feel alone in the current zeitgeist.”
The actors and their roles
Lene Deike (Lydia)
The teenagers around Lydia are a motley bunch and meet in her “flophouse”. There is no official leadership, but the doer, who grew up without a father, has this “forward! gene”, self-confident, enthusiastic, emphatic and a head full of fantasies and dreams
Falco Heidzig (Theo)
One of her best friends since childhood is Theo, who rolls through life. What his body fails him, his head has to make up for. He likes to talk a lot, is a nerdy sci-fi and comic fan. Whatever problems affect the group, Theo’s humour is unshakeable.
Phelan Brunk (Luka)
Luka is Theo’s cousin and has everything that makes a male teenager happy. He is good-looking, an ace at football and outwardly seems like the undisputed cock of the walk. His sports career is his ticket out of the community. But he also struggles with his feelings, which are searching for order within him.
Amalia Teuber (Sarah)
Sarah, inn’s big sister, is tough, smart, dominant and loves to ride cross-country in her free time. She plays the patron saint to her brother and feels responsible for him. One heart and one soul, although they couldn’t be more different as people.
Leabé (Posh a.k.a Johanna)
The extroverted Posh, whose real name is Johanna, longs for a real city feeling. She has the TikTok tic, styling is her status, fashion her mission. For her, Allerode is like a prison, the world outside her place of longing to realise herself as an influencer.
Lukas Bake (Finn)
Finn is shy and sensitive with a sense for beauty. He takes photographs with passion and talent. Posh is a thorn in Sarah’s side because her brother has a huge crush on the “it girl”. What unites the siblings is their voluntary commitment to the faith community.
Leonie Fries (Ninja)
After their arrival, the group meets Ninja. Her hair is shaved short and she has a transgender tattoo on her eye. On the collar of her waistcoat is the patch “I do what I want”. Everything about Ninja is a statement. Their encounter will have repercussions for the group.
Emanuel Fellmer (Peter)
In an effort to find the mysterious place, they meet the tour guide Peter. The mountain guide is the epitome of an outdoorsman: sun-tanned, striking features to go with an athletic body. A taciturn, down-to-earth guy who loves his homeland above all else.
Dieter Hallervorden (Jasper)
Jasper lives alone with his son Peter in a hut in the mountains. The old man has become introverted through his life story and usually shies away from contact with strangers. He is also reserved towards young people. However, fate has other plans for Jasper and so there is an unexpected event with the teenagers.
Frederick Lau (Markus)
Pastor Markus has been living in the parish of Allerode for a few years. He now knows the young people very well and is always there as a contact person. For his congregation, the young pastor is approachable and always ready to help. He also tries to support the young parishioners until a difficult conversation between Lydia’s mother and him takes place.
The young characters are all dreamers and real people at the same time, who also stumble upon the beautiful things in life through their encounters with each other. This positive mindset helps them to cope with naïve longings and self-doubt and to grow beyond themselves.
About the producers Michael Marintschak & Martin Widiger
As a deacon for church youth work, Michael Marintschak has been working around Bad Harzburg since 2008. Media education project work and the networking of different target groups are the main focus of his portfolio.
Martin Widiger, who held his first pastorate with a focus on youth work on the edge of the Harz Mountains, has held the office of state youth pastor of the Lutheran state church in Braunschweig since 2020.
Together, they have created larger youth projects since 2017, such as the six-part series “Dive into live” for the education sector and the feature film ‘Fisch in the Fur‘. In addition, since 2020 they have been publishing the podcast “Relevanz & Sehnsucht” (English translation: “Relevance & Desire“), which over 10 seasons with 118 episodes so far – among other topics of evangelical youth work – tells in detail about the genesis, filming and release of “Fish in the Fur” in an entertaining way.
Background to the film
Together with Dean Benzin, director and companion of Michael Marintschak and Martin Widiger‘s cinematic steps, the trio created visions to take media education work to a new level. Previously, young people developed a six-part series for the educational sector. On this basis, the parameters for the continuation were redefined: Filming location abroad, feature film, cinema. Challenge accepted!
Six young people take us on an entertaining and unpredictable journey as silent observers. A mission to solve the mystery behind a time capsule. The characters are narrated multidimensionally and anchored in the most diverse relationship structures to each other. Here, the personal confrontation with the narrated life themes plays a decisive role. Faith and identity come together here on a level that supports young people in their personal maturity.
As part of Protestant youth work, the film project is a novelty to integrate young people into cast & crew to participate intensively in the genesis and to see themselves as part of a great team pursuing a common goal. The professional guidance in the technical and artistic departments honour the aspect of empowering young people to be agents of their ideas. Acquiring competences and developing talents are real-life and educationally relevant contents that can contribute decisively to professional decisions.
A light-hearted atmosphere, the nature-loving sounds in the mountains and the epic, poignant feeling on a summit “I did it!”: this combination of adventure and ‘coming of age’ with modern elements makes “Fish in the Skin” an original work with a stirring story. The holistic approach of the high-quality concept unites the human longing “For me and others!” (sustainability). Young people become multipliers of successful church youth work.
A first-class and modern story with clear characters on a nerve-wracking journey. “Fish in the Fur” is an intense and lively ‘coming of age’ story that is in keeping with the current zeitgeist. In combination with the extraordinary vision of the director, youth work and church, this film has the potential to be something outstanding in the German film landscape and especially for the perception of church in society and the life-relevant issues of (young) people.