Tonight the First Steps winners were announced, and we are thrilled to announce that Sara Fazilat won the “No Fear Award” for the movie “Nico“! We congratulate her – and her companions – most sincerely!

Here is the jury’s statement:

“Nico focuses on a young German-Persian woman who, after a xenophobic attack, decides never to be a victim again by training in martial arts. Sara Fazilat is not only co-writer and producer, but also the main actress of the film, which is partly based on her personal experiences. From the beginning, she pursued a clear vision for Nico and found excellent companions in director Eline Gehring and cinematographer Francy Fabritz. She saw every setback on the extremely long and difficult path of realisation as an opportunity to make an even better film. In doing so, she stood up for a diverse image of women both in front of and behind the camera with impressive consistency. The result is a great, deeply moving, self-determined film whose courageous producer more than deserves the No Fear Award!”

Nico“, a captivating yet humorous drama, is scheduled for release in Q1 2022 distributed by UCM.ONE on the Darling Berlin label.

The No Fear Award was first presented in 2012, the prize is intended to be a lasting commemoration of the visionary co-founder of First StepsBernd Eichinger. The No Fear Award pays tribute to Bernd Eichinger in his courageous, undaunted way of producing and fighting for films: without fear. Katja and Nina Eichinger, the founders of the award, feel it is important to honour strong voices among young student producers with this award in his tradition.


The self-confident and lively German-Persian Nico (Sara Fazilat) loves her job as a geriatric nurse and is popular with everyone because of her easy-going and sympathetic manner. She enjoys the Berlin summer with her best friend Rosa (Javeh Asefdjah) until a racially motivated attack suddenly tears her out of her carefree everyday life. Nico realises that she doesn’t belong as self-evidently as she always thought, and how much racism actually surrounds her. Plagued by flashbacks of the terrible attack, Nico withdraws more and more into herself. Not only Rosa loses touch with her, but also her patients do not recognise the once so cheerful young woman. Nico feels that things cannot go on like this and turns to the gruff karate world champion Andy. With him she begins a tough training programme and thereby manages to channel her anger and discover her own strength, but she also loses touch with herself and her old life. When Nico eventually meets Macedonian Ronny, a connection develops between the two women that causes Nico to question the path she has chosen.

Nico” is an important and moving film whose rousing leading actress lets the audience empathize with every moment of her painful healing process. It is therefore certainly no coincidence that Sara Fazit won the “Best Actress Award” for her role in “Nico” at this year’s Max Ophüls Film Festival.

More information about the award: First Steps – Der Deutsche Nachwuchspreis 2021