Two weeks before the local and European elections in Brandenburg on 9 June, the feature film ‘Surviving Brandenburg’ (Darling Berlin) is going on another cinema tour through East German villages, towns and cities. In Berlin, the comedy will be shown daily from Thursday 23 May at the Kant Kino, where the film team will be guests at a special screening late on Saturday afternoon at 6 pm. A matinee with the team will follow on Sunday at 11 a.m. at the Thalia cinema in Potsdam.

The ‘Surviving Brandenburg’ tour covers the entire eastern German federal states. Small off-screen cinemas, drive-in cinemas, manor houses, open-air events and multiplexes will be screened throughout the region until August.

The film ‘Surviving Brandenburg’ is the posthumous work of director and actor Zoltan Paul, whose friend Ben von Grafenstein co-directed the comedy. The film tells the story of a discarded ‘best-ager director’ (Zoltan Paul) who tries to prevent a right-wing mayor in his village of 120 souls. Topical, meaningful and hilarious! Other roles are played by Adele Neuhauser (Emma Meisel), Dietrich Hollinderbäumer (Fritz), Joachim Paul Assböck (Weidland), Laszlo I. Kish (Karcsi), Sabine Waibel (Lisa), Werner Eng(Mario), Ralph Herforth (Clemens), Attila Georg Borlan (Attila) and Gisa Flake (Chantal). The comedy was produced by Clementina Hegewisch and Sandra Maischberger.


Laszlo Kovac, auteur filmmaker, is denied funding for his film project. 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?

The tour of ‘Surviving Brandenburg’ through the Brandenburg countryside is a statement of solidarity. With a mixture of humour and depth, the film sheds light on the challenges of rural life and the importance of community and civil courage.

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

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