Last night, the City Kino Wedding in Berlin hosted the theatrical release premiere of the film “Youth Topia” (Artkeim²) by Dennis Stormer. Actors, film crew and guests came together to celebrate the launch of this film, which is now being shown nationwide on the UCM.ONE film distribution label Artkeim². “Youth Topia” takes a look at…
The dystopian coming of age drama “Youth Topia” – the feature film debut of Dennis Stormer (writer & director) and Marisa Meier (writer & producer) – tells the story of Wanja (Lia von Blarer), who is turned from an outsider into an adult by the “algorithm” that ubiquitously dominates the near future. She leaves her exciting youthful life as a good-for-nothing behind and finds the recognition she thought was long missing in her newfound dream job as an architect.
From now on, Vanya’s best friends have to go around the house without her to have a good time and make a ruckus. They are the only and most precious remnant of Vanya’s former life. But without her friends, the only and most precious remnant of her past as a teenager, Wanja is terribly lonely and alone. If Vanya wants to continue climbing the career ladder, she has to make a serious decision.
“Youth Topia” is the portrait of a young generation that is beginning to understand that a lonely path is being taken with the privilege of self-realisation. A generation that misses a community under the pressure to succeed that it has created, a generation that feels that simply being in the world is the highest form of happiness.
In Valpolvra, a village that has fallen out of time, self-fulfilment is the focus of all the inhabitants. Their dream jobs are reliably determined by an algorithm. The adolescents are spared the previously endless orientation phase of youth, the search for the perfect job, the many rejections and all the other crises of meaning. Instead, they all live fulfilled and productive lives. Those who don’t get a job because of rebellious, irresponsible and impulsive online profiles are classified by the algorithm as youthful and thus unfit for work. These people have the task of waiting until they are mature enough for a job. They are exempt from all duties, but also from all attractive privileges that only adults are allowed to enjoy.
Wanja (21) resists becoming an adult. As a so-called long-term youth, she lives in an old barn with her clique, cut off from productive society. Together they live into the day, filming their illegal activities and posting clips of their immature and antisocial everyday life in order to remain youthful forever.
One morning, Wanja surprisingly receives a job offer. Believing that she has more freedom as an adult and can still pursue the youthful lifestyle, she accepts the job calculated for her as an architect. Vanya loves suddenly getting so much attention and finally being able to decide freely. She enjoys her clean flat, her own car, her sexual acquaintance Lukas and life as an architect in Eva’s office. At first she shares her new life generously with her childhood friends. But the more successful she becomes, the more impossible it becomes to unite the two worlds.
A new social centre is to force the long-term youths to grow up. Their own chosen home, the old barn is to be demolished for this purpose. Eva offers Wanja artistic direction over this prestigious project. Does Wanja break the last bridge to her old life for success and betray her only friends? Loneliness overcomes the young adult and she realises that young people have something that adults have lost: community.
Vanya decides against her career to protect her old home, her best friends and Valpolvra’s last form of community.
Original title: Youth Topia
Director: Dennis Stormer
Screenplay: Marisa Meier, Dennis Stormer
Actors: Lia von Blarer, Saladin Dellers, Elsa Langnäse, Lou Haltinner, Jürg Plüss, Nadim Ben Saïd, Nicolas Rosat, Timon Kiefer, Regula Imboden, Sabrina Tannen,
Gottfried Breitfuss, Amy Lombardi, Manon Pfrunder, Virginia Zaretskie
Producer: Marisa Meier, Dennis Stormer, Katrin Renz, Stefan Jäger, Reiner Krausz, Vita Spieß
Cinematography: Jonas Schneider
Editing: Noëmi Katharina Preiswerk
Sound: Daniel Fuchs
Make-up: Julia Althof
Costume design: Sabrina Bosshard
Camera assistance & Technical departement: Marc Angele, Jonas Schneider
Color grading: Stefano Zordan
Production companies: Tellfilm (Switzerland), Intuition Club (Germany), Sehstern Filmproduktion (Germany)
Year of production: 2021
Genres: Science-Fiction, Comedy, Satire
Countries: Switzerland, Germany
Length: 85 Min
Aspect ratio: 2K Scope
Sound: Surround 5.1
Rating: FSK 16
Film label: Artkeim²
Premiere: September 25, 2021 at the Zurich Film Festival
Theatrical release Germany: August 17, 2023
The film dares a lot; constant format changes, shaky mobile phone shots, a calf in the living room. It’s a raw kind of cinematography, reminiscent of popular social media content, and thus constantly related to reality. A huge, white mountain of dust rising under Electro Pop as a film backdrop again underpins the feeling of a cinematic utopia. Anyone who has the courage to see Youth Topia’s utopian society as our own will get goose bumps.
About director Dennis Stormer
Dennis Stormer, born in Kiel, discovered his interest in theatre, art and film at an early age. In his youth, he co-founded an improvisation theatre group and created installations and performances. He moved to Berlin to work as a film critic for Negativ while realising his first short films.
He eventually studied directing at Columbia University New York and at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg, where he graduated in 2019.
The advertising agency Adolescent L.A. represents him in the USA. He recently co-founded the production company Intuition Club and is now based in Kiel and Stockholm and active in human rights and environmental activism in addition to film.
|2021||Youth Topia (Writer & director), feature film (85 Min); Fast Track Award|
|2020||Full of Fire (Writer & director), hybrid (80 Min); IFF Oldenburg, IFF Exground Wiesbaden IFF Selb|
|2019||Light Inside (Writer & director), short movie (35 Min); La Cabina IFF Valencia, IFF Achtung Berlin|
|2018||Ich zünd dir nen Mercedes an (Writer & director), experimental (15 Min); Pula IFF, FiSH Rostock|
|2017||Locking at Others (Writer & director), documentary (30 Min); Oppose Othering Award – goEast FF Wiesbaden, Int FF Barcelona Gewinner STIFF Rjieka, Filmes do homem Melgaco|
About producer Marisa Meier
Marisa Sarah Meier was born in Zurich. In 2019, she graduated from the renowned Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg in International Producing with the documentary “Closing Time” (2018, “Special Jury Award Concorso Cineasti del presente” at Locarno Film Festival).
While producing award-winning short and feature films, she participated in international exchange programmes such as la fémis in Paris, UCLA in Los Angeles and Al Quds University in Ramallah.
Today she works as a freelance producer and writer in Berlin and Zurich. In 2019, together with Dennis Stormer, she founded the production company Intuition Club, based in Schleswig-Holstein.
|in progress||Dance With Me (Director: Leila Basma), documentary|
|in progress||Sommer (Director: Ricardo Saleh), feature film|
|2021||Youth Topia (Director: Dennis Stormer), feature film (85 Min)|
|2018||Closing Time, documentary (112 Min); Filmfestival Locarno: Special Jury Award Cineasti del presente|
|2016||Genkingen – Ein schwäbisches Volksmärchen, documentary (60 Min); Nominated for the German Documentary Film Award|
|2016||Un #etat d´urgence, short movie (13 Min); Filmfest Dresden – Goldener Reiter; Prädikat „Besonders Wertvoll“ – FBW|
Creator’s Note (on the production mode of operation)
The film ‘Youth Tobia‘ is not only a feature-length film, but also a non-linear web series in the form of Instagram accounts. During the filming, the actors, equipped with smartphones, independently recorded content. This content was and is continuously shared on the Instagram channels and forms a supplement to the feature film. In this way, the fictional theme of an algorithm analysing our data is shifted into the reality of the viewers.
Follow on Insta @
In addition to this special multimedia feature, the two filmmakers have drawn up a “special” guideline for the production framework. This framework includes the following production principles:
Humanity before art
At least 50 % of the employees in production are women*.
All participants receive the same wage
Working and rest times, given laws and common sense are taken seriously
Play and the fun of creativity are taken seriously
There is room for reflection and feedback sessions.
The cinematic design is in the spirit of the story
Everything that is proposed cinematically is an offer and not a fight
These principles have given all participants the space to take responsibility and enjoy creative freedom. This has enabled traditional hierarchies and fascist structures to be questioned and avoided.
|Lia von Blarer||Wanja|
|Nadim Ben Said||Herr Michael|
More information about actors
Lia von Blarer (Wanja)
Lia von Blarer studied acting in Rostock and Paris. Since graduating, she has worked as a theatre and film actress as well as an author and lives in Berlin.
Most recently she appeared in Julia von Heinz Mini’s series “Eldora-Do KaDeWe – Jetzt ist unsere Zeit“, Jan Gassmann‘s feature film “99 Moons” and the theatre production G.O.U.L.E. by the directorial collective Prinzip Gonzo for the Théâtre de la Manufacture Nancy and the Saarländisches Staatstheater Saarbrücken.
Elsa Langnäse (Greta)
Elsa Langnäse grew up in Dresden and Zurich. She has been in front of the camera as an actress since 2009 and completed her acting studies in London in 2021.
In 2018 she won the “Zürcher Radio- und Fernsehpreis” with her role of “Eveline Wyler” for the first season of the series “NR47“.
Saladin Dellers (Sören)
Saladin Dellers gained his first experience as an actor at the Junge Bühne Bern. From 2012 to 2016 he studied acting at the University of Arts in Graz.
Saladin Dellers made his debut as a film actor in the feature film “Silberwald“. He was nominated for Best Actor at the Swiss Film Awards in 2012 for his role as Sascha. Numerous other film projects followed, such as “Stöffitown” (director: Christoph Schaub), “Der Läufer” (director: Hannes Baumgartner) and “Golden Twenities” (director: Sophie Kluge).
Lou Haltinner (Leona)
Lou Haltinner grew up in Switzerland. Her first encounter with theatre was at the jungen theatre basel, where she has been acting in various professional productions since 2015. Lou has also appeared in various theatre, dance, television and film productions. Most recently, she portrayed Elodie in the SRF series “Neumatt” and Leona in the feature film “Youth Topia“.
Lou Haltinner has been studying acting at the Bern University of the Arts since 2021.
Jürg Plüss (Maul)
Jürg Plüss, born in 1972 and raised in Untervaz (GR), came to acting late in life. After an apprenticeship as a railway dispatcher with the Rhaetian Railway, he finally ended up at the EFAS drama school in Zurich, from which he graduated in 2002.
He was a long-time member of the Splätterlithe-Ater and is also often active in film and television. He has been seen in the 4th season of “Bestatter” or in the series “Seitentriebe“, as well as in cinema films such as “Ma-Rio“, “Youth Topia” or “Platzspitzbaby“.
Nicolas Rosat (Wanjas Vater)
Nicolas Rosat studied acting at the Conservatory of Music and Theatre in Bern from 1984-1989. His engagements took him to the Theater Basel, Theater Bremen and the Schauspielhaus Hannover. From 2003-2006 and from 2009-2019 he was an ensemble member at the Schauspielhaus Zurich.
He has acted in the films “Facing Mecca” by Jan Eric Mack, “Sami“, “Joe and I” by Karin Heberlein and in the four-part “Frieden” by Michael Schaerer.
Timon Kiefer (Lukas)
Timon Kiefer gained his first set experience with a supporting role in the feature film “Blue My Mind” (2017). After further supporting roles in short films such as “Diversity Exists” and “Elephant in the Room“, he appeared in commercials.
He was in the top 10 at the 2018 Talentscreen Awards. Shortly after, he starred in Baba Shrimp‘s music video “Road to Rome” before landing the role of Luke in the 2021 feature film “Youth Topia“.
When AI decides about growing up.
Youth Topia | Trailer (German with English subs)ᴴᴰ
Comments about the movie
“Dennis Stormer’s film is a successful satire of society (…). It presents a reality that could just as well have been taken from the well-known series “Black Mirror”. “Youth Topia” fulfils its purpose: to build a bridge between generations. Dreamy, dystopian, yet deeply real, the film encourages the audience to think about what kind of adults we want to become.” (Alejandro Manjon, www.cineman.ch)
“Stormer and co-writer Marisa Meier have created an original dystopia about growing older and wanting to stay young with Youth Topia.” (Aline Locher, www.maximumcinema.ch)