THE TEACHERS' LOUNGE, Europa Cinemas Label

Panorama – Berlinale


The German feature film THE TEACHERS’ LOUNGE (DAS LEHRERZIMMER) İlker Çatak has won the Europa Cinemas Label as Best European film in the Panorama section, it was announced today by a jury of four exhibitors from the network, the eighteenth time the Label has been awarded in Berlin.

THE TEACHERS' LOUNGE, Europa Cinemas Label

THE TEACHERS’ LOUNGE (DAS LEHRERZIMMER) will now benefit from promotional support from Europa Cinemas and better exhibition thanks to a financial incentive for network cinemas to include it in their programme schedule.

The jury issued the following statement – “THE TEACHERS’ LOUNGE (DAS LEHRERZIMMER) is an intense and very well-made drama set in a German primary school. Director and co-writer İlker Çatak has delivered a lean script and shows impressive film-making craft. Shooting Star Leonie Benesch increases her growing reputation with an entirely credible performance as a young teacher with brand new ideas. Her methods and approach bring about dramatic confrontations with her fellow teachers and the parents when a series of thefts hits the school. The film explores key subjects like the prevalence of bureaucracy in schools and issues of race and class, but above all it is a compelling rollercoaster of a drama – a worthy winner of this year’s Europa Cinemas Berlin Label.”

The Europa Cinemas Label Jury is captured here at the Award Ceremony with the director İlker Çatak and the co-writer Johannes Duncker. The Jury consisted of Marius Bălănescu (Cinema Victoria, Cluj-Napoca, Romania), Will Fitzgerald (Pálás, Galway, Ireland), Tanja Helm (Cinematograph & Leokino, Innsbruck, Austria) and Ola Starmach (Kino Pod Baranami, Kraków, Poland).

Sold internationally by Be For Films, the film is produced by Ingo Fliess for  if…Productions from Munich in Germany, and distributed in the following European countries:

The screenplay is by Johannes Duncker and İlker Çatak. Cinematography is by Judith Kaufmann, editing by Gesa Jäger, music by Marvin Miller and sound by Michael Hinreiner and Kirsten Kunhardt.

The cast includes Leonie Benesch (Carla Nowak), Leonard Stettnisch (Oskar), Eva Löbau (Friederike Kuhn), Michael Klammer (Thomas Liebenwerda), Anne-Kathrin Gummich (Dr. Bettina Böhm), Kathrin Wehlisch (Lore Semnik), Sarah Bauerett (Vanessa König), Rafael Stachowiak (Milosz Dudek), Uygar Tamer (Ms Yilmaz) and Özgür Karadeniz (Mr Yilmaz).

Synopsis: “What happens in the staff room stays in the staff room,” says Carla Nowak in an interview with the school newspaper. Even if that is purely wishful thinking for the teacher at this point. This is her first job, and she is committed to teaching mathematics and physical education to her class of seventh graders. Things are going well and she is able to motivate these adolescents. Then a series of thefts occur at school and one of her students is quickly suspected. An outraged Carla decides to get to the bottom of the matter herself, but the case is not so easy to solve and has repercussions. Quickly decried as idealistic by the rest of the staff, Carla finds herself having to answer to angry parents and mediate between quarrelling students. The more she tries to do everything right, the more she – and others – are pushed to their limits, and the entire school system is thrown off balance.

İlker Çatak misses nothing in his brilliantly observed film. In his unsparing drama, the school is a microcosm in which the outside world no longer exists and nothing remains private. THE TEACHERS’ LOUNGE (DAS LEHRERZIMMER) is a study in power relations that demonstrates how individuals are worn down between entrenched positions. (Berlinale)

Born in Berlin, Germany in 1984, İlker Çatak grew up there and in Istanbul where he completed high school. He then studied film and television directing in Berlin and Hamburg. His graduation film Sadakat won the Student Oscar in Gold in 2015. He followed his debut feature film ES WAR EINMAL INDIANERLAND with ES GILT DAS GESPROCHENE WORT which won Best Screenplay at Filmfest München and the Bronze Lola at the German Film Awards. He has also lectured at universities in the USA, Germany, Türkiye, Japan, Italy and Greece.


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Photo credits "THE TEACHERS' LOUNGE (DAS LEHRERZIMMER)": © Alamode Film