Abdul, Brian and Farid are stuck in a remote asylum-seekers’ residence in the small town of Belzig. From here they attempt to gain entry into German society. Their preconceptions collide with the idiosyncrasies of the Germans on village fairs, Berlin’s night clubs and administrative offices. The film focuses on the unintentionally funny aspects of this clash of cultures, rather than the seriousness of it.
This documentary tells the story of Abdul, a sheikh from Yemen, Farid from Iran and Brian from Cameroon, all refugees stranded in Brandenburg. Having set out in the hope of a better life, they now find themselves in a remote asylum‐seekers’ residence in the small town of Belzig, an undoubtedly bad starting point to realize their dreams. Without a residence title, partaking in life outside the residence gates is nearly impossible; but now that they’ve come so close they look for ways into German society nevertheless.
The charismatic social worker Rose Dittfurth is the first point of contact for newcomers to the residence. To help them gain a foothold, she sometimes takes unconventional paths. The short, wiry Abdul (36), who hasn’t lost the proud and commanding presence of a sheikh after seven years of being merely tolerated in Germany, refuses to give up hope, despite all the obstacles placed in his path. Even though he doesn’t understand why one needs an apprenticeship for everything in Germany and strict ladies at the employment office constantly remind him of the difficulties of finding a job, he refuses to give up. There must be something out there for him! Taking risks is his method, also when it comes to finding a partner for life. And even though he has gotten nowhere in seven years, he keeps going and continues to wind up in new surprising situations.
Two years ago, Farid (32) was forced to leave his hometown Tehran with his brother in a hurry because their lives were in danger. Since that day he has not seen his wife, or his six-year-old son. Waiting in the makeshift residence for the slow wheels of German bureaucracy to turn seems like entirely wasted time to the proud man. He wants nothing more than to bring his beloved family here to him, but so far he has been denied a positive answer to his application for asylum. Though he gladly accepts Rose’s attempts to rescue him from his depression, by organizing activities and introducing him to new people, the feeling of powerlessness and the time passing are torments to him.
Brian (28) is new at the residence. He looks at Germany with self-confidence and an open mind – despite having had different ideas about it back in Cameroon – and enters it with unshaken optimism and trust in God. At first he ends up with a dubious insurance- and finance advisory firm in Berlin-Wedding, but he soon feels out of place there. The rejection of his asylum application finally brings him down to earth once again. He files an appeal, despite knowing that the only real hope for “cases” like his is marriage to, or conceiving a child with, a German.
We follow the protagonists over the course of one year. “Land in Sight” is defined by its close proximity to its main characters. Aside from taking part in their experiences, the film also examines many other circumstances of living and thereby provides a fresh look at our own – foreign – country.
Instead of a serious and accusatory tone, this film invites the viewer to laugh – convinced that humor always contains a bit of truth as well as a deeply human perspective.
Land in Sight
Documentary by Judith Keil & Antje Kruska
Germany 2013, 90 min, HD
INDI FILM and RBB/ARTE
Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg (regional fund Berlin-Brandenburg) and FFA
Festivals & Press:
DOK Leipzig 2013 (Documentary Film Prize of the Goethe Institute)
Doks Barcelona 2014
DOK.fest Munich 2014 (Viktor Award)
Filmplus Festival of Film Editing, Cologne 2014 (Editing Award)
Prix Europa 2015 (TV Documentary Award)
EDOX, Vilnius – Lithuania 2014
IREP Film Festival, Lagos – Nigeria 2014
AegeanDocs, Athens, Lesbos – Greece 2014
International Film Festival of Human Rights, Buenos Aires 2015
Migration Film Festival, Ljubljana – Slovenia 2015
Ecrans Noirs, Goethe-Institute, Yaoundé – Cameroon 2015
Escales Documentaires Gabon, Libreville – Gabon 2015
Website for the film: