FOR ALL THE WORLD TO SEE, cinema documentary, 90 min., Germany © 2017
Credits: Script and Direction: Claudia Schmid; Director of Photography: Claudia Schmid; Editor: Kawe Vakil; Sound: Bianka Schulze, Heike Frielingsdorf, Julia Hübner, Aidin Salkhi; Producer: Birgit Schulz; Production Manager: Monika Mack, Rolf Bremenkamp; Commissioning Editors: Andrea Ernst / WDR, Angelika Wagner / WDR, Barbara Denz / NDR; Distribution: Mindjazz pictures. A Bildersturm Filmproduktion production in co-production with WDR and NDR. Subsidized by the Film und Medienstiftung NRW.


“Now my family has tossed me into a fiery sea and I am being consumed by the flames..." Minara, Bangladesh
"That’s what I find so tragic – the violence simply continues. Generation after generation, it goes on..." Maya, Germany
"My mother said: You know that you're not allowed to call the police on family members here..." Yolande, Benin,
"Yes, my children laughed at me, avoided me and said: “She’s not a human being anymore,” and I avoided them and cried." Nakatya, Democratic Republic of Congo

Asia, Africa, Europe – in Benin, in Bangladesh, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, yet also in the heart of Germany: violence against women is ever present. “For all the World to see” delves into the lives of women who have been subjected to horrific violence, yet managed to fight their way free. They talk about the violence that has been inflicted upon them, their struggle for survival, their hopes and fears and their current attempts to build a new life beyond the violence. They have taken the initiative, and defended themselves in spite of the tremendous danger they faced.

And the men? Many of them describe violence against women as a normal part of their everyday lives. If a woman has been hit, she deserved it. A woman with a mind of her own makes them afraid, and must not be allowed. If she defends herself, he threatens to take away her children and throw her out of the house – without anything...

The most frequent and most severe human rights abuses of our time are still committed against girls and women worldwide. Women aged between 15 and 45 are far more likely to be beaten to death or crippled by their husbands than to die from cancer or malaria or in a traffic accident or war. According to UNIFEM and WHO in some countries, up to 70 percent of all women are victims of physical or sexual abuse at least once in their lives – usually at the hands of their husband or partner.

The film shows clearly just how violence functions. Against a background of different cultures, ways of life and social systems, the universal similarities in the mechanisms and structures of violence against and power over women are illuminated, and their causes are analyzed. The eye-opening message is that, in many cases, the structures of violence that exist in Europe are no less relentless than in African and Asian countries.
Filmmaker Claudia Schmid spends intense moments with the women as they confide extensively in her, uses her camera to follow the perspectives, movements and actions of her impressive protagonists as they break free of the ties that bind them, and captures images of their painful memories, their desires and dreams – always within the immediate emotional orbit of the female protagonists and, in some cases, the perpetrators. The worlds in which the women live are often illustrated through poetic imagery.

It is only the strength of the protagonists that allows them to break out of a multi-generational cycle of violence. Minara, Nakatya, Vumilia, Maya and all of the others ... they have achieved nothing less than changing the world just a bit with their hard-earned self-confidence.

The 8th of March is World Women's Day. On the 9th of March, 2017 Claudia Schmid's new film will be released in the German cinemas!
Cinema screening dates:
Mindjazz Pictures   
Further infos: Bildersturm Filmproduktion


VOICES OF VIOLENCE, cinema documentary, 90 min., Germany © 2016
Credits: Script and Direction: Claudia Schmid; Director of Photography: Claudia Schmid; Editor: Kawe Vakil; Sound: Heike Frielingsdorf, Bianka Schulze; Production Manager: Monika Mack, Rolf Bremenkamp; Producer: Birgit Schulz; Commissioning editors: Andrea Ernst (WDR), Angelika Wagner (WDR). A Bildersturm Filmproduktion production in co-production with WDR/NDR. Subsidized by Film- und Medienstiftung NRW. Distributor: mindjazz pictures; World Sales: New Docs.

Voices of Violence is the first cinema documentary of a trilogy on global violence against women. Two further documentaries on this topic taking place in Bangladesh/Benin and Germany will folllow.

VOICES OF VIOLENCE is a documentary about the unimaginable violence against women in the Democratic Republic of Congo and about the political and social system that casts a blind eye on these atrocities. In a country where women are systematically exposed to the brutal practice of rape as a weapon of war, Claudia Schmid gives unknown women a voice and reveals how the structures of violence work in all their facets. The film-maker spent several months travelling through the Democratic Republic of Congo, meeting women in the most remote villages of the rebel territories and winning their trust. In the course of long, intense talks, the women disclose their traumatic experiences for the very first time. They recount how they were attacked, abducted and abused, how they were able to escape from the rebel camps and why their lives continued to feel like hell, even after returning home to their villages. Ostracised by their own village community, rejected by their husbands. The more intense the interview situation with the film-maker became, the more drastic the women rendered the violence they were exposed to.

Congolese women are very strong narrators who are able to find expressive words and gestures for the pain they experienced. They spontaneously revisit and re-enact certain situations. The film condenses the stories of violence told by different women from one village to a polyphonic fugue of different voices thereby - in its various escalations - determining the dramatic structure of the film. In order to illustrate the very complexity of the structure underlying the violence, Claudia Schmid also asks family members about their experiences and perspectives and talks to them about their shame and the discrimination against them by the village community. Since sexual violence is a taboo topic in Congo, families hardly ever talk about their traumatic experiences.

In the course of the film, Claudia Schmid deeply immerses herself into the destructive forces by also asking Congolese men in the streets about their notion of rights and obligations of both sexes. They unabashedly talk about beating up their wives in case they do not obey them. They hold the view that girls, of course, should not be allowed to attend school in order to prevent them from becoming too independent and that a woman should not own any property. When the husband leaves his wife, she has to live in the street. That’s just the way it is. Thus the belligerent violence of the rebels is linked to the everyday violence of Congolese men rendering the situation of the women even more hopeless. In this manner the film progressively reflects a microcosm of the systematic destruction of an entire people. Solely due to the strength of the protagonists who refused to give up and now raise their voices because they want the world to hear about their suffering and their perpetrators to be punished, this small-a-world is split open. And during these very moments the camera follows the women’s eyes, their movements, also their dancing and singing - away from their confinement. VOICES OF VIOLENCE represents a shocking and touching microcosm of sexual compulsiveness and violence, power and powerlessness, unconsciousness and the captive nature of tradition.

Richard Deacon - In Between

RICHARD DEACON - IN BETWEEN, cinema documentary, 90 min., Germany © 2012
Credits: Script & Direction: Claudia Schmid; Director of Photography: Andreas Köhler; Second Camera: Steffen Bohn, Roland Breitschuh, Andreas Fiegel; Sound: Tim Pattberg; Editing: Kawe Vakil; Commissioning Editor: Reinhard Wulf; Executive Producer: Birgit Schulz; Production Manager: Monika Mack, Rolf Bremenkamp. A Bildersturm Filmproduction in Coproduction with 3sat / WDR. Subsidised by Film- und Medienstiftung NRW. 

British-born artist Richard Deacon ranks as one of the most important sculptors in contemporary art. His profound interest in the nature of materials and the ways in which they can be manipulated, as well as his innovative approach to form, make him one of the most inventive artists working today.

With his existential contemplation of space and form, Deacon has paved the way for a whole new perspective. More than virtually any other sculptor, he draws out all possibilities of expression, creating a complex spatial dynamic from an organic and industrial language of form. The physical approach taken with the different materials is a key element in this regard.

His sweeping, wave-like sculptures, with their rhythmic interweaving and biomorphic-looking structures are among the most complex works in modern sculpture. The multi-layered nature of the works reflects the innate complexity of life and stir the beholder to intensive reflection.

Film-maker Claudia Schmid has been observing Richard Deacon’s work for two years. Mutual understanding and trust between the two individuals grew during this intense time, making it possible to portray this shy artist, even in quiet moments away from the public eye. All of which results in a unique insight into the personality of the artist and his work.

The silence of innocence

THE SILENCE OF INNOCENCE - THE ARTIST GOTTFRIED HELNWEIN, cinema documentary, 116 Min., Germany © 2009
Credits: Script & Direction: Claudia Schmid; Camera: Susu Grunenberg; Sound: Jens Krähnke; Editing: Kawe Vakil; Sound Mixing: Christof Glade; Colour Correction: Dany Schelby; Subtitles: Ralph Sikau, Parabol Pictures; Production Manager: Monika Mack; Producer: Birgit Schulz; Commissioning Editor: Reinhard Wulf. A Bildersturm Filmproduktion production in co-production with 3sat / Westdeutscher Rundfunk. Subsidized by the Filmstiftung NRW. Distributer: MFA+

For more than 30 years, Gottfried Helnwein has been one of the best-known and, at the same time, most controversial German-speaking artists of the post-war period. His works are in demand at the world’s most renowned museums and his exhibitions attract large numbers of visitors. Ranging from hyper-realistic depictions of tortured girls in the 1970s to the paintings and photographs of today, his work shocks, fascinates and moves a global public.

Gottfried Helnwein is an artist of clear statements, uninhibited and idiosyncratic. He almost always confronts observers with the dark sides of human nature, the manifestation of violence and power. His central theme is the child as an injured and abused being. The artist uses the fate of the child to bring before our eyes the human capacity for suffering and makes the observer a passive, and indeed active, accomplice. In his self-portraits, he represents the artist as a martyr allied with the child. His images penetrate into the subconscious and awaken the individual horror images of both the beholder’s own, and collective history. The viewer can hardly escape the fascination evoked by the detailed precision of the photography combined with the inner light of the old masters. 

Gottfried Helnwein, born in 1948, grew up in the sombre Vienna of the post-war period. His childhood was marked by strict Catholicism – a world full of mises-en-scène for guilt and penitence, torture and blood, wounds and martyrdom. For him, colours initially only existed in the Catholic Church’s depictions of torture and suffering, until he discovered the colourful stories of Donald Duck and Duckburg that would change his life. Helnwein led the life of an outsider, giving repeated offence and receiving no answer to his questions about life. Society’s silence about the National Socialist period and the associated burden of guilt fascinated him even as a child. As a schoolboy, he occupied himself insistently with the National Socialist legacy and the cruel mechanisms of fascism. As an artist, he then designed an installation relating to the Kristallnacht, using children’s faces.

Gottfried Helnwein is a political artist. Confrontation with history and current politics and society pervades his entire work: global wars, Americanism, globalisation, capitalism, genetic engineering and violence in the virtual worlds are central themes in his works, which unite extreme contradictions: The triviality of Disney culture, for example, alternates with eschatological visions. The purity of the child is contrasted with horrific representations of child abuse. Despite the suffering, his later pictures exude a silence full of poetic beauty. In addition to drawing, painting, photography and installations, Helnwein has also designed stage sets and costumes for theatre and opera. 

The filmmaker Claudia Schmid accompanied Gottfried Helnwein for two years and observed him in various creative processes in his castle in Ireland and his studio in Los Angeles. The film provides a sensitive insight into the intensity of the artistic process and into Helnwein’s personal environment, which also includes the friendship with the Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is among the collectors of his work. The combination of observation on film with discussions about art, politics and society creates a compact portrait of a radical and uncompromising free spirit of today.

The World Redrawn

THE WORLD REDRAWN - THE ARTIST HEINZ EMIGHOLZ, documentary, 64 min., WDR/3sat, Germany © 2009
Credits: Script & Direction: Claudia Schmid; Camera: Susu Grunenberg; Sound: Ivonne Gärber, Oliver Lumpe; Editing: Oliver Held; Sound Mixing: Imke Bartmann; Commissioning Editor: Reinhard Wulf.

THE WORLD REDRAWN - THE ARTIST HEINZ EMIGHOLZ, documentary, 64 Min., WDR/3sat, Germany © 2009
Credits: Script & Direction: Claudia Schmid; Camera: Susu Grunenberg; Sound: Ivonne Gärber, Oliver Lumpe; Editing: Oliver Held; Sound Mixing: Imke Bartmann; Commissioning Editor: Reinhard Wulf.

"Normally there are the dual value logic and causality, cause and effect. They are such simple relations, which I find rather crude and that don’t particularly interest me. But certainly there is also a three dimensional logic of surplus value, which includes the work of memory and thinking, and in which the real situation merges. And that is a logic that is complex, and that interests me." Heinz Emigholz

I have always been interested in artists who intensely deal with the profound nature of art and its design options and who take solitary positions in the world of art. When I first saw Emigholz’s film series „Sense of Architecture“, I was fascinated by the intensity and originality of his pictorial language. In 2008 I visited the exhibition "The Foundation of Make Up" at the museum “Hamburger Bahnhof”, where I met Heinz Emigholz personally and immersed into his complex work. From the very first second I felt connected with his thought, his artistic approach and his works. I was immediately impressed by the combination of crystal-clear analytical thinking, sensitivity and plain poetry.

Like no other artist, Heinz Emigholz has spent his whole life time and time again grappling with the possibilities and design levels of film and image surface in space and time. He is interested in thought spaces and the relationship between real and projected space. The most important thinking organ is always the eye, this interface between the world and the brain.

His artistic engagement with the "three-dimensional logic," which not only overcomes the dual positions of our thinking, but breaks into the "free space" of creativity, got me very interested straight away. Heinz Emigholz is one of the few artists who explore the boundary between art and film again and again. Since I have a background in conceptual art myself, dealing with this issue as a today’s filmmaker is very familiar to me.

The film “The World Redrawn” presents several clips of his filmic and graphic works and accompanies him through the exhibition at the museum “Hamburger Bahnhof” in Berlin. Interviews lead into his underlying world of thought and enlighten the diverse work of this extraordinary artist.

Heinz Emigholz is a filmmaker, visual artist, author, actor, publisher and producer. His first films from the 1970s that arise in the context of the avant-garde and experimental films show a complex interplay between abstract temporal and spatial compositions - cinematographic analysis of movement in selected urban and natural landscapes. Emigholz deconstructs pan shots, films various predetermined points of a 180° angle pan-shot in one place – standing single frames - after a score and puts them back together again during editing. He wants to create "time containers".

Additionally, he begins to examine the complexities of language in relation to space and time in the late 70ies. "Just like in the films, which deconstructed the landscapes according to the dramatic scores in fixed points and their connections, here each word gets one setting."

His films play an important role in his work. Although they also address the engagement with space and time, they are less narrative and less analytically designed – they are individual episodes, sometimes abstract, modeled partly on biographical experiences that fall into place to form a dreamlike story. In this process they elude a two-dimensional logic and deal with the contents of the sequences in a free-associative way. They seem poetic and transported into another world, yet again one senses the subjective view on those days and their thought. They correspond with his diary notes.

His series of drawings "The Basis of Make-Up," which he has begun with in 1974 in NY and which continuously grows as work in progress, includes 600 sheets now. Like many of his films they are based on the numerous notebooks of the artist, in which he collects drafts for his own texts as well as civilization garbage of all kinds, sentences overheard on the streets or on television, advertising, newspaper clippings, charts from military textbooks and private records. The drawings are all black and white photos are issued as prints in the format 54 x 64 cm. With its unusual architecture minimalist films "Architecture as Autobiography" / "Photography and Beyond", which he started in 1994, Emigholz again draws attention. In chronological order he shows in rigidly composed frames all buildings by various architects, civil engineers and designers that fascinate him most, like Bruce Goff, Adolf Loos, Robert Maillart, Rudolph Schindler, Louis Sullivan. Here again he denies the audience the usual perspective - in quiet stills he is filming individual views of each building, which he puts together rationally during the editing process. The spectator now has to put these single frames in his mind together to a whole. Even the sound is reduced to the actual sounds on the spot: the clatter of a keyboard, wind in the trees, and the roar of a passing car. Emigholz has produced his films only in the format 4:3. What interests him is not the conventional right angle and the central perspective. He is not interested in conventional perpendicularity and central perspective.

"Instead of being empty space whose coordinates are borrowed from abstract geometry categories such as the horizon line and vanishing point, the image space in the movies has always been populated. Where a room, there's a body that defines it, be it by its negative form, the absence."

The 1948 in Achim near Bremen born artist has presented comprehensive cinematic and artistic works and appeared in performances and films of other directors. He developed many exhibitions, retrospectives, lectures and publications on at home as well as abroad. He trained as a draftsman and photo retoucher and studied philosophy and literature in Hamburg. In 1978 he founded the production company Pym Films. Since 1993 he has been a professor for experimental filmmaking at the University of the Arts Berlin.

Nature in Bottles

NATURE IN BOTTLES - THE SPRING OF SPA, documentary, 45 min., Germany © 2007 
Credits: Script & Direction: Claudia Schmid; Camera: Dieter Stürmer; Sound: Ute Haverkämper; Editor: Daniela Thiel; Production Manager: Monika Mack; Produced by: Birgit Schulz; Commissioning Editor: Andrea Ernst, WDR/arte. Produced by Bildersturm Filmproduktion in cooperation with WDR.

The small town Spa is located in the Walloon part of Belgium, in the middle of the Ardennen: A health resort with 500 year of tradition. Something outside, in the high Venn with its carpet of herbage, pools, swamps and moors, in the “Fagne de Malchamps”, starts the history of the exceptional mineral water of Spa.

Often the landscape disappears in deep fog. It is pouring extremely often. In the same time the evaporation is very slight. These are the determining factors for the percolation and the effective cleaning of the water – in a unique biotope. 300 springs can be found in and around spa, and the quality of their water has remained pure and unchanged to this day.

The company “Spa Monopol” bottles and distributes the spring water: 500 million liters per year. But also the new thermal spa is supplied by the special spring water. The film follows hydrogeologist Patrick Jobé© through the forest to the springs and the upland moor of Fagne de Malchamps to the drinking water bottle plant.


DANGEROUS IDYLL BETWEEN MAAS AND WAAL, dokumentary, 26 min., WDR/arte, Germany © 2006
Credits: Script and Direction: Claudia Schmid; Camera: Oliver Vogt; Sound: Ute Haverkämper; Editing: Monika Grüter; Speaker: Frau Greve, Herr Müller, Herr Levin. Produced by Bildersturm Filmproduktion in co-production with WDR/arte.

"The green heart" – that's what the Dutch call the region of drained marshland bordered by the Waal and Meuse rivers in Holland's interior near Nijmegen.  Though located far away from the sea, it's an area that is constantly threatened by flooding. In February 1995 the entire population of the region had to be evacuated when a dike threatened to burst.  Water levels in the Waal and Meuse had risen so high that a complete inundation of the area under several metres of water had become a real possibility. Indeed, the idyllic appearance of this marshy landscape with its lush sheep meadows and thatched cottages belies the danger that comes with every heavy rainfall or storm. Here near the town of Appeltern, on the shores of a small lake formed by years of flooding, is where Adri van Ooijen lives with his family.

Filmmaker Claudia Schmid joins Adri on a trip through the region, dropping in on his two brothers Gerald and Pieter along the way.  The lives of all three men have been shaped by water in different ways, and all three have learned to deal with it creatively.  Adri himself designs and builds houses that can withstand flooding.  When the water begins to rise, the house rises with it – up to five metres above the ground.  Unlike most other houses in the area, his stand in front of the dike, not behind it.  In addition, Adri runs a campground that is completely surrounded by water.  His brother Gerald maintains a series of ponds into which he releases thousands of trout and then opens to hobby fishermen – around 30,000 every year.  The third brother, Pieter, has built a house on piles that seems to float in the air, a breathtaking example of modern architecture.

Alongside these personal stories, the film also reveals the technical systems that make life in this marsh landscape possible.  Viewers are taken to an old pumping station in which steam-driven engines have to be fired up before the water can be pumped out of the flood-endangered areas.  We are also shown an impressively high-tech lock system whose ships can be used to equalize differences in water levels.

Attempts at Love

ATTEMPS OF LOVE - PORTRAIT WERNER SCHROETER, Documentary 65 Min., WDR/arte, Germany © 2002
Credits: Script &  Direction: Claudia Schmid, Birgit Schulz; Camera: Dieter Stürmer; Sound: Til Butenschön; Editor: Bettina Strunk; Commissioning Editor: Sabine Rollberg. A Bildersturm Filmproduktion production by order of the Westdeutscher Rundfunk/arte.



ROYAL CHILDREN - ROMY SCHNEIDER & ELIZABETH FROM AUSTRIA, documentary, 45 min., Germany © 1998
Credits: Script & Direction: Birgit Schulz; Co-Direction: Claudia Schmid; Director of Photography: Andreas Fiegel; Editor: Cornelia Zaluskovsky; Commissioning Editor: Andrea Ernst, WDR

1854 the Bavarian princess Elisabeth was crowned empress in Vienna. From this moment on the Austrian people idolized the 16 year old and saw her as their lucky charm, turning her into an almost religious figurehead. At a time when the absolute monarch brutally suppressed the ideas of the public democracy, Elisabeth was the personified hope right from the start. The reality of her suddenly isolated life was not understood by her people. The myth about the empress Elisabeth of Austria was used again in the 50's of the 20th century with an aim; the three 'Sissi'–films, with Romy Schneider taking the lead role, hit it off completely with the public in the hard post–war years. Again an adolescent, this time the 16 year old Romy Schneider, became the bridge between two peoples; this sugary distortion of history, a day dream. To the viewing public she is offered as a cure for their loss of identity. The myth of Elisabeth is taking shape again, a distorted myth that, during her entire life, Romy Schneider is not able to put behind her.

The film analyses the structure of the people's projections; projections, which had partly severe consequences for the two women. The film also demonstrates the contrast to the actual persons. It highlights their attempts to escape their own myths and the public sanctions that both women suffered because of it. Why neither Elisabeth of Austria nor Romy Schneider had hardly a chance to escape their own idol is validated on a psychological basis. The opening scene is a montage of the real pictures of the two women that dissolve into Marischka's movie character Sissi. Romy is Sissi is Elisabeth – so the perception of the situation in the 50's.

In the first chapter, the film looks into the constellation that singles the women out for becoming idols; childlike innocence, purity, beauty and naivety. The problems caused by their public role are discussed next; the beginnings that are the foundation for both women's attempts to escape and their problems with addictions. Their radical resistance against public type–casting is the subject of the third part of the film. After that, the restlessness of both women is pictured with their tragic incompetence to find rest in themselves. The penultimate chapter looks at death as part of the myth. The undying Sissi–myth is finally the subject of the last chapter when Elisabeth of Austria and Romy Schneider are dissolved into the Sissi–figure again.

© 2019 CLAUDIA SCHMID All rights reserved.