Private Project

Watu Wote - all of us

For almost a decade Kenya has been targeted by terrorist attacks of the Al-Shabaab. An atmosphere of anxiety and mistrust between Muslims and Christians is growing. Until in December 2015, muslim bus passengers showed that solidarity can prevail.

  • Katja Benrath
    Babydoll, No One Pukes in Heaven, Tilda, Secrecies, Where have you been
  • Julia Drache
  • Tobias Rosen (creative producer)
  • Matrid Nyagah (creative/service producer)
  • Bramwel Iro (creative/service producer)
  • Adelyne Wairimu
    Key Cast
  • Barkhad Abdirahman
    Key Cast
    Captain Philips
  • Faysal Ahmed
    Key Cast
    Captain Philips
  • Project Type:
    Feature, Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Drama, Thriller
  • Runtime:
    21 minutes 33 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    December 21, 2016
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Alexa, 4k
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Bermuda International Film Festival 2017
    Hamilton, Bermuda
    Best Short Film & Audience Award
  • 20th  Brussels Short Film Festival
    Brussels, Belgium
  • 46. Sehsüchte International Studenten Film Festival
    Berlin/Potsdam, Germany
    Audience Award & Best Production
  • GRR Giovani Registi Raccontano
    Ravenna, Italy
  • Festival Internacional de Cine Universitario
    Kinoki, Mexiko
  • 15th SanSebastian International Human Rights Film Festival, San Sebastián, Spanien
    San Sebastian, Spain
    Best Short Film
  • 19th Tel-Aviv International Student Film Festival
    Tel Aviv, Israel
  • International Filmfest Emden-Norderney
    Emden, Germany
  • Studio Hamburg Nachwuchspreis
    June 20, 2017
    WINNER: Best Shortfilm
  • Wendland Shorts, Germany

    Audience Award & "Golden Ruler" for Production
  • Alpinale, Austria

    Golden Unicorn Best Student Film
  • Brooklyn Film Festival; USA

  • Leiden International Film Festival, Netherlands
  • LA Shorts Fest , USA
  • Hollyshorts, USA
  • Bronzelens int. Film Festival
  • Student Academy Award FINALIST

    United States
Director Biography - Katja Benrath

Influenced by theatre throughout her youth, Katja Benrath pursued that career in her early professional life. She became a theatre tailor and worked for Pina Bausch's dance company. Following, she completed her studies in Singing and Acting in Vienna, Austria where she also discovered filmmaking. Her first short films ("Babydoll", "No one pukes in Heaven" & "Tilda") have been playing successfully on many international festivals. During her master studies at Hamburg Media School she directed “Where have you been" and “Secrecies". WATU WOTE, her graduation project, is her first film based on a true story

2016/17_Watu Wote, Shortfilm Hamburg Media School
2016_Wo warst du / Where have you been, Shortfilm Hamburg Media School
2015_Schwimmstunde / Secrecies, Shortfilm Hamburg Media School

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Director Statement

Watu Wote - all of us

Kenya is a country as colourful as it is full of diversity - with respect to ethnic groups and religious life. Shattered with terrorism, the north is unstable territory. For a long period of time it seemed as if religion-based terrorism could separate society - lately, though, there appear signs of brotherhood on the horizon. The fear-shaken communities have come to understand that standing together as fellow human beings is more important than the individual’s faith. Prejudices now start to play an inferior role. One may argue that this attitude is not a choice, but a result following the extremely dangerous surroundings. Nevertheless, choosing to live up to this principle is something I deeply admire.

Showing this changing attitude, the Muslim passengers on the bus saved their fellow Christian travelers. Religion didn’t play a role anymore. They decided in favor of humanity. And they did it together.

This idea is truly resembled in the genesis of this film. With tremendous effort, a transcultural team of filmmakers gave the real event a remaining form. As German filmmakers we didn’t want to „colonise“ the story. A few months in Kenya do not suffice to fully absorb the culture. We deepened humility while talking to the people in Mandera, the passengers, local journalists and artists. The possibility to overcome obstacles of any kind showed me just how much is posible when you’re open. And tolerant.

I can only dimly estimate how the passengers on that bus must have felt when they faced immediate death. Conserving that in a most realistic manner was our aim throughout the whole process.