Destroyed Land

'Destroyed Land' revolves around the German village Pödelwitz which sits on lignite. The brown coal company MIBRAG wants to mine the coal and has to dredge the village for it. However, some of the villagers resist and fight for their homeland.

Like an island Pödelwitz rises between used pits. Only 27 of the former 137 inhabitants of the small village in Saxony are in their homes to resist the coal company’s demand of displacement. The others have accepted MIBRAG's resettlement offer.
The MIBRAG, the Central German lignite (coal) company, came to Pödelwitz for the first time in 2010 and gave the villagers an ultimatum: living in the immediate vicinity of the open pit with dust and noise or relocation. 80 percent of the then villagers left.
The MIBRAG bought one house after another - so to speak on suspicion. After all, it is not yet clear if the opencast mine will actually be expanded. Legally Pödelwitz is a so-called reserved area. That allows the utilization if the coal is needed for power supply. For the coal company the devastation is oeconomically meaningful.
the excavator are approaching once the last 27 villagers are willing to leave. In 2020 at the latest.

It is quite in Pödelwitz. All the sold houses have signs with the inscription MIBRAG and entry forbidden.
But there are still villagers who refuse to give up their homeland. They are at the heart of the story. The film tells of home lovers and resistance fighters. From politics and economy. From new beginning and loss.

  • Sophie Apelt
  • Anna-Franziska Kaufmann
  • Lasse Berger
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Die Macht der Kohle
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    46 minutes 39 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 31, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    2,700 EUR
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
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Director Biography - Sophie Apelt, Anna-Franziska Kaufmann, Lasse Berger

My name is Sophie Apelt. Originally I come from Kassel, where I lived until my graduation. After high school I did a volunteer service in Nicaragua, one year I worked there in kindergarten and elementary school. For the subsequent Bachelor, I moved to the sea, to Wilhelmshaven, where I studied media economics and journalism. To undergraduate, I realized my first documentary about freedom of the press in Nepal. At the time, I gained practical experience in my part-time job as a video journalist at a local newspaper and during a four-month internship at a film and television production company in Cuba.
After completing my bachelor's degree, I moved to Hanover for a master's degree. Here, in addition to several television contributions I realized with my team my second documentary, Destroyed Land. The film deals with a village in a brown coal area in Central Saxony. The Village is to be devastated as one of the last in Germany still for the lignite mining. Critically, we go after the question of loss of home and corporate power.

My name is Anna-Franziska Kaufmann and I am from village near Leipzig in Saxony. I moved to Leipzig for my A-levels and subsequently completed my bachelor's degree in journalism in Bremen. As part of my studies, I lived in Istanbul for half a year and shot my first short portraits there. Later I created some short films and a journalistic multimedia project on the suicide of farmers during the milk crisis. At taz, ZDF and the production company Zentralfilm, which specializes in documentary film, I learned to combine journalistic craft with filmic realization. The film Destroyed Land is the final film project of my current master's degree in television journalism at the University of Hannover and marks the beginning of my work as a documentary filmmaker with its artistic realization and a clear attitude.

My name is Lasse Berger, I was born in Bayreuth (Bavaria) and studied Bachelor of Arts in sports journalism in Ansbach. During this time I completed internships in television and radio editorships (WDR, BR, ZDF) and published my first contributions. Besides working as an online editor for the sports journal kicker, I also gained experience abroad doing an internship at a German radio station in Namibia and at the ARD studio abroad in Singapore. As part of my master's degree in television journalism at Hannover University of Applied Sciences, we have realized our first documentary film Destroyed Land.

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