Napkin Greek

Based on new DNA matches from a genealogy platform, father and daughter set off in search of their unknown grandfather. The journey to Greece is ill-starred because of unresolved generational conflicts, naïve prejudices and a disturbed father-daughter relationship. Not yet understanding their own emotional world and identity problems, they hope for each other's understanding and keep clashing. Will they find their kinship and perhaps discover common ground among their opposites? The film is inspired by a true story.

  • Leonie Charlotta Dannhauer
  • Leonie Charlotta Dannhauer
  • Sophie Gaberg
    Assistant Director
  • Gustav Konradin, Ferdinand Kersting
  • Aylin Kalkan
    Key Cast
  • Neil Malik-Abdullah
    Key Cast
  • Ismael Ebrahima Bittaye
    Director of Photography
  • Nicolas Enrique Herwig
    1st Assistant Camera
  • Marvin Edler
  • Cornelius Bühner
    Sound & Lighting Assistant
  • Marvin Edler
    Sound Engineer (Germany)
  • Fabian Hagelstein
    Sound Engineer (Greece)
  • Sophie Nassauer
  • Felix Damm
    Visual Effects
  • Leo Wang
    Sound Design
  • Project Title (Original Language):
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Drama, Roadmovie, Family
  • Runtime:
    16 minutes 10 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 23, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    11,000 EUR
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
    Germany, Greece
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Macromedia University
Director Biography - Leonie Charlotta Dannhauer

Leonie Dannhauer, born in 2000 in Bergisch Gladbach, was creative and artistic from an early age. Especially in ballet, to which she devoted a lot of time in her childhood and youth. In various performances at the Bergische Löwe, including as the lead role, she thus experienced stage presence and developed acting flair. In 2013, she also took this talent to Essex, to the Performers College. She won a scholarship to attend the summer workshop offered there. Over the years she developed a passion for writing short stories and poetry. The desire to turn these into films brought her to the Macromedia University of Applied Sciences in Cologne in 2019.

"Dear Anxiety" (2022) short, poetry + experimental, 02:03 min directed by Leonie Dannhauer, shot in Cologne
"Serviettengriechisch" (2023) short, drama + road movie, 16:10 min directed by Leonie Dannhauer, shot in Germany and Greece
"Full of Emptiness" (2024) short, poetry + video art, 01:41 min directed, shot and edited by Leonie Dannhauer
not yet released

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Director Statement

The starting point for the film is my own family history: back then, my grandmother, a pastor's daughter, fathered an illegitimate child with a "foreigner". She was called a "fallen girl" and had to break off contact with her lover.
57 years later, my father still doesn't know anything about his father, because when asked, my grandma replies: "One doesn't talk about sins". A harsh statement that one could perhaps come to terms with if one were not reminded on a daily basis that somehow one does not quite belong after all.

I, too, in the third generation, was allowed to discover at the age of eight that the name of the city in which I grew up is not the right answer to the question "Where are you actually from?", that at twelve I am called "the Greek" without being able to speak an ounce of Greek, and at 19 I am wished back to my country at a Cologne railway station, although I am actually in this very country.

At times, when you feel so unwelcome and are at an age when you don't quite understand yourself yet, you want nothing more than to belong somewhere, but then you have to realise that you won't necessarily find that in another country either.
The film also contains this. The typical generation conflict after migration, from the forced integration of the parents and the disintegration of their children. In Germany one is too foreign to belong, abroad too German to belong. Confusing.

But how important is the question of national identity? What would change if I met my Greek family? What would change if I knew that my grandfather no longer existed? If I knew that I could no longer get answers to certain questions?
The Movie will explore these thoughts.