The Call

Steffen and Ben have gone on a missionary tour throughout the godless land of East-Germany. The Christian denomination was only recently joined by Steffen, who is now expected to prove himself accompanied by the more experienced Ben. Pairing bible-believing strictness with teenage slang and Christian hip-hop, the two of them are off to to make Jesus known in the rural villages. When Steffen turns out to fail in his public prayers and preachings, however, a dangerous dynamic starts to form between the unequal men.

  • Karl-Friedrich König
    Director
    DER SCHWARZE NAZI
  • Karl-Friedrich König
    Writer
    DER SCHWARZE NAZI
  • Karl-Friedrich König
    Producer
    DER SCHWARZE NAZI
  • Maik Triemer
    Key Cast
  • Til Schindler
    Key Cast
    The Misandrists (dir. Bruce LaBruces)
  • Meinhard Neumann
    Key Cast
    Western (dir. Valeska Grisebach)
  • Project Type:
    Short
  • Runtime:
    21 minutes 48 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    December 20, 2019
  • Country of Origin:
    Germany
  • Country of Filming:
    Germany
  • Language:
    German
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Filmfest Dresden
    Dresden
    Germany
    September 10, 2020
    World Premiere
    Publikumspreis mitteldeutsche Filmnacht
  • Blicke Filmfestival
    Bochum
    Germany
    November 21, 2020
    Querdenker-Preis
Director Biography - Karl-Friedrich König

1982 Born in Erfurt, Germany

2003 Founding of the „Cinemabstruso Film Group“

2004 Two-month stay in Japan, cooperation with the Kyōto University film group, screenings of personal film productions

2005 Study abroad at Universidad de Alicante (including attendance of film classes)

2007-2016 Lecturer at film workshops (screenwriting, film editing, directing at the Artistic Night School of Jena, the Adult Education Center of Leipzig and as part of Cinemabstruso Leipzig)

2007-2013 Founder and curator of the international festival of experimental film 'Radical Film Night'

2009 Graduation as a Master of Arts in Ethnology and Romance Studies at the University of Leipzig

2011 One-year-long further education programme in screenwriting/directing as part of the qualification programme of the Central German Media Fund for young filmmakers in central Germany TP2talent pool (project: screenwriting of 'DER SCHWARZE NAZI' (BLACK NAZI)

2013 Freelance directing position at the Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig

2014 Founding of the production company 2Könige Film

2014-2016 Production of the feature film 'DER SCHWARZE NAZI' (BLACK NAZI) (funded by the Federal Office of Saxony for private broadcast and new media (SLM) , the Thuringian Culture Foundation and 99pro Independent, as well as crowdfunding)

2016 German-wide cinematic release of 'DER SCHWARZE NAZI' (BLACK NAZI), DVD and VOD distribution through Studio Hamburg Enterprises, featured in Spiegel Online "Film zum Wochenende"

2016-2017 Tutor at TP2 talent pool (dramaturgical counsel for director Anoush Masoudi and his full-length film project 'Bordell, eine Liebesgeschichte' (Brothel, a Love Story)

2016-2017 Participation as tutor (twice) in MY STORY of the Saxon Film federation

2018-2019 Participation in the Bildgespräche of the Saxon Film federation, member of the selection committee for experimental films at 'Kurzsüchtig' film festival, direction of background acting at 'Der Kupfermann' (The Copper Man) (production by reynard films)

2018 Scholarship by the Culture Foundation of the Free State of Saxony for the shortfilm 'Rita & Sven' (working title)

2018-2019 Story and project development fund by the Central German Media Fund for the feature film 'DIE ARCHE' (THE ARCH) as co-author (nominated for the German Screenplay Award)

2019 Production of the short feature 'Der Ruf' (The Call), funded by the Central German Media Fund, Culture Foundation of the Free State of Saxony, the Thuringian State Chancellery and the Federal Office of Saxony for private broadcast and new media (SLM)

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Director Statement

Ever since I was a child I have been dealing with the subject of Christian faith, by necessity, being the son of an evangelical pastor, but time and again also by intention. ‚The Call‘ is a film that talks about evangelical fundamentalist faith, but more so, it talks about the main character Steffen. The succession of injuries he has experienced, his home and upbringing, his alcoholism – all of this is only hinted at in the film, or not shown at all. Rather, it is written onto his body, his furrowed face. Stooped posture, suspecting eyes, always waiting to be attacked and hurt again. Steffen is full of aggression, hate and self-loathing.

When joining a fundamentalist evangelical religious community, he hopes for a change. This is where he meets people like Ben, who, for the first time in his life, tell him that he is a great person. He meets people who touch him without disgust for his furrowed face, his aggressive appearance and smell of cigarettes. But the humanity displayed by this religious movement is not as unending and selfless as it seems. Something is being demanded of him in return, something that is bound to become another one of his failures.

I have been brought up in a liberal pastoral household and have grown up around Christian teachings and worship. Early on, I heard of Christian fundamentalist communities. During my years at university, through friends, I came into direct contact with such movements and was able to experience first hand how people can become more and more radical.

The fascination that is felt towards such communities is something I can comprehend entirely. The sense of community, the physical nature of their religious practice with ecstatic elements. All of this is captivating. Bens prayers and preachings are touching on a physical and very personal level. This is how he is able to give strength to people like Steffen. However, beyond the sense of open-mindedness and humanity, there lies a kind of fundamentalism that knows no doubt, and as so many ideologies do, it gives simple answers to complex questions. The world is divided into rigid categories: Good and Evil, God and the Devil.

It was important to me to give this dramatised story of Steffen a setting that is as realistic as possible. For the most part, I shot the film working with amateur actors and the residents of a rural village. Part of the scenes were completely improvised, and some of the scenes are ad hoc street shots. After a long period of searching, I found Maik Triemer for the role of leading actor, someone who has personally experienced parts of Steffens biography, which gives authenticity and urgency to the film.