Private Project

West Side Berlin

Two youngsters from rival communities, which have hated each other for generations, develop a truthful and innocent friendship. But tensions between their respective friends (and families) build toward tragedy.

  • Sabine Winterfeldt
  • Steffen Mennekes
  • Giovanna Winterfeldt
  • Sabine Winterfeldt
  • Fabian Wolfart
  • Mehmet Kaplan
    Key Cast
  • Zanab Hamad
    Key Cast
  • Mohammed Zaher
    Key Cast
  • Alaa Motaoua
    Key Cast
  • Osman Can Sevinc
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    14 minutes 10 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    December 23, 2014
  • Production Budget:
    1,000 EUR
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Sabine Winterfeldt

Sabine Winterfeldt was born in 1966 in Berlin . She grew up on the outskirts of Berlin, that was at that time still divided. After school, she moved to London, where she visited a mime school. She earned the money for school and living as a bartender, nanny, double glass window dealer, waitress and German teacher.
After a two years stopover in Berlin in a theater school, she lived in New York fort two years and studied acting and singing. For her work in legendary „Mars Bar“ around the corner from „CBGB ́s“ she was chosen for being the nicest bar tender of downtown New York, a title, that she is still very proud of.
When the Berlin Wall fell, she decided to return to her hometown. Her daughter Giovanna was born 1991. She raised her as a single mother. Since 1990 she is been working as in actress in numerous Theater and TV and Film productions. She put several „one Woman shows“ on stage and still works as a narrator in dubbing productions and documentations and audio dramas and computer games.
She was chief executive director and author of a company that realized crime dinners and walking acts.
In 2003 she started working as an educational theater teacher and transposed theater and film projects with inmates.
She developed and performed adaptions of „the Robbers“ and „Romeo and Juliet“ and directed two movies with inmates.
She is the Artistic Director of the prison theater projects „Prison- Art- Society“ and „Revue de Vie“ and develops biographical theater plays with male and female inmates and exanimates.
It was because of her ant violent theater work, that triggered the American Embassy in Berlin to suggest the „West Side Story Project“ to her.
In a duration of two years she was the Artistic Director and worked with a team of artists, Anti Violent Trainers and teachers and developed the theater piece and the film with a school class in Berlin.
Currently she is working with a group of male and female inmates and ex- inmates on the artistically implementation of the word „identity“.
She is also planning to establish a European TV channel for refugees.

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Director Statement

Berlin is an agglomeration of many cultures. Diverse cultures, communities and groups are living in the same neighborhoods. On one hand, different peer groups offer the feeling of identity and affinity, on the other hand they can support distinction and enemy images. This Stereotypes combined with a lack of perspective are a dangerous mixture, that can develop prejudiced thinking and have a great potential for conflicts.
During the development of the script, we tried not to make a reference to the religious preference, cultural origin or the political attitude of our characters, but to use the „color of the group“ as a metaphor. We use the „coloring“ as a symbol for any kind of ritual for „coming of age“ and being accepted in a group. It is used like a placeholder and could mean anything like a Christian confirmation, or a test of courage, the wearing of a veil, or getting a leather jacket to be part of a motorbike gang.
We are also using a metaphor for the friendship of our two protagonists. They meet on a regular basis for a childish pastime. They build paper planes and battle each other, which one is faster, just for fun. During these moments, they take a decision against the rules of their groups, but for the lightness of a paper plane and the preciousness of a shared moment. And even though, they know quite well at this moment, that their friendship will involve them into trouble, they approve that, because they appreciate each other’s friendship so much.
All of our young actors have a „migration background“. Half of them are Palestinians, the other half are from Bosnia, Lebanon and Turkey. They are all confronted with different realities, cultural environments, values and ways of life. On one hand our society expects them to integrate and respect our values. On the other hand, they are very absorbed in their own families, who have a strong cohesion, but any deviation is punished by violation or even exclusion. The image of women in these families is also very different from the image in the modern western world. Most of them have clear paternalistic role models.
The film West Side Berlin has a lot to do with the daily lives of our performers. Since the film uses the „coloring metaphor“ they have the possibility to expose their own life, without questioning it. The question is, whether anybody or any political or religious group or any human race has found the true universal moral values or has the right to defend these. Our story plays in a regular school in Berlin with the daily conflicts and disagreements and the claim of the teachers, that they know, what is right and what is wrong. The conflict of our two protagonists could be transferred to any other place in the world.