"Les sauteurs," with the international title "Those Who Jump," will be enjoying its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival (11-21 February) in Forum, the section of the Berlinale most willing to take risks and exploring new trends in world cinema.
"Les sauteurs" offers an insider's view on the current migrant crisis in Europe. Abou from Mali is one of the more than a thousand hopeful African migrants living on a mountain above the Spanish enclave of Melilla in northern Marocco. Here, they watch the land border, a fence system separating Morocco and Spain. For over a year, Abou has persisted in attempting to jump the fence, where he and his fellow migrants must overcome razor wire, automatic pepper spraying and brutal authorities. After every failed attempt, they return to Mount Gurugú, trying to build up their confidence once again. With Abou both in front of and behind the camera, the film follows him over 16 months in his struggle to reach dignity and freedom on the other side.
"Les sauteurs" is directed by Moritz Siebert and Estephan Wagner, with Abou Bakar Sidibé as co-director. Producers are Signe Byrge Sørensen and Heidi Elise Christensen for Final Cut for Real, the company behind Joshua Oppenheimer's 2016 Oscar nominee "The Look of Silence." The film has received a grant through the Danish Film Institute's Film Workshop, which supports talent development and experimental cinema, and is also backed by Danish broadcaster DR.
About the filmmakers
German filmmaker Moritz Siebert has worked on the subject of migration for the last 15 years. Originally trained in Berlin as a medical doctor and cultural anthropologist, Moritz studied documentary filmmaking (together with Estephan Wagner) at the National Film and Television School in the UK. Acclaimed films include "Harvest Hand" (2013), "Long Distance" (2009), "My Name is Karl" (2008) and "Belgrade Backspin" (2005, co-directed with Anne Misselwitz).
Chilean-German Estephan Wagner originally trained as an editor in Germany and his edited work has won several international prizes. He later made his MA in documentary direction (together with Moritz Siebert) at the National Film and Television School in the UK. As with "The sauteurs," Wagner's first feature-length documentary, his "Last Dreams" (2013) was produced by Final Cut for Real.