System Crasher, a social drama from director Nora Fingscheidt, has been chosen as Germany’s representative for the International Feature Film Award at the 92nd Oscars. An independent jury made the selection from a group of seven films that were submitted to German Films for consideration.
A Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize winner at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, the debut feature also took honors at fests in Taipei and Transylvania. It had its U.S. premiere at the Philadelphia Film Festival. The German theatrical release date is set for September 19.
The film centers on Benni, a delicate-looking nine-year-old girl with unbridled energy who is what child protection services call a “system crasher.” Be it foster family, group home or special-needs school, wherever Benni ends up, she is immediately expelled. Benni, however, has only one goal: to be able to live with her mother again, a woman who is totally unable to cope with her daughter’s incalculable behavior. When there seems to be no place left for Benni to go and no other solution in sight, an anti-violence coach tries to break the downward spiral of anger and aggression and set Benni free.
Selection jury spokesman Frédéric Jaeger said the film “develops a pull and power, with a rare emotional intensity. Director Nora Fingscheidt assembles and directs extraordinary talents, creating anxiety, closeness and authenticity with this story that alternately creates anger, sadness and hope. The film is an experience that we highly recommend to the Academy.”
The movie hails from Kineo Filmproduktion and Weydemann Bros, in co-production with Oma Inge Film and ZDF Das kleine Fernsehspiel. Producers are Peter Hartwig, Peter Hartwig, Jonas Weydemann and Jakob D Weydemann with Frauke Kolbmüller as coproducer.
Germany has a strong track record of nominations and a handful of wins with the Academy, most recently landing in the race with last year’s Never Look Away by previous winner Florian Henkel von Donnersmarck. His 2006 The Lives Of Others was the last German title to take the prize, formerly known as the Best Foreign Language Film Award. In the intervening years, the country has had three other nominations and advanced to the shortlist multiple times.