Samia - A feature documentary by Thomas Wartmann

Directed by: Thomas Wartmann
Produced by: Filmquadrat.dok GmbH

Year of Production: 2015
Length: 90 min
Commissioned by SWR, funded by FFF Bavaria
Developed within the framework of the Documentary Campus Masterschool 2013

From Mogadishu to Beijing, from Libya to Lampedusa. This is the story of Samia Yusuf Omar: A runner and a woman dreaming of a better life.

From her bullet-ridden hometown of Mogadishu 17 year old Samia Yusuf Omar made it to the Olympic Games in Beijing 2008. She came in last during the 200- meter women‘s race, but the world cheered her on – a magical moment. Back in Somalia sports were forbidden by the Islamic leadership, but Samia refused to give up her next dream: to run for Somalia at the Olympic Games in London 2012. In 2010 she fled from Mogadishu 5000 exhausting kilometers across the Sahara to Libya to catch a refugee boat destined for Italy. Near Lampedusa, while trying to get onto an Italian Freighter, Samia fell into the rough sea and drowned beginning of 2012.

As a young woman’s body floats in the waters of the sea, we start our journey backwards into the extraordinary life of Samia Yusuf Omar. She dreamed of running, she became a national hero as she made it to the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Yet that is just the beginning of her story. Guided by her voice, we follow Samia’s life from her first barefoot runs in the streets of Mogadishu, to her secret night training for the Olympics, to her desperate 2 years journey through the desert to reach Libya and then Europe. The incredible story of a young woman dreaming of a better life, freedom to run and live. The story of a young athlete and yet the story of the many who cross our seas looking for hope.

Whistleblowers - What would you risk for a clear conscience?

Directed by: Ian Hawkins
Produced by: Filmquadrat.dok GmbH

Year of Production: 2014
Length: 60 (52‘) mins

Our sense of right and wrong goes to the heart of what makes us human. It‘s an archetypal instinct that keeps society together and safe. Yet for whistleblowers, the same sense of right and wrong can lead to danger, fear and isolation.

Society has always needed people to take a personal risk to expose wrong doing. Whistleblowers are our early warning systems. They are our first sign of something wrong but there can be a high price for having a conscience.

What Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning have leaked has had an enormous impact on the world at extreme personal cost. There is a public debate about whether they are heroes or traitors, but an understanding of whistleblowing – an extraordinary and deeply challenging psychological experience – is missing from this debate.

Whistleblowing is not just a Washington phenomenon. Anyone could face the whistleblower‘s dilemma of whether to speak out or stay quiet. There are thousands of whistleblowers all over the world. They are usually ordinary people whose courage never makes it into the
news, but their lives are changed forever because they exposed something they believed to be wrong.

whistleblowers shows what this experience is like – the courage, risk and psychological impact of speaking out. The film follows three whistleblowers into their inner experience of whistleblowing. Although their backgrounds and stories are very different, they all went through the whistleblower process – of witnessing the wrong-doing, deciding whether to act, blowing the whistle, facing the backlash and finally onto hindsight and reflection.

Using a distinct cinematic language, whistleblowers interweaves three transformational and personal stories to dive deep into the global phenomenon of whistleblowing. Each story is an emotional journey at a personal cost – but they also offer a glimpse into power and the ‚the system‘ that surrounds us all. We are all in it, we are all part of it.

Nobody likes to stand out from the crowd, so what would you risk for a clear conscience?