© Beta Film
© Beta Film

Thu. Nov. 9, 2017 6:30 PM – Opening Night Film
Roxie Theater, San Francisco
West Coast Premiere

120 mins. Germany (2016). Digital Projection. German with English subtitles.

Director: Lars Kraume
Starring: Burghart Klaußner, Martina Gedeck, Florian David Fitz, Lars Eidinger
Screenplay: Oliver Berben, Lars Kraume
Cinematography: Jens Harant
Editor: Barbara Gies
Producer: Oliver Berben
World Sales: Beta Film, Germany

View Trailer

Based on Ferdinand von Schirach’s “Terror”: Can it be justified to shoot down a civilian plane, converted by terrorists into a deadly suicide missile? Can “human arithmetic” be a legal calculus? With the audience in the judge’s seat, “The Verdict” is a legal thriller testing the fundamental values of democracy. The concept when it premiered on television: The audience witnessed the trial. After the hearing of the air force pilot the viewers had to judge for themselves by voting live online, via telephone or text message: guilty or innocent? Depending on the outcome of the viewer’s vote either the conviction or the acquittal of the pilot was broadcasted. Recent terror attacks have proven how high the price might be we will have to pay for freedom, or are we willing to sacrifice human dignity for security? “The Verdict” engages the audience into a discussion highly relevant to our democratic societies and offers versatile possibilities to follow up on the topic, thus turning a linear fictional program into an interactive and captivating event. The case: Terrorists hijack a civil airplane and force the pilot to set course for a sold-out football stadium. At the last minute and against the explicit orders of his wing commander, a German air force pilot (played by Florian David Fitz) shoots down the airplane before it crashes into the stadium. Saving the lives of tens of thousands but killing all passengers on board, he faces charges for his action in court. German bestseller author and attorney Ferdinand von Schirach’s courtroom thriller is terrifyingly topical.

“The Verdict” was shown in 100 sold-out cinemas in Germany and won the Audience Award at its sold-out screening at the 19th Festival of German Cinema in Madrid, Spain, and had its North American Premiere at KINO!2017 in New York City.

© Sophoan Sorn

At the Autumn Showcase screening, the audience witnessed the trial, engaged in a discussion about democratic societies, ethics, and human dignity, and decided through a voting process whether the pilot is guilty or innocent. And the outcome of the votes was... INNOCENT! The acquittal of the pilot was shown.