Film When Paul came over the Sea (Als Paul über das Meer kam)

When Paul came over the Sea © Jakob Preuss

Wed, 04/11/2018

Goethe-Institut Washington

1990 K St. NW (Entrance on 20th St., lower level)
Washington, DC 20006

Germany, 2017, 97 min., Documentary, Director: Jakob Preuss

Following the screening, there will be a discussion with the director, Jakob Preuss, moderated by Hannah Winnick, Director of the Transatlantic Dialogue Program on Democracy and Social Policy at the Heinrich Böll Foundation North America.

Please join us after the event for a reception in the Goethe-Institut.

Paul Nkamani is a migrant from Cameroon. He has made his way across the Sahara to the Moroccan coast where he lives in a forest, waiting for the right moment to cross the Mediterranean Sea. This is where he meets Jakob, a filmmaker from Berlin, who is researching a film about Europe’s borders.

Soon afterwards, Paul manages to cross over to Spain on an inflatable rubber boat. He survives – but half of his companions die on this tragic 50-hour odyssey. Once in Spain, instead of receiving psychological support, he is sent to an immigration detention center on a prison island. It is only upon his release that Jakob and Paul meet again, at a Red Cross shelter in Granada. Because of the economic crisis in southern Europe, Paul decides to continue on to Germany, the former colonizing power in Cameroon and the country of his dreams.

When Paul arrives in Jakob’s home country, Jakob must decide: will he play an active role in Paul’s pursuit of a better life, or remain the detached filmmaker? In the end the film takes a twist – one that neither Paul nor Jakob could have foreseen when they first met in the Moroccan forest. The film tells the story of their unusual friendship; a friendship that emerged before the backdrop of Europe’s ongoing political debates on migration.

Jakob Preuss, born 1975 in Berlin, is a documentary filmmaker. His films, shot in Iran, Bosnia, and Ukraine, have been broadcast in over ten countries and screened at numerous festivals. His previous film “The Other Chelsea” won the First Steps-Award and the Grimme-Award in Germany. In addition to his activities as a filmmaker, Preuss is also engaged in political work. He holds a law degree from the Sorbonne in Paris and a Masters degree from the College of Europe, Natolin.

For the 2014 European Elections, Preuss coordinated the writing of the electoral manifesto of Bündnis 90/The Greens, and he has worked as an adviser on European Affairs for the Greens’ parliamentary group at the German Bundestag. In the past, he has also worked as a desk-officer for the Commonwealth of Independent States at the NGO “Reporters without Borders” and participated in numerous Election Observation Missions mostly in the former Soviet Union and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In 2014 Jakob co-founded the initiative GehtAuchAnders, which encourages artists to engage with political issues and take a stance. He is regularly invited to speak as an expert on migration as a result of the four years of research conducted for “When Paul came over the Sea.”

Presented in cooperation with the Heinrich Böll Foundation North America.