Berlin Lift-Off Winners 2018

Many thanks to everyone who participated in this year’s Berlin Lift-Off. It was great to see so many filmmakers and film enthusiasts filling the UNION Filmtheater, in support of both local and international indie film.

The judges' votes have been counted and added to the audience's feedback.

Huge congratulations to the filmmakers who screened with us, who all did themselves proud. A special well done to the following films.

Photos from the event can be seen on the Berlin Lift-Off Facebook Page.

Festival Winners

Best Feature

(next screening with Lift-Off in Manchester)

The Debt

Dir. Stefan Kjær Olsen
Synopsis: Michael is finally leading a stable life with his girlfriend when his big brother Johnny suddenly, after being gone for 2 years, appears. Johnny’s in big trouble because he owes a lot of money to some criminals. Michael reluctantly agrees to help. But you don’t get that kind of money in a short time without getting your hands dirty.

Best Documentary

(next screening with Lift-Off in Tokyo)

The Human Face

Dir. Aline Pimentel
Synopsis: By giving meaning to each and every mark on his sculptures, artist Kazuhiro gives meaning to his own life. Experiencing what is behind every wrinkle of time on the human face, transforms a superficial mask into a window to the soul.

Best Short Live Action Narrative

(next screening with Lift-Off in Manchester)

The Peculiar Abilities of Mr. Mahler

Dir. Paul Philipp
Synopsis: East Germany, 1987: The special investigator Mahler is said to have paranormal abilities. The police assigns him to solve the case of the 6-year-old Henry Kiefer, who is missing for weeks now, before this issue leads to political tensions with the West. But then he brings something to light that makes this family tragedy especially political...

Special Mentions

(next screening with Lift-Off in Manchester)

Nostalgic Love

Dir. Joscha Bongard
Synopsis: Love and pulsing intimacy at an older age is more or less a no-go subject - while sexualization of society is omnipresent. In Nostalgic Love we follow a young but old deep love through it’s modern, almost teeny problems. The couple discusses about polygamy and their needs, while they are loosing connection. What’s used to be intimate togetherness ends up in loneliness.

(next screening with Lift-Off in Manchester)


Dirs. Julian Friedrich, Katharina Potratz
Synopsis: Sergam is a little boy. A refugee. His boat's stranded on the coast. His mother didn't survive. Instead, a young woman takes care of him and they both set off on their way through a nightmare.

(next screening with Lift-Off in Tokyo)


Dir. Joschka Laukeninks
Synopsis: As a young child our protagonist is left by his mother and has to live with his violent father. He fights his way through adolescence and falls in love with the woman of his dreams and just as everything seems to be finally working out for him, a sudden event changes the course of his life forever. A story about how everything we love, everything we learn, everything we build, everything we fear, will one day be gone.

Online Winners

(next screening with Lift-Off in Tokyo)


Dir. Mike Jackson
Synopsis: After more than a century, the toymaker's wooden boy is still alive, languishing in a ramshackle basement apartment. The Woodman's patchwork computer takes him online but for every lie he tells, his bramble of nose grows. Trapped in this cage, the Woodman searches for a true connection and a chance to finally be real.

(next screening with Lift-Off in Manchester)

The Little c

Dir. Simon Eves
Synopsis: THE LITTLE C tells the unexpected and untold story of cancer through the voices and stories of real-life cancer patients. It tracks these stories as they make their way from patient to stage as part of the 2016 musical A PACIFIST'S GUIDE TO THE WAR ON CANCER. The film follows the show's development from a coffee meeting in 2014 to a UK tour in 2016, and charts the creative team's efforts to bring a fresh voice to a difficult and loaded subject.

Season Award Nominations

The Human Face

Directed by Aline Pimentel

Best Short Documentary

Nostalgic Love

Directed by Joscha Bongard

Best Music Video