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Warum lacht Herr W.?


2017 | 2K DCP | colour | stereo I 76 min

Why is Mr W. Laughing? (english title)

Mr W. is a man who loves to laugh. He is also a member of the Schlumpers, a self-organized atelier community of artists with different disabilities.
Questioning the usual asymmetry of inclusion (meaning that often there is just a monologue about and not a dialogue with the persons concerned), the film is a cinematic experiment that politicizes boundary-practices in its form and content: Rather than making a film about inclusion, the film itself was produced inclusively.
On an open collaborative journey through the pictorial worlds of the three artists, a focus was set on their aesthetic obsessions and perspectives through their own videography. Their spontaneous and sometimes gratuitous imagery isn’t organized by a boosted ego at its center but displays subjectivity as social experience in space.
As a result of the cooperative approach, the film is a mix of materials and techniques, interview situations interwoven with observational episodes, auto-fiction and performance, home videos of the protagonists and their own musical compositions.
The juxtaposition of life and art doesn’t apply for the three who are artists in order to participate in society. Art for them is not a breakaway dream from normality, but the quintessence of bourgeois work that enables them a status as citizens. This is one of the many realizations that occurred during the work on this film, -that most ideas about disability and art brut are romanticizing and excluding misconceptions. (

DIRECTOR Jana Papenbroock

ADDITIONAL CAMERA Michael Grasmann, Bernhard Krebs,Horst Wässle
EDITORS Lena Hatebur & Jana Papenbroock

SOUND Julian Rambow & Miguel Murrieta


SOUND MIX Stephan Konken

COLORIST Christian Lessner 

MUSIC Geert ChatrouJulia HolterJason Grier, Michael Gerdsmann
PRODUCTION Jana Papenbroock & Frank Papenbroock


Michael Grasmann, Bernhard Krebs, Horst Wässle

Supported by the Film Fund of Hamburg- Schleswig-Holsteinthe friends of the Heinrich Böll foundation,

the Heineman Bros. & the Liebelt Foundation
Distributed by the Royal Anthropological Institute, UK


First prize ‘Best Documentary’ at Open Eyes International Film Festival Marburg, July 2017;

2nd Prize ‘Best Film’ Audience Award & Jury Award ‘Best Film’ at Kunstgriff Filmfest Heide, September 2017;

Nomination for Excellence in Visual Anthropology (EVA Award) at Ethnocineca, Vienna, May 2017


This Human World International Documentary Film Festival, Vienna, December 2016; Ethnocineca International Documentary Film Festival Vienna, May 2017; Filmkunstfest Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Schwerin, June 2017; Near Nazareth International Film Festival Nazareth, June 2017; Int. Film Festival Emden-Norderney, Emden, June 2017; Fünf Seen International Film Festival, Lake Starnberg, July 2017; Open Eyes International Film Festival Marburg, July 2017; Golden Apricot Int. Film Festival Yerevan, July 2017; Nafa Film Festival Aarhus, August 2017; Kunstgriff Filmfest Heide, September 2017; Document International Human Rights Film Festival Glasgow, October 2017; One with a Movie Camera International Ethnographic Film Festival Marburg, October 2017; Dokumentarfilmsalon Hamburg, Januar 2018, Trento Film Festival, May 2018, Docademia Documentary Film Festival, Chicago, August 2018

Warum lacht Herr W.?
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