London is at the north pole
Every since his accident as a small child, 15-year-old Peter has been mentally handicapped. He cannot read or write, cannot leave the house without his mother and has hardly any contact with other children his own age. In his comic books he escapes into a world of fantasy and dreams of moving like his idol "Spiderman" to gain the esteem of his peers. His actual situation is quite a different matter. But then in an idyllic outdoor swimming pool he experiences an encounter that changes his life.
Duration: 20 min
Original format: Digital 4k (Red One)
Sound: 5.1 and Stereo
In my opinion many films treat the subject of 'mental retardation' with too much well meant caution; an attempt at integration, which could easily have the opposite effect. It was important for me to show Peter with all his strengths, as well as his weaknesses. He passes the degradation he believes to suffer, on to others weaker than himself. This makes him all the more human.
Peter is somewhere between the worlds of "normal" and "handicapped", so to say. The question arises where does he belong or how can he become accepted in the "normal" world? He feels excluded. And this is perhaps the true theme of the film. Who hasn't felt excluded at one time or another?
After "London is at the North Pole" was presented at numerous international film festivals, the film admitted in the distribution of "Filmsortiment.de". Subsequently the Goethe Institute took it worldwide in its program. Also the film is used in several countries as part of German lessons or for integrative projects.
1. Prize "best national short film" festival "20minmax" 2010
The title "Highly recommended" by the German Movie Rating Board
Short of the month March 2010 by the German Movie Rating Board
23.-27.03.2010 Landshuter Kurzfilmfestival, Germany - award "best Children's film"
27.04.2011 Milwaukee Underground Film Festival, USA
29.09.-06.10. 2012 Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival, USA
Camera assistent: Claire Jahn, Irakli Ergemlidze
Underwater camera operator: Stefan Lindenau
Property master: André Köhl
Make-up artist: Cindy Beck
Continuity: Constanze Ramsperger, Iunia Mihu
Diving instructor: Frank Hilsamer
Stunt coordination: Oliver Reitz, Sonja Pfeiffer
Still photographer: Steven van Veen, Stephan Garcon, Stephan Bungarten
Colorist: Phil Whitfield (Das Werk)
"..."London at the North Pole" is the successful conclusion of a precise and detailed study on the behavior and yearnings of 15-year-old Peter, who has been mentally handicapped since childhood. The film deals seriously with his dreams and desires, by not idealizing them or overemphasizing his aggressive surges [...] An inspiring, true-to-life film without misdirected sympathy."
Deutsche Film- und Medienbewertung
"...It is very difficult to intertwine a film script with reality. Author Andreas Klee, Director Achim Wendel and Producer Benjamin Huber make it appear easy. They start with a time known as puberty, when a glance can have worlds of meaning and rubbing a little suntan lotion on the back of a girl much more.
"London at the North Pole" has its own very special narrative rhythm and an atmospherically dense plethora of images, steady, with a feeling for details, sensitively accompanied by the camera. You have to allow yourself to be ingested by this film, and, if you do, you will be rewarded by the increasing intensity from scene to scene. "London at the North Pole" presents viewers with a great deal of reality, but just a much fantasy. Peter escapes into his comic world, and, on a summer day at the swimming pool, the audience witnesses how he courageously breaks out.
"London at the North Pole" is a film shown at schools; these are known as "educational films". Many educational films are boring and are not suitable for showing at move theaters. This one is. It belongs in a theater and there it is among our favorites."
Laudatio Kurzfilmfestival 20min max Ingolstadt, Germany
Link to film website