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The Teachers' Lounge (Das Lehrerzimmer) Wins Berlin Europa Cinemas Label at the Berlin Film Festival 2023


İlker Çatak's The Teachers' Lounge (Das Lehrerzimmer) has won the Europa Cinemas Label as Best European film in the Panorama section, it was announced today by a jury of four exhibitors from the network, the eighteenth time the Label has been awarded in Berlin.
The Teachers' Lounge (Das Lehrerzimmer) will now benefit from promotional support from Europa Cinemas and better exhibition thanks to a financial incentive for network cinemas to include it in their programme schedule.
The Label Jury consisted of Marius Bălănescu (Cinema Victoria, Cluj-Napoca, Romania), Will Fitzgerald (Pálás, Galway, Ireland), Tanja Helm (Cinematograph & Leokino, Innsbruck, Austria) and Ola Starmach (Kino Pod Baranami, Kraków, Poland).
The jury issued the following statement – "The Teachers' Lounge (Das Lehrerzimmer) is an intense and very well-made drama set in a German primary school. Director and co-writer İlker Çatak has delivered a lean script and shows impressive film-making craft. Shooting Star Leonie Benesch increases her growing reputation with am entirely credible performance as a young teacher with brand new ideas. Her methods and approach bring about dramatic confrontations with her fellow teachers and the parents when a series of thefts hits the school. The film explores key subjects like the prevalence of bureaucracy in schools and issues of race and class, but above all it is a compelling rollercoaster of a drama – a worthy winner of this year's Europa Cinemas Berlin Label."
Sold internationally by Be For Films, the film is produced by Ingo Fliess for  if...Productions from Munich in Germany.
"What happens in the staff room stays in the staff room," says Carla Nowak in an interview with the school newspaper. Even if that is purely wishful thinking for the teacher at this point. This is her first job, and she is committed to teaching mathematics and physical education to her class of seventh graders. Things are going well and she is able to motivate these adolescents. Then a series of thefts occur at school and one of her students is quickly suspected. An outraged Carla decides to get to the bottom of the matter herself, but the case is not so easy to solve and has repercussions. Quickly decried as idealistic by the rest of the staff, Carla finds herself having to answer to angry parents and mediate between quarrelling students. The more she tries to do everything right, the more she – and others – are pushed to their limits, and the entire school system is thrown off balance.
İlker Çatak misses nothing in his brilliantly observed film. In his unsparing drama, the school is a microcosm in which the outside world no longer exists and nothing remains private. Das Lehrerzimmer is a study in power relations that demonstrates how individuals are worn down between entrenched positions. (Berlinale).
  Director İlker Çatak Screenplay Johannes Duncker, İlker Çatak Cinematography Judith Kaufmann Editing Gesa Jäger Music Marvin Miller Sound Mixing Michael Hinreiner Sound Design Kirsten Kunhardt Sound Thorsten Többen Production Design Zazie Knepper Costumes Christian Röhrs Make-Up Barbara Kreuzer Casting Simone Bär, Alexandra Montag Assistant Director Janina Hüttenrauch Production Manager Markus Mayr
Cast: Leonie Benesch (Carla Nowak), Leonard Stettnisch (Oskar), Eva Löbau (Friederike Kuhn), Michael Klammer (Thomas Liebenwerda), Anne-Kathrin Gummich (Dr. Bettina Böhm), Kathrin Wehlisch (Lore Semnik), Sarah Bauerett (Vanessa König), Rafael Stachowiak (Milosz Dudek), Uygar Tamer (Ms Yilmaz) and Özgür Karadeniz (Mr Yilmaz).

Born in Berlin, Germany in 1984, İlker Çatak grew up there and in Istanbul where he completed high school. He then studied film and television directing in Berlin and Hamburg. His graduation film Sadakat won the Student Oscar in Gold in 2015. He followed his debut feature film Es war einmal Indianerland with Es gilt das gesprochene Wort which won Best Screenplay at Filmfest München and the Bronze Lola at the German Film Awards. He has also lectured at universities in the USA, Germany, Türkiye, Japan, Italy and Greece.

Filmography (selection)
2014 Sadakat 2016 Es war einmal Indianerland 2019 Es gilt das gesprochene Wort 2020 Räuberhände 2023 Das Lehrerzimmer (The Teachers' Lounge)

Founded in 1992 with funding from the MEDIA programme (Creative Europe) and from the Centre national du cinéma et de l'image animée (CNC), Europa Cinemas is the first film theatre network focusing on European films.  Its objective is to provide operational and financial support to cinemas that commit themselves to screen a significant number of European non-national films, to offer events and initiatives as well as promotional activities targeted at Young Audiences. Thanks to the support of Eurimages and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the influence of Europa Cinemas extends to Eastern European countries, to the Balkans, to Russia and to Turkey.
Previous winners of the Berlin Europa Cinemas Label: 
2022:               Berdreymi (Beautiful Beings) / Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson's
2020:               Håp (Hope)/Maria Sødahl (Norway)
2019:               Šavovi/Stitches/Miroslav Terzić (Serbia)
2018:               Styx/Wolfgang Fischer (Austria/Germany)
2017:               Insyriated/ Philippe Van Leeuw (Belgium)
2016:               The First, The Last/Bouli Lanners (Belgium)
2015:               Out of Nature/Ole Giæver, Norway
2014:               Blind/ Eskil Vogt, Norway/Netherlands
2013:               The Broken Circle Breakdown/Felix van Groeningen, Belgium
2012:               My Brother the Devil/Sally El Hosaini, UK
2011:               Über uns das All/Above Us Only Sky/Jan Schomburg, Germany
2010:               Die Fremde / When We Leave/Feo Aladag, Germany
2009:               Welcome/Philippe Lioret, France
42 countries, 3059 screens, 739 cities
Europa Cinemas is supported by the MEDIA, programmes of the European Commission (Brussels), CNC (France) and Eurimages (Council of Europe, Strasbourg)


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Berlin 2019: The dailies from the Berlin Film Festival brought to you by our team of festival ambassadors. Vanessa McMahon, Alex Deleon, Laurie Gordon, Lindsay Bellinger and Bruno Chatelin...
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