Children Below Deck

Kinder unter Deck

DIRECTOR(S): Bettina Henkel   COUNTRY: Austria   YEAR: 2018   LANGUAGE(S): German   SUBTITLES: English RUNNING TIME: 90 min

SECTION: International Forum 2019

Saturday, 05.10., 1.30 pm, kommkino
Wednesday, 09.10., 6.30 pm, Caritas-Pirckheimer-Haus, Q&A with Bettina Henkel


The film is the personal story of three generations: the (late) grandmother, the father and the daughter, who is directing the film. It focuses on the trans-generational transfer of traumatic experiences. It’s a spiritual road movie through deep and diffuse layers of feelings resulting from historical transformations in north-eastern Europe.
“Based on the premise that unresolved experiences and traumas are infused and inherited from one generation to the next, Children Below Deck follows a poignant and complicated process of reconciliation between director Bettina Henkel and her father and, subsequently, both their coming to grips with the memory of his mother. From accusations of a lack of love to an exceedingly overbearing nature, he seems to be consumed by a vindictive interest in scrutinizing his mother’s past, in exposing her secrets. Moments of honesty and of direct confrontation exorcise family grudges, and the inquiry into the grandmother’s past strengthens the bond between father and daughter. The family chronicle leaves room, at the same time, for an investigative process set against the two world wars, the population movements and the status of Baltic Germans. Children Below Deck is a film with a distinct personal touch, taking stock of what can and can’t be forgiven of those who are no longer with us, of what can be retrospectively justified.” (Teodora Leu, One World Romania)


Bettina Henkel, born in Germany, lives and works in Vienna as an artist and filmmaker. She teaches as a lecturer for fine arts/new media at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna where she is head of the the media laboratory. After a dance education, she studied art history in Munich, painting and art education at the Academy of Fine Arts Nuremberg and visual media design at the University of Applied Arts Vienna with Peter Weibel. Children Below Deck is her first documentary film.


Theaterstraße 6 (2014), Kinder unter Deck (2018)

SCRIPT: Bettina Henkel   PRODUCERS: Oliver Neumann, Sabine Moser   CAMERA: Astrid Verschuur   EDITORS: Oliver Neumann, Niki Mossböck   MUSIC: Thomas Desi   CAST: Bettina Henkel, Helge Henkel

PRODUCTION: FreibeuterFilm GmbH   WORLD SALES: Christa Auderlitzky, Filmdelights