Journey to the Sun

Viagem ao Sol

International Competition

COUNTRY: Portugal YEAR: 2021 RUNTIME: 109 min

DIRECTED BY: Susana de Sousa Dias, Ansgar Schäfer

LANGUAGE(S): German, Portuguese

SUBTITLES: German, English

SCRIPT: Ansgar Schäfer, Susana de Sousa Dias

PRODUCED BY: Ansgar Schäfer

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Mário Espada, Nikolaus de Macedo Schäfer

EDITED BY: Susana de Sousa Dias, Mário Espada, Nikolaus de Macedo Schäfer, Ansgar Schäfer



Shortly after World War II, 5,000 young children from Austria were sent to host families in Portugal, where they were to recover from the violence of the war. They were often taken in by wealthy families; for most of the children, it was a vacation in paradise. The contrast to their living conditions at home and the extreme class society in Portugal left a deep impression on the young Austrians*. They did not know that they were coming to a colonial power with a dictator. And yet, from the very beginning, a fascist ideal plays a role: at the dock, the children are examined like cattle and selected by their foster parents: the pretty blondes first.

The film, which works exclusively with original photos and film footage, only gradually reveals the complexity of this experience. In doing so, it makes clever references to the present. Carefully composed sound effects enhance the immersive atmosphere of this little-known story, while off-screen the former “guest children” recall this extraordinary time, which was confusing for all involved – hosts and guests alike.

Susana de Sousa Dias

Susana de Sousa Dias was born in Lisbon in 1962. She has a Doctorate in Fine Arts (Audiovisual), a master’s degree in Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art, a degree in Painting and a bachelor’s degree in Cinema. She studied music at the National Conservatory. Susana’s works were exhibited at international film festivals and exhibitions, for example the Viennale and Visions du Réel. In 2012 formed a group that directed the Doclisboa, International Film Festival for two consecutive editions. She is a professor at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Lisbon.

Natureza Morta – Visages d’une dictature (2005), 48 (2009), Obscure Light (2017), Fordlandia Malaise (2019), Reise in die Sonne (2021)

Ansgar Schäfer

Ansgar Schäfer is co-founder of Kintop, as well as general-manager, producer, and project developer at Kintop. He holds a PhD in Contemporary Portuguese History with a thesis on the subject of Visual History. He produced several feature documentaries and several multimedia installations. He has several national and international publications on Jewish emigration to Portugal during World War II and recently co-organized the exhibition PORTUGUESE FORCED WORKERS IN NAZI GERMANY at the Centro Cultural de Belém.

48 (2009), The Other War (2010), Obscure Light (2017), Anything and All (2018), Fordlandia Malaise (2019), Reise in die Sonne (2021)


WORLD SALES: Portugal Film (